A bucket list can change our perspective.
Last summer, I’m going to be honest – I dealt with a lot of working mom guilt and jealousy. Guilt that I was schlepping my kids from camp to camp because my husband and I needed to work. Jealousy when I would see status updates of moms enjoying the pool with their kids in the middle of the work day.
Of course, these feelings were completely self-induced. My kids had a great summer and didn’t seem to resent my 9-5.
Only I did.
With summer break looming (my kids only have 11 school days left, but who’s counting), I have made a commitment that those feelings are not allowed to rise up this year.
How am I going to combat them?
A summer bucket list.
This week we wrote ours out on a piece of poster board. It has a glitter boarder because glitter makes all things better. On that glittery stock, we listed all the big and little activities the kids want to do this summer.
The children’s museum
In total, we came up with 32 things we want to do together.
When we finished it, I said to my kids, “Are we going to have a good summer?”
My nearly 6-year-old daughter Adeline joyfully said, “No, we are going to have a GREAT summer!”
As I read over the list, I was reminded that the idea of what a perfect summer looks like was something I had created in my head and did not align with my kids' ideas of a perfect summer. Their desires are simple. A family day at the zoo. A water balloon fight. A canoe ride on the river near our home. These are things we absolutely can and will do – even with me having a traditional day job.
It will be a GREAT summer.
If you have ever looked at another mom’s Instagram or Facebook feed in the summertime and thought, I wish that was my summer, I want to encourage you to change your thinking this year. Eliminate the mom guilt and jealousy.
It isn’t about what time of day you go to the pool, it’s about getting in the water when you go.
It isn’t about flying to another country, it’s about doing what makes sense for your family – even if that means a simple drive on the country roads near your home.
It isn’t about spending a lot of money, it’s about being together.
20 years from now we will look back on these summer months and not remember the stress of juggling camps and work, we'll remember the splashes at the pool and the nights spent roasting marshmallows with neighbors.
Pay attention now to the moments that make summer great for your family.
And maybe, make a summer bucket list.
Have you ever made a summer bucket list? If so, what did you include?
This post was also published on Today Parenting and discussed on The Today Show. Check out the clip below.
It’s a great idea…Its all about family time !!!
Thank you for this post! I’m really struggling with the upcoming summer. We’re doing camps and I’ve hired a babysitter for some days so my kids can get to the pool. I just want to be the one at the pool with them, but that’s not an option this year. I’ve always thought of doing a summer bucket list and have forgotten about it — thanks for the reminder. I think this will help me realize we can have fun as a family this summer!
Nela M says
What a great post. I needed this. I work too and was wishing I didn’t so I can spend the summer w/ my girls. But like you said, the kids love going to camp and going on a different field trips and making new friends.
We will definitely be making a bucket list. Thanks for the great advice!!! 🙂
Thank you for this post. Yes, I have working mom guilt/jealousy quite a bit in the summer so this is a good reminder.
Missy Robinson says
I have working mom jealousy big time and in summer it is more obvious than ever. Thank you for encouragement and practical ways to connect.
Paige E says
Thank you for this! I go through this every summer. Growing up my mom was a teacher and was home with us every summer and we were at the pool everyday. Now, my boys barely know how to swim and they are stuck at a camp everyday. Its tough. I feel like they are missing out because I had such a good childhood doing what I did. But we do need to remember that they will still have fun and they don’t know any different. This is OUR way of doing things, and I still love my kids and they will be just fine. My husband tells my crazy self all the time, “they are FINE, Paige.”
Jessica, my boys are 15 and 16 and I still make a summer bucket list. For us it isn’t a “Summer to do list” it is simply a reminder of fun things we can do as a family. Big things, little things, not many expensive things and many cheap things. A reminder that we don’t have to break the bank or spend the entire day out but we do need to make time to do things together. A short walk to get a $2 ice cream cone, a free slurpee at 7-11 on July 11th, free concerts in the park, sleepovers with cousins, a relaxing breakfast on the patio. And we do have the zoo, camping, going downtown, go-karts. Life gets busy and we need those reminders to slow down and enjoy our family no matter how old the kids are and what our work schedule is. Thanks for the post and the reminder about quilt and jealousy.
I’m not even a mom and I’m jealous of those moms having beautiful daily adventures with their children during the summer 😉 I really love this post and I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on being a mom and working full-time outside the home. It gives me hope that should I ever had kids, I’ll be able to somehow manage both. It sounds like you and your family have a great summer ahead of you!