Self Love 15 days ago by Liz Adams

My Personal Summer Bucket List

Remember that feeling you had as a kid in those final days of school before summer break? The excitement leading up to the freedom of no school, warm days and little responsibility. It is so fun to relieve that feeling through my kids. I always say that being a parent to an elementary school child is a whole new world of events, to-do’s, emails and more. Summer break is going to be very welcome for all of us!

That summer feeling we used to have as a kid is a feeling that I don’t feel much as an adult. If I really think about it I will never have that feeling of zero responsibility ever again. Ha! But I do have the choice to show up for my kids and really take full advantage of the summer mentality. And I think a huge huge part of showing up for my kids is showing up for myself. In the past my summer bucket lists have been comprised of obvious to-do’s – lake weekends with friends, make an American flag cake, cook with my mom, running down the dock and diving in the lake. But I feel like savoring the traditional summer bucket list items rely heavily on my personal/mental bucket list, too.

This summer I want to…

Have more fun. My kids are at ages where I feel like I’m constantly playing referee and I’m sick of it. Have you guys heard of the book The Anxious Generation? I haven’t read it yet but I have listened to some podcasts with the author and he talks so much about how much we interfere with our kids being kids. We don’t let them figure things out for themselves or make bad decisions to learn the right way. We are constantly waiting for the ball to drop. I’m not a fun mom when I get into this mindset of trying to control every situation. This summer I want to stop anticipating and instead let the ball drop, loosen the reigns, let mistakes happen, let knees get scraped up and arguments take place. I recently shared a quote that said “20 years from now you are going to wish you had more fun so have more fun.” Plain and simple.

Take breaks. Tap out. Be bored. I often put so much pressure on myself to fill days and the result is that we all get burned out by each other. I become a drill sergeant of orders (not fun) because of this unnecessary pressure I put on myself to be a textbook “good parent.” Somewhere alone the way I’ve defined being a good parent by getting my kids outdoors, fewer screens, healthier meals, etc. But as my kids get older I’ve learned how important it is to get out of my own head and listen to what my kids need. We all need breaks and not listening to those signals is unproductive for everyone.

Listen to my own inner dialogue. I’ve been on a tangent lately (with my friends who will listen, ha) about our exposure to too much information. Wellness podcasts, opinions, motherhood advice, what’s right and wrong, the foods we shouldn’t be eating or the wrong way to talk to our kids. Do you ever feel like it’s too much? Like as soon as we have a thought about how we feel about something, something or somebody else is telling us it is wrong. I think it is creating so much self doubt and insecurity about things that our intuition is telling us to do. The constant pursuit of the right way, the perfect way is leading us down a path of self destruction. It feels so freeing to just live every day the way that you personally want to live it! Without anybody telling you a different option is right or better. I think a big part of this is staying off social media. I have big plans this summer to reconnect with myself.

Prioritize Dave. We are in a busy season of life and sometimes I look at Dave and feel like we are living parallel lives. Constantly trading tasks between the two of us without dedicated time to talk, support each other, check in. It is usually even harder to find time in the summer while we are visiting family, traveling with the kids, zero childcare, etc. I want my kids to remember mom and dad having fun together, in front of them. Not making every single moment of every day about them. Instead letting the kids have screen time if that means Dave and I can eat dinner by ourselves. I get really caught up in showing up for my kids and not for Dave, especially when life is busy. I don’t want that to be the case this summer.

Let go of control. I think this plays into having more fun but the lack of routine in the summer can sometimes send me into a tizzy. When I feel out of control I can get a little frantic trying to micro-manage small things. (I am pretty sure Dave would say this is one of his biggest pet peeves about me.) And I think it is okay to acknowledge that control and maintaining structure makes me feel more settled but not when it diminishes happy moments with my family. Instead I want to be more accepting of situations and the fact that summer is short and these few weeks of freedom are short lived. Control is only productive when it is supportive of our family dynamic and more often than not my need to control just bring negative energy to all of us. Embrace the freedom that comes with summer! Like the quote I talked about in this recent post about a practice in parenting and remembering our own childhood. I want to focus on how my kids feel this summer and embrace that excitement with them!

I plan to refer back to this post when I inevitably fall off the wagon (it happens!) and remind myself how easy it is to get back up. Summer, I’m ready for you!

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  1. This post made me cry all the tears. We try so hard to have the best summer and before you know it, it is Labor Day and it’s over. Since having kids, only five years ago, I feel this to my core. Letting go this year too and just having fun with our family and friends. Sending everyone a hug.

  2. Love everything about this! I was just having a similar conversation with friends about the inner dialogue/wellness! I’ve always been a small meals/snacks person, even as a kid. So when “6 small meals a day” was the advice that was perfectly suited to me. Now that intermittent fasting is in the zeitgeist it’s easy to feel like I should be doing that, but I know that’s not what works for me! Thanks for the reminder to listen to that little voice inside 🙂

  3. Love, love, love this… My kiddos are in highschool and it goes WAY too quickly to be stressed about perfection:):)