We’ve all seen the posts, waxing poetic about summers of the past: “How to Have a 1970’s Kind of Summer” and “My Kids Couldn’t Survive an 1980’s Summer!” I don’t know about you, but posts like these stress me out as much as the panicked mamas on Facebook posting about how their kids are all going to camp/swim lessons/art appreciation/what-the-heck-ever.
What these nostalgia posts have in common is simplicity. We don’t need camp, enrichment activities, or over-the-top dream vacations to have a great summer! I am giving you permission, right here and right now, to chill the heck out.
If you want to have a great summer, circa 2019, here’s my must-do list:
1. Wear the bathing suit.
My kids are finally old enough to play in the pool on their own (for the most part), allowing me to sit back in a lounge chair on our recent beach vacation. It’s been so long since I’ve actually lounged by the pool that I forgot to bring a book, which left me to do some people watching. I saw women — mostly moms — of all shapes and sizes ushering little ones around the water. The most beautiful women there weren’t the skinny or the most fit, but the ones who carried themselves with confidence. It was so obvious which women were self-conscious about their bodies and which couldn’t give a flying duck what anyone thought about their swimming attire. I found myself watching those confident mamas playing with their kids and they made me smile. Wear the bathing suit, hold your head high, and play with your babies. People will stare because you will bring them joy, not because you’re still carrying that baby weight.
2. Throw some ice pops in the freezer.
I love me some healthy food, y’all, but when summer hits and ice pops appear in a pile at the grocery store, I grab a bag and toss those bad boys in the freezer. My kids think those tubes of frozen juice are the greatest things since Clumpies’ Strawberry Basil Sorbet and I tell myself that we’re just keeping everyone hydrated.
3. Slice a watermelon.
Nothing says “summer” like a freshly sliced watermelon. Extra cool mom points if you get a melon with seeds and let your kids see who can spit them the farthest.
4. Blow bubbles.
Bubbles are one of the cheapest, easiest ways to ensure summer fun. Grab some simple wands and a gallon jug of bubble mixture and let your kiddos go to town. Even my 12-year-old gets in on bubble fun, which is great because I can actually get a break from the nonstop bubble blowing required by my 3-year-old.
The best thing about summer is being able to slow down and enjoy life. My favorite childhood summer memories aren’t of elaborate vacations or trips to summer camp, but of breaking beans on my mamaw’s front porch and reading Babysitter’s Club books on our patio during thunderstorms. If you can’t afford camps and trips and pool memberships, you can make amazing memories just by slowing down, eating some watermelon, and breathing in that warm summer breeze.