OH MY GOODNESS AM I READY FOR SUMMERTIME! My summer break starts tomorrow, and I could not be more stoked for two months at home with my boys.
This summer feels incredibly special to me. There will be more opportunity to see family and friends than there was last summer, and it’s Edgar’s last summer before starting school. (Yeesh – that is not possible, for sure. Definitely accidentally fell into a time machine.)
When thinking ahead to what I want our summer to look like, I mostly think about the vibe. I want our summer to feel relaxing and fun for all of us. My big picture intentions for the summer are lots of exercise, lots of time outdoors, and lots of creative time for all of us. I’m also excited for lots of time writing (for me), quality time with family and friends, a strong rhythm to our days and new emphasis on routines and rituals, a fierce personal commitment to mindfulness, yoga, and presence after a long year of multi-tasking, and (of course) our super-duper-stress-free summer vibe.
We have two big trips this summer – two Big Rocks, if you like that metaphor. We have a two-week-long camping trip and a week-long beach trip. During the weeks when we’re at home, I’m planning for us to spend lots of time at the pool and on local adventures. Here are a few of my thoughts regarding summer scheduling intentions:
I am definitely a creature of routine. I love spontaneity, for sure. But I find so much joy and peace in a weekly family ritual. Our number one example, currently, is pizza and a movie on Friday nights. This ritual started when I was returning back to work after a year of working remotely. Our screen time rules had gone out the window while I was working from home with the boys with me, and we wanted to cut back on screen time, particularly in the evenings. So we decided – on Friday evenings, we do pizza and a movie. On all another nights, no screen time. Of course, we can break that rule whenever we want, and it feels like a treat for the boys when we do – but we mostly stick to it and it feels good.
I’d like to do a similar thing over the summer with a few other regular activities. My loose ideas so far are:
- Mondays: making popsicles for the week
- Tuesdays: library
- Wednesdays: bake bread and/or muffins
- Thursdays: summertime cold treat (ice cream or snow cones)
- Fridays: pizza, movie, family meeting
- Saturdays AND Sundays: hikes and/or play dates
- Sundays: farmers market
I am not a huge planner; I rarely think ahead about things like the weather. I’d like to try to be more intentional about that over the summer.
First and foremost, I want to be intentional about PLAY DATES! The summer is eight weeks long, but we’re away for several weeks and the time is going to fly by fast. For the past year, it’s been mostly the four of us spending quality time together. I am so excited to be able to safely spend time with friends.
I also want to think ahead regarding things like rainy days, preparing for big trips and de-escalating when we return, and the lead-up to the return to school in September.
RAINY DAY RITUALS
I’m planning to spend as much time as possible at the pool when we’re home in Maryland. For rainy days, I want to work in one or a few activities to break up the day, especially if it’s a day when we’ll be cooped up at home. (Most of these activities are also on the “weekly ritual” list – my goal is to plan ahead and switch things up if there’s a week with one or multiple bad weather days.)
- Making popsicles.
- Baking! (Bread, cookies, muffins, protein balls.)
- Pick a special craft/sensory activity from this list. (Link here!)
ROUTINES + RESPONSIBILITIES
I love routines, in theory, but they’re not my strength in practice. I make resolutions – like, whenever we’re done with a toy or area, we’re going to tidy up before we move on. But in the moment, I often forget or abandon the routine in favor of transitioning to the next thing.
In general, I find that summer is a great time to introduce new routines or responsibilities. This summer, I’d like to focus on a few key routines:
-When we get home, we go inside and unpack our things, every time. This is the kind of routine I often abandon. When we arrive at home, I get the boys out of the car, and they often immediately ask to play outside in the backyard. I say yes, because outdoor play is awesome and putting our things away is not – but I’d like to change this up and make a family habit of taking a little reset before we move into free play mode. With Edgar starting kindergarten in the fall, it’s the perfect time to do this. He’ll come home with a backpack and a folder, and it’ll be good to take a moment to go inside and get organized before we dive into anything else. I also really want to stress that it’s the boys’ job to take care of their things; they’ll need lots of help, especially Jo Jo, but we can start to build that sense of responsibility and the need for organization and care.
–We get ourselves ready in the morning. Brush teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed, shoes, socks, and all the rest.
-We tidy as we go. So many things would be easier if we could make this routine stronger! It’ll never be perfect, but it could be a lot better than it is now. The boys’ bedrooms, in particular, get a little crazy
-We tidy after dinner. – the kitchen and the dining room, 100%, and then living room and bedrooms, too. We are semi-okay at this, but we often fall out of the habit after long and tiring work/child care days.
-We help with jobs and chores. I’m still contemplating this, but I don’t think I want to make jobs/chores a daily thing at the moment. I really want to focus on building a strong morning routine. I do want to involve the boys whenever possible if I’m cleaning or trying to accomplish jobs around the house.
KEEPING OUR DAYS CREATIVE + FUN + PLAYFUL
I have felt really impatient with the boys lately. One of my biggest intentions for the summer is to remember my goals of being a playful, peaceful, and present parent. Cheers to days that are silly, playful, creative, engaging, and FUN – and cheers to the days when we lounge and laze about, too. Cheers to all of it.
Recently, I announced (to no one) that I officially claim summer as my favorite season. With all the getting-to-know-you activities that come up at school, the question “what is your favorite season?” actually comes up quite a lot for me. When I was a kid, I always said winter was my favorite. In recent years, it’s been spring. Now it is officially, officially summertime. I am so happy for work-free (almost, since my private practice is still going) days and summer fun.
Happy summer, everyone! Wishing you sunshine and a fun, relaxed vibe all summer long.