My Summer Dilemmas (advice needed!)

I love summer just as much as the next person, really, I do. And I enjoyed, and thoroughly agree with, Jillian’s post about how great it is to share it with my kids, especially now that they’re old enough to really do things with us. Those parts of summer, I love. But there are some parts of summer that are throwing me for a loop. I’m the kind of person who thrives on order and routine, and summer as a part-time working mom with my sons, ages five and three, has proven to be not-so-orderly and not-so-routine. There are a lot of factors at work here: my job changes a bit in the summer, my kids are around more, etc. So, as someone who does not deal well with randomness in my life, I’d love suggestions on how to fix/cope with the following summer issues:

1. My car is a disaster zone. I’m not known for having a neat car. It’s a major skeleton in my closet, and I usually don’t care. But it’s downright embarrassing this time of year. I blame it on my car being small (a Hyundai Elantra), but that’s partly a scapegoat. I spend my mornings packing it full of beach toys, lunches, towels, sunscreen, water bottles, snacks, extra clothes for all of us, library books, teaching materials for work, etc. I spend every evening unloading previously listed items. It’s a good thing there’s no Horders show for Elantra owners.

2. My laundry pile is terrifyingly large. Conservatively, I’d estimate my laundry load doubles in the summer. Kiddie pool “accidental tripping”, squirt gun fights, melting popsicles, mud…someone is always dripping with something and changing their clothes. I work as a museum educator, which means I spend most of my time at work doing messy science projects with really excited kids. My husband likes to take advantage of the nicer weather to go out for more frequent runs during his lunch hour. We’re all having fun, but we’re all totally plowing through at least two outfits each day.

3. I live out of bags. I pack my kids a bag of food and clothes and bathing suits when they head to my parents’ house while I’m at work. I pack a bag of gear for all of us when I take the kids to the beach. I pack myself lunch and snacks for work, and often a clean shirt because of the aforementioned messy science experiments. I pack my teaching materials to take to the various libraries, summer camps, and schools around the state where I’m presenting. There are reusable grocery bags and tote bags all over my life.

4. We are all too hot to eat dinner. We don’t have central air, and it’s hot, guys. I normally love to meal plan, fire up the crock pot, and get dinner on the table, but if it’s over 70 degrees, I. Don’t. Care. We can eat hummus and veggie sticks every night until fall, and that’s fine by me. I need some cool summer dinner ideas that don’t involve me sighing and saying “Fine! Just eat whatever you want to eat! I’m hot, too!” I may or may not have considered smoothies and cheese sticks and okay meal. Help. Me.

So those are the summer dilemmas that are slowly unraveling my sanity. Any tips to share with me? I agree, this time of year is lots of fun, but I never realized how much work it is for the moms!

The summer memories are DEFINITELY worth the extra work :)
The summer memories are DEFINITELY worth the extra work 🙂

9 thoughts on “My Summer Dilemmas (advice needed!)

  1. I LOVE honest posts. They always make me feel just a little more normal. Thanks for that! You know what I “make” all of the time that certainly doesn’t heat the kitchen up, but still feels healthy-ish to me? I open a can of chick peas, black beans, and sliced olives, wash them all off in a strainer, add a little S&P, mix em up and serve with some steamed-in-the-microwave frozen broccoli and maybe some sliced cucumbers, cheese, and almonds. Whatever, man. You get the idea. Just like your smoothie and cheese meal. I think it’s ok to do that, right?


  2. Sarah, I’ll chime in on the food ideas, too- i love cold pasta salads, potato salad, tortellini salad, 3 bean salad, guacamole, and my summer staple?? Corn salad!!! You can have a few salads in the fridge, and for dinner, make a bed of lettuce and pile them on! We also grill up a bunch of chicken on Sunday, and then all week we have cold, grilled chicken, ready to go on the salad.

    As far as packing and unpacking the car- maybe you could have *uh oh* another bag in the trunk, or a plastic crate, and keep a set of sun screen, beach toys, a box of granola bars, etc… in there at all times so that you don’t have to keep packing and unpacking certain essentials? Also, i keep spare EVERYTHING at my parent’s house for the kids- clothes, their favorite snacks, some toys, this way i don’t have to truck those kinds of things over there when we visit. hope that helps, sister!


  3. I can contribute some food ideas… guacamole with the veggies, lettuce sandwich (big romaine leaf with lunch meat and favorite toppings), hard boiled eggs, jicama slices, leftover meat can be sliced into a cold pasta salad (veggie noodles, meat, cheese, and your favorite Italian dressing) apples with almond butter. A simple tomato and cucumber salad, with guac or dressing or just salt and pepper can be a perfect dinner on a hot night 🙂 You could even wrap the cheese stick with a lunch meat, and have a sandwich alternative.


  4. Wait, smoothies count as a meal, don’t they? We have similar dilemmas here Sarah! Luckily the 2-bin tote that I can fit in my trunk keeps us pretty organized because it stays in the car (it contains wipes, seasonal changes of clothing, clean empty reusable bags, picnic blankets, soap and hand-washing water, bug spray, sunblock, an umbrella, several pieces of sporting equipment, and a first aid kit) and we have a lineup of tote bags and coolers in the mud room ready to go for various destinations. I TRY to put things right back into these when they come out if the dryer so it also cuts down on the laundry piles upstairs. I suggest you commission your 2 helpers to clean out your car for you or come over here and we can have a car cleaning party! We have an older vacuum designated for car and garage jobs, ha ha!
    Your happy boys are lucky to have you and I’m sure they are not too sad about hummus and veggies for dinner or laundry piles because they’re having so much fun


    1. HAHA! So happy smoothies are acceptable 🙂 I love your tote idea!! I don’t know why i never thought of that! I am definitely implementing that in my life. As I’m sure you know, bags tip over, things roll under seats, and it’s chaos in there. I think our afternoon project today will be garage cleaning. Thanks for the kind words 🙂


  5. Sing it, sister! Summer is definitely more fun for the kids than the parents who are trying to organize them (and financially support their free time!) I am with you! My advice… cheese sticks and smoothies ARE a meal, it’s all good. We up the nuts a lot for cold summer protein and pack the coolers with yogurt, fruit, nuts, lara bars… did I mention fruit? When we cook meat, we do it in bulk to get a through a few days and can always freeze some for later in the week so we don’t have to overheat the kitchen or ourselves too often. Hope that helps! As for the car… throw up your hands in surrender, I got nothing – lol. Science experiments can be conducted out of my car. It’s a petri dish.


    1. HAHAH!!! Oh man. It’s insanity! I really, really love order and routines. I love my meal board, and I love cooking. I threw some bbq chicken in the crock pot to have over a salad tonight, but I can’t stomach the thought of anything except salads these days hahahah. Glad smoothies and cheese sticks are a legit meal hahahahaha 😉 Maybe I’ll save up and have my car professionally cleaned in September and call it square hahahah…


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