Simplifying Summer

I've spent the last week or so working on simplifying our summer even more.  For some reason I am not finding our summer all that relaxing or enjoyable.  I have this constant feeling of stress and being pressed for time... that is not what our summers are usually like at all!

Our summers are usually pretty relaxed:
  • My kids take a break from all their scheduled activities and we focus on spending time with family and friends swimming and playing together.
  • We cut back on almost all of our schoolwork and just try to work on a few pages in math and do some reading on those days we have time (3-4 days a week).  
  • We rarely take field trips unless they are to a park or a beach.  We leave the zoos, museums and other "school type" trips for the fall.  
  • We put on bathing suits, play in the lake and enjoy good old fashioned family fun. 

But this year I'm finding that even this laid back schedule is feeling stressful.  

Partly, I know, because of my husband's work schedule.  He has a large job going at the other end of our state and is only home on weekends so our weeks feel long and every job in the house falls to me to do (or to nag the boys to help me with).

Partly I think by adding our 100 Days of Art Challenge into our days I have unintentionally piled more onto our school week than we're comfortable with.

Partly I think it's just that we have a lot on our schedule right now with birthday parties, family reunions, and holidays; not something that happens every summer.

Focusing on smiles and fun!  

So I've spent the last week looking critically at our days and trying to figure out what is making me feel so stressed out.
 This is not the first time my husband has been gone for weeks at a time for work.  This is not the first time we've added a lot of art back into our summer days.... so I'm left to question what is so different this year?  And how can I simplify our days even more?

We've  lightened up our school week; making sure we don't do school on Monday and Friday; I find this helps us enjoy a nice long weekend and still gives us enough review time during the week to feel like we're keeping up with our schoolwork.

We're turning to simple arts and crafts that don't take much to complete and that all the boys want to partake in; but no more than twice a week.  If our 100 Day Challenge takes longer than the summer so be it.  That's OK.  I'm also realizing that it's OK to buy art and crafting kits and use them for summer art fun; that takes a lot of the prep work out of my day!

While we're still making plans to meet up with friends and family I'm trying to make sure we're home at least two days a week working for a few minutes together to keep the house clean.  I think feeling like my housework is never getting done is making me feel like I never have enough time to do everything.  While we normally have a slightly messier house in the summer because we're often gone we do have people coming over soon and I feel like the house needs to stay somewhat clean.

Learning to embrace the slightly messy house and realize there is never enough time to do everything.  I find just acknowledging that fact and prioritizing what needs to get done each day helps me feel less anxious.  It's OK if the laundry is washed, dried and folded but not put away.  It's OK if the clean dishes stay in the dishwasher for a day and the dirty pile up in the sink once in a while.

We're turning to simple, easy, quick, meals that EVERYONE enjoys.  When my husband is home we'll still cook chicken or steak with potatoes and vegetables but with three kids who have vastly different tastes it just didn't make any sense to continue cooking three course elaborate meals that no one wanted to eat.  I told them that the only meals we'll be making are ones that EVERYONE will eat; that they will be taking turns helping to cook one night a week.  So we've made things like BLT sandwiches with chips and salad, french toast with strawberries, tacos, pizza, spaghetti, etc.  We wrote up a list of ideas that we brainstormed together.

We're going to focus on smiles, fun, and making memories and let everything else fall by the wayside; like we usually do in the summer.  It doesn't get much simpler than that!

Linking Up With:

Tots and Me


  1. I think this is a great way to approach summer. I think everyone benefits from a slower pace. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you! I sure do try.... somehow it still often feels like we're on the go.

  2. I have definitely had to learn that things won't always be perfect. Ive also been cooking more simple, quick meals that I know my kids and hubby will enjoy. We have been non stop since arriving in ND, and I'm ready to slow down!

    1. Well, without my husband we've been eating breakfast for dinner a lot (he doesn't like when we do that) but it is nice and simple. I think I'm just so exhausted from not sleeping and thinking of our busy weekend..

  3. It looks like you have so much fun planned for your Summer! I'm sure your boys will enjoy every minute. Always remember the housework will always be waiting for you just say to heck with it and go make some memories! Thanks for sharing at #SimplifyWednesdays pinned and tweeted!

    Carla a.k.a. Mrs. R

    1. That is pretty much my philosophy about housework; but we do have a few gatherings at our house and I do like it to at least appear clean when we have company coming over. But we sure have learned how to o a quick cleaning that looks good.

  4. Our summers are busy, too... especially June. We cut-back on school work, but still need routine. Thanks for sharing your plans. Visiting from #CoffeeAndConversation

    1. Yes, I find that we too still need some sort of routine. I found the one year we took the whole summer off from all school work to be awful; getting back into schooling was so painful.

  5. Summers have a way of feeling like the rest of the seasons. At least you are willing to be flexible in changing, deleting and just down right getting in the right mind frame to tackle everything. That is a good thing. Remember this, at least I tell myself this, summer is meant for relaxing - find that relaxing balance. Thanks for sharing your heart today at Party at My Place.

    1. Usually are summers are so far apart from the other seasons and we spend many idyllic days just lazing around... I just can't fathom why this year feels so different so far. But we're certainly trying! We went to the movies yesterday and the boys spent the afternoon jet skiing and tubing off the boat with their grandparents.... slowly but surely we're getting there!

  6. My husband is gone for two months this summer. We're half way through. So much of what you wrote resonated. Letting go of the mess, being too busy. I'm thinking when he returns I'll keep letting it some of it go. It's so much nicer when we aren't trying to do it all.

    1. It really is! I find that it's a delicate balance of trying to keep the kids busy enough but not making our schedule so busy that we all feel tired and stressed out; particularly when my husband is gone and not around to pitch in with chores in the evening.


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