As an educator I am lucky enough to have the summer off from work. When my kids were younger I worked summer school since our daycare bill was crushing and summer pay was a way to catch up on some expenses. Five years ago I finally said “no” to summer school and I’ve never looked back.
Those first few summers spent home with my kids I was determined to keep us on a schedule and engaged in all sorts of fun activities. My kids and I each made our own “Summer Bucket List” and we worked very hard all summer to check off each of the items.
Last summer, however, we made no lists. My father was newly diagnosed with cancer and we all knew the summer would be difficult as I supported my parents through his first few rounds of chemo. I didn’t want to risk anyone’s disappointment if we weren’t able to get to items on their lists. I’m so glad we made this decision because NOT having a list of things that needed to get done was so freeing. As it turns out, even a list of fun things is a list and lists can be restrictive, especially for those of us who really need to see those items checked off (i.e. Type A personalities). In past summers we would hit August 15th and have several items on those lists just taunting us. We would spend the last week of summer frantically checking things off instead of savoring those last few lazy days. As difficult as last summer was, we definitely appreciated each and every lazy day and went back to school energized and ready.
So here we are about to transition into another summer. My father is cancer-free and we have our whole summer ahead of us. Each of my girls, in conversation, have thrown out a few things they want to do this summer. The baby wants all of her friends over seemingly every day. She’s started gathering friends’ mom’s names and numbers for me to contact. Seriously this girl has a lot of friends. My middle, and most physically active, has simply declared that “we better have things to do this summer because I am NOT spending it bored” giving me really no specific ideas of what she wants to do, as is her usual. I’m very aware that this is probably the last summer my oldest will not have a job. I want her to enjoy this last lazy summer with minimal schedules and commitments. She’s asked to go to Six Flags one day and she’s going to volunteer at some camps. Other than that….I’m not sure what we will do every day.
And that’s making me a bit twitchy.
As much as I like the idea of not having a list of things to check off and get to, I don’t like the idea of having no focus. So instead of a list, I’ve decided to set some goals. Goals have a much more positive implication, right? Working toward a goal is challenging and exciting and reaching that goal is something to celebrate. I’m going to ask each of my girls to set a goal for themselves as well. I want their goal to focus on some aspect of their physical, emotional, or intellectual growth. I’ll help them make their goals timely, measurable, and achievable. And we will see how it goes.
As for me…
I want to decrease my screen time and increase my book time. I’ve been steadily working on decreasing my screen time over the last few months. I’ve realized that time spent on social media, Netflix, and games has kept me from books. And that’s just ridiculous. I love reading. I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night to read because I just can’t sleep without finishing a book. I’ve read entire books in one day. I miss it and I need to get back to it and my eyes need a break from the screens.
I want to add at least five new family dinner options. I am a horrible cook and I’m a boring cook. I’m hoping that some time spent reading some food blogs and experimenting in the kitchen will improve my skills and my repertoire. During the school year I have limited time to cook and I default to quick and easy meals that I can make while also doing laundry, helping with homework, or in between picking someone up or dropping someone off. I have no time to experiment and I don’t want to risk an inedible meal. With no time constraints, I’m hoping to practice and try some new options that could eventually become easy options for the school year.
I want to lose five pounds. I know that sounds minimal but I want to make this goal achievable and overall I’ve accepted my general weight. I have no intentions of getting to my pre-baby, pre-mom, pre-forty weight. However, my weight fluctuates by five pounds often. If I stop exercising regularly…five pounds goes on. If I have a rather heavy week of food and alcohol…five pounds. Five pounds means my pants are tight. Five pounds gives me that first trimester look. Five pounds makes me unhappy. If I exercise and eat well this summer (and keep the alcohol intake down) I should lose and keep off those five pounds and I will feel physically and emotionally better overall.
I hope everyone has a relatively smooth transition to summer. Enjoy the weather when you can, encourage your children to relax and have fun either at home or at camps/daycares, and use the time allowed by lighter schedules to recharge. And if you have any book suggestions or recipes…send them my way!