You probably saw this meme (or some version of it) pop up in your news feed. All moms start out excited for the laid back summer months and with wide eyed optimism declare that this will be the BEST summer ever! We make “summer bucket lists” and plan big magical vacations. We hit the ground running with so much enthusiasm that if it were a ball it would choke a horse. Then we run out of crafts, take all the trips, the kids eat all the good snacks and we lose every ounce of patience. That’s when the count down to school drop off begins again.

I had a very simple (perfect) plan for this summer. The girls would attend a summer program for six weeks. And in that six weeks I would complete every neglected home project, automate my blog posts, organize all my meals and buy all the school supplies. I’d be so far ahead of the game come September I’d be taking time off for massages and pedicures! All those perfect plans came to a screeching halt when I got the call the night before our summer program was scheduled to begin that it is cancelled. Also cancelled are my hopes and dreams. I do not have a plan B. There is no plan B when you already have a perfect plan A. All the slots for other camps are either taken or we cannot afford them. As a result I am left scrambling. I quickly realize I got this, I’ll just keep doing what we do every summer. I schlep, the kids whine. It’s how we do.

Except this summer. 




This summer I decided to embrace this less than perfect plan. Not because I am #blessed with one more summer with my kids. Not because I am going to turn this around and still make it the #bestsummerever. I decided to embrace the chaos this summer because I am tired. Just so darned tired of holding us all together. Holding my household together and holding my blogging life together. I’m just plain tired. And ya know what? So are my kids. They are tired of my drill sergeant antics pushing them out the door to be perfectly on time for activities. They are tired of getting in the car every single morning to venture off to someplace they did not pick, or to go do a craft they could care less about. None of these activities are for them. They are for me.

I chose to be a stay at home mom nearly 7 years ago (it was supposed to be only 1 year. Another plan that didn’t go accordingly). It has taken nearly all 7 years to discover my kids and I are different people. I just sort of assumed we are a package deal. We spend so much of our waking hours (sometimes our sleeping hours) together that we call ourselves, “the three amigas!” It never occurred to me until this summer that we are nothing alike. We have much in common, but we are so completely different. I am extroverted and I need people. My kids are introverts and they need to be home. Staying home too long can drive me crazy. And so I plan things to do outside the house and force my kids into all kinds of activities. I scream. They cry. We all cry. Rinse, lather, repeat.



It’s now August. I’ve embraced this chaos for a month which feels like much longer. As a result I made zero blog posts for July. I have made zero business contacts and I have only completed 0.02% of my home projects. We haven’t done very many crafts and we skipped taking a summer vacation. But we have a (bitty) pool and a new basket ball hoop. I’ve read two books and I took an overnight getaway to the beach with a friend. The kids are happier picking out their own daily activities which typically includes playing in the back yard, pool time and playing video games or watching TV. The biggest ventures away from the house have been berry picking, visiting our library and meeting friends at the park.

My memories of summer include TV watching, making up my own things to do and spending time with my friends. My childhood is probably the last time I had any unstructured down time. Kids grow up fast. They won’t remember all the museums we visit, or all the hotels we stay in. But they will remember the tranquil feeling of swinging for hours under their favorite tree in the back yard.

I am enjoying watching them play and reading for myself again. For my extrovert time I escape to dinners with friends, or I invite friends over for dinner more and I make completely un-necessary Target runs. No camps. No travels. No big events. Just “the three amigas” enjoying being their own less than perfect people. Maybe this is the perfect summer after all.


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 


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30 Comments on When You Have a Less Than Perfect Summer

  1. It’s so true that we never allow ourselves to just do nothing. Especially as parents, we feel we need to always be doing for our kids. When my kids were little, we didn’t schedule any big summer plans. Just took each day as it came. I used to love the summers when the kids were home because it meant no schedules, no packing lunches, no homework for them and me. If we felt like going out, we went out. If the kids felt like staying home and playing with friends or playing in the backyard, that’s exactly what we did. Parents need to take the pressure off of themselves and each other. Not everything has to be planned out.

  2. I think we need to let ourselves, and our kids, do nothing more often. I know my kids get to know what bored feels like. My daughter gets bored and has to figure out something to do lol

    • Thankfully, my kids rarely say they are bored. They are good about finding things to do. I am more adventurous and totally hardwired to never sit down. lol I’m learning from my kids.

  3. I think we put too much pressure on the parents these days about making summer vacation uber fun for the family. It’s not always like and it doesn’t have to be an activity-filled summer. You can always just stay at home and spend time together.

    • I don’t remember this much pressure before kids to have the busiest, most perfect summer ever. lol In fact vacation time was about doing the least!

  4. Oh man, sometimes that wish list just does not get done and everything seems to go wrong! I think it’s important to take at least one day, but preferably a few, to allow yourself to relax fully, do nothing, forget about the cleaning and all the chores that need to be done and just chill

  5. Summer is a great time to do projects for the home and get the kids out the house. Seems like the time goes by so fast you only get a few things done and in the fall we play catch up.

  6. I love this post and I’m not even a Mom! I think it is such a big thing to realize that your kids aren’t necessarily the same as you. Or that anyone you care about isn’t. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you see the world through the same lens, so to speak. And I think realizing that can make your life and your relationships so much better

  7. I really am having a fairly good summer with my kids. We do not do much during the week, but we do weekend outings as a family.

  8. You know what’s so funny, we only have 2 weeks of summer vacation left so I decided to just stay home and let the kids entertain themselves, and it is driving me crazy haha. I love the do nothing attitude but it just doesn’t work in my house. I do have 4 kids 5 and under, so it may just be that they are too young.

  9. Isn’t it funny how our kids prefer to wing and make their own plans then all of our well thought out plans? We pretty much played this summer by ear and we have had the best summer in a long time. I missed blogging and doing projects too. But the kids are happy and so am I!

  10. Yup those first pictures describe me to a T. THe summer can be hard but I am trying to just keep the kids as busy as can be!

  11. Talk about a nightmare, the night before? They couldn’t provide more notice than that. I think you handled it as well as can be expected.

  12. You’ve nailed it! All anyone wants to talk about is how crammed pack the summer schedule is and what camps they’ve signed up for. It’s become a sign of status I think, just something else to talk about. Do what works for you

  13. You seemed to have had a great summer now, that is great I am happy you were able to find a way to balance everything.

  14. I guess you need both kinds of summers sometimes – planned ones with vacations, and just those to lay back and relax. Though I find a good balance of both is good.

  15. I’m glad you were able to pull it through in the end. Our summer has been fun but extremely chaotic. We just bought a house!

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