Summer 2017 is almost over. Next week school starts again. We begin the busy season of school, soccer games, fall baseball, and a LOT of travel. Looking back over the last few months I am so grateful for the things we were able to do and see. I learned some lessons, gained perspective and enjoyed some really amazing family time. Here are the highlights.
Lesson number 1: Sometimes summer isn’t all its cracked up to be
Not to start out on a negative note, but its worth noting because come-on, its real life. I always have this grand vision of summer. In my mind, its this perfect sunny time of the beach, and vacation and crafts and ice cream and everything nice. Cue record scratch noise. But I’m a working mom. My husband and I both work from home. We still had to work this summer and that meant the kids had to come up with stuff to do while we worked. Sometimes there was perfect harmony as they played puppies or legos or made forts. My husband and I would congratulate ourselves on procreating such perfect people. But, lots of times this summer was filled with fights and arguments, melt-downs, total house hurricanes of mess, crazy smoothie spills on the rugs, tons of whining for TV and video games and plenty of “I’m bored”.
Lesson number 2: Summer goes by quick — don’t over plan
I had high hopes for doing all kinds of fun local things. (See my post on 15 fun summer activities). I had plans of Pinterest crafts, trips to museums, lots of hikes and more. We did a LOT, but there was no way we could do everything. And that’s ok. More than ok actually. Rather than trying to pack in everything, I’m glad we had some down time where the kids could play with neighbors, make up games and play at home.
Lesson number 3: Less is more – Summer is a great time to declutter and minimalize
With the kids home all day long during the summer, the mess and clutter is upped exponentially. This summer I made the decision that our family needs to minimalize (see my post on minimalizing here). Going through drawers, donating and trashing the excess has been amazing and freeing. Even though the kids still manage to make some crazy messes, I’ve noticed that now its easier for them to clean up and organize.
Lesson number 4: Camping is the perfect vacation for kids
You can go to expensive resorts, book trips to exotic locations, but good old camping really is a perfect vacation for most kids. Camping in Tahoe was the highlight of our summer for our kids. Not only do they love the nightly campfires and s’mores, camping is basically one long family sleepover. I love that they are unplugged from electronics and instead are exploring the great outdoors. Next summer I’m definitely planning another camping trip.
Lesson number 5: Kids can hike longer and further than you think
Kids are tough, and sometimes I forget that. With a little encouragement (see my post on getting kids hiking without the complaints), my kids were able to hike some really intense trails (at just 5 and 7 years old). I love hiking and seeing how far my kids could go was really encouraging for future outdoor adventures.
Lesson number 6: Anxiety can follow you on vacation, but you can have a great time anyway
I deal with anxiety. Most of the time its totally manageable, but sometimes it flares. As much as I would have liked to leave anxiety behind for the summer, there were times it was in full force (at really bizarre times like in Mexico at a perfect all inclusive resort! WTH?). Its easy to get really down when anxiety strikes. As annoying as it was at times, this summer I really worked on staying present, and enjoying life despite anxiety. Letting the anxiety and the fearful thoughts be there, but not giving them my full attention, really helped make this summer awesome. Anxiety might be my lifelong companion but I’m determined to not let it stop me from doing anything. Send me an email if you’re interested in some great book recommendations that have helped me soooo much with anxiety.
Lesson number 7: A getaway with the spouse without the kids is important
As much as I love traveling with my kids, getting away with my husband is so important. We went away for our 10 year anniversary to Cabo (read about the amazing resort here). We enjoyed every non-child-filled moment and came back rested and our marriage strengthened. We kept saying, “we need to do this every year!”
Did you learn any lessons this summer? Let me know and comment below 🙂