Every year when the kids go back to school, I make a mental list of my own goals. Usually one of them entails blogging on a regular basis. Usually I don’t stick to that one. I’m not even sure if it’s a goal this year, but I do feel the beginning of the school year begets at least one blog entry.
So here’s what summer meant to us…
Frisbee at dusk
One girl learning to drive
A year of French in 4 weeks
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (such a beautiful book)
Oliver Twist (well, you know Dickens)
Lots of Rainbow Loom bracelets
24 years of a happy marriage
One kid learning to cook
The coast of California
Full House over and over and over and over
Staying up too late
You might think, wow, these sound kind of boring. That’s really what you did all summer? You didn’t have a neighborhood waterballon fight for all the kids full of mason jar decorations, craft stations and handmade invitations? You didn’t host a dinner party with themed cocktails, fairy lights and party clothes? None of our adventures are star studded spectacular out of this world summer adventures, well, I guess California was, but the others could appear sort of mundane. However, the beauty of it all, is nothing you do laced with love is mundane. I see the struggles of many moms trying to make everything just perfect. Perhaps they need a real activity, an organized, planned day to make it count. That’s fine if it works for them, but it also can turn into lots of work, stress and not enough reward for all of the effort put in.
It took me quite a few mom years to realize that kids don’t need the biggies to make them count. I think this summer my girls will remember our evening Frisbee games as much as our trip to California. That’s not to say the big stuff isn’t awesome and important for a family, but it also says don’t knock the little stuff. Those overplanned outings and playdates can cause a lot of undue stress; they lose their authenticity and that little lacing of love.
You read a lot about the overplanning of this generation, how “back in the day” kids just ran free. They say we’d leave in the summer mornings and be home by dinner, no cell phones to check in with or violin lessons to prep for. Well, parents, those days don’t really exist anymore (for better or worse) so stop pining for them and get on with the 20 teens. Life changes. Times change. But every summer day doesn’t need to be a day out of Parenting magazine or Pinterest worthy. It’s okay to stay home all day and well, check out Pinterest. Maybe read a book or watch Full House, or do the laundry while your kid plays on his iPhone for an hour or texts a friend. And there’s nothing so bad about having some planned, organized time, either, like a cello lesson or a dance class. It doesn’t make you a hardass. In fact, you can even go to the neighborhood pool for an hour or two on a hot afternoon (maybe not even pack snacks – as scandalous as that sounds); you don’t have to head to a water park and post it on Facebook.
Speaking of Facebook, saw this recently and it made me laugh…
"Nostalgia is a dirty liar that insists things were better than they seemed.”
Sure the summer days when I took my toddlers to the library and brought home a stack of picture books to read all day in the living room were fun and sweet, but we just don’t do that anymore. Ya gotta move on. You can’t pine for the good ol’ days or you’ll miss out on the joy of these days – the present ones.
The 1970’s weren’t better, and who’s to say these days are better, either? They’re just different. So, Moms, here’s the thing…enjoy your time with your kids. Don’t stress so much about making it all perfect (man, if I could go back and take away those giant bday parties with goodie bags and overdone cakes…), the fun and the memories will happen, but be part of them, not the overstressed mommy who exhausted herself before she could enjoy. So go play some Frisbee or make your kid practice her cello, whichever is okay…just enjoy it!
Happy school year, my friends!