This is my 18th summer as a mommy. So trust me when I say I’ve done it all.
Big, crazy, wildly busy summers. Relaxing, lazy, TV-filled summers. Summer To-Do Lists. Summer Bucket Lists. Summer Activity Jars. Summer Projects. Summer Country Studies. Summer Adventure Boxes. Summer Advent Calendars. Themed Summers.
I could go on, but I’m already getting a little bored with this list. Just thinking about my former energy levels exhausts me.
This summer, I decided to intentionally not plan. Kind of.
I don’t want a list of super fun, super cool ideas to get around to hanging over my head, but I also don’t want to end up laying around bingeing on Netflix. (Though I’m sure we’ll do that at least once. Head here for a list of TV shows for tweens if you need ideas.)
Instead of creating a list of cute ideas, I thought about what I really want to accomplish this summer, and it isn’t much.
I want (and need) to get our house in order. I had surgery last year and some things here and there slipped. I feel like we really never caught up after my recovery.
I want (and need) to lose ten pounds. My body took the same path as my house last year after surgery. It’s going nowhere, fast.
I want to read some books with my girl that weren’t on our school list.
I want to have lots of unstructured, unplanned fun.
So, instead of a summer schedule or to-do list, I have three things I’ll try to make sure we do each day:
1. Exercise for 45 minutes. No boring workouts! I’m thinking dancing, swimming, bike rides, and long walks!
2. Spend some time reading together. Preferably out loud while stretched out on our couch or snuggled in bed, my ten year old’s favorite way to read. Though I wouldn’t turn down reading while laying in the hot sand at the beach, each of us quietly absorbed in our own books. Bliss.
3. Spend 40 minutes on deep cleaning each day. Again, this is only because things are out of order right now. By the end of June, my house should be back in maintenance mode. Really.
That’s it! I originally had six little things on this daily list and I whittled it down until it satisfied my must-stop-planning urges.
My ten (almost 11!) year old is in 2 shows this summer, which means lots of late nights and long rehearsals. Sounds stressful, but it is actually a blessing for me because I can write during most of her rehearsals. (Hello, blog!) And sleeping in after a late night won’t be a problem with our unstructured days.
If all goes according to my (un)plans, then at the end of the summer, I’ll have a clean house, a healthier body, my 6th grader’s mind won’t be totally fried, and we’ll have lots of memories.
Who knows what kind of memories? I know for sure it won’t be scrapbooking on Wednesdays and a nature walk on Mondays. It might not include gazing at the stars or collecting seashells. Then again, it might. What those memories will definitely include is Whatever. We. Feel. Like. Doing.
No stress, no pressure, no schedules.
Perfect for our life at this point in time. Fun seems to happen whether I plan it or not. Rest happens when we need it.
Think about this for a second.
That adorable, printable, summer bucket list you saw on Pinterest? Delete it. For real.
I’ve done the list thing, and it is fine. Can be fun, even.
But guess what? The silliest, happiest things I remember from summers past were very rarely items on a list. They were spontaneous moments that happened when I looked up from my list and just enjoyed my kids. And, maybe most importantly, when they were bored.
Walks after dinner. Impulsive trips to the beach. Shows put on by my girls after they had long stretches of free time in which to create silly dances and skits. Batches of cookies made because suddenly we were all craving chocolate at the same time. Just sitting around for an hour after breakfast, talking and telling stories because we’re all so happy that we don’t have any lessons planed and there’s nowhere to rush to that day.
Those are the memories that stand out in my mind. The other things, the list things? They were great photo ops. We had some genuinely fun times doing them. But what I remember most, and what my kids look back most fondly on are not the items we checked off a list.
I’m not bashing all of you plans-making, overachieving mommies. I used to be one. I’m just saying, give (un)planning a try.
In fact, let’s all just live life this way.
We just might love it.
Can you (un)plan your summer?