The summer of 2020 was the summer of cancel. Pools, festivals, vacations, summer holiday gatherings, camps: all cancelled. I found myself pregnant with twins and four big kiddos who were heartbroken about all the summer plans we had made that were no longer happening.
Fast forward to summer 2021.
Fortunately, the pandemic has waned, the world is back open, and summer is looking a bit more normal. But now the pressure is on to make up for alllllll the missed activities from last summer. Oh and remember the twins I was pregnant with? Well, they made their debut into this world in January. So for us, summer of 2021 is also looking a tad different… because we have two infants.
The activities we normally enjoy as a family – golfing, swimming, hiking – all look really different when you add two infants into the mix. As you can imagine, there is a degree of mom-guilt when explaining to the “bigs” why we can’t just load up and head to the golf course or spend five hours at the pool. Being part of a big family means sacrifice and flexibility on everyone’s part, even during summer, and they get this. But they want to do all.the.things.
So, although summer 2021 isn’t cancelled, it’s hard to do all the things. Then I remind myself of what I told my kids last summer when they looked at me with sad little faces asking what we would do all summer if everything stayed closed – summer is a state of mind. Heck, my mom didn’t have Pinterest for cute summer themed snacks or an entire board of pins dedicated to summer activities that she meticulously checked off. We didn’t have fancy splash pads or Kona ice. We didn’t go on lavish tropical vacations or attend expensive summer camps.
And we still managed to have amazing childhood summers.
Let me repeat, my childhood summers were pretty simple. We went to our local pool, visited Kings Island, and camped in an RV. My mom wasn’t frantically trying to plan activities and playdates and make sure we were attending all the latest and greatest summer camps. My mom was happy to have us all home and there were a lot of summer days spent playing in our back yard inflatable pool with a slide and our imaginations. Summer is a state of mind.
Summer is about staying up later, eating ice cream before dinner, ordering pizza at the pool, and watching movies on rainy afternoons. Things naturally feel more laid back for both kids and parents alike, because there isn’t the grind of the school year schedule. This is what the summer state of mind is. It is allowing yourself to be in a more relaxed state because there is less pressure to get everyone everywhere for everything.
For me, there is a special air of nostalgia that only happens during summertime. When we watch a Fourth of July parade or I smell a crackling campfire, I immediately am taken back to my own childhood summers. I want my kids to have this same recollection and remember fondly what their summers looked, smelled, and sounded like. But I don’t have to drive myself to the brink of insanity or spend hundreds of dollars at Hobby Lobby to give this to my kids. Those precious memories are created through my presence and my attention.
I openly admit that putting immense pressure on myself to perfect my mom game is something I struggle with. Summer adds to that pressure tenfold because the kids are home with me. This is when I have to remind myself that summer is a state of mind. Nothing can take summer away or put a damper on it.
Maybe what was so magical about my own childhood summers was the extra little bit of freedom my mom gave us. As kids, we could naturally sense her shift in mindset that she was more at ease, more relaxed. I want to be like that this summer. I want to be present. I want to be attentive. I also want to allow myself to be a more relaxed mom. We will have an amazing summer, no matter what we do or where we go. We will be together, and that is enough.
Summer is a state of mind.