As parents, I think we can all agree summer is a mixed bag. On the one hand, we’ve got the freedom of a relaxed morning schedule, no homework (minus summer reading which we won’t think about yet), and no chauffeuring to and from after school activities. But on the other hand, we’ve got later bedtimes, long hours where entertainment must be provided, and hyped up kids. I’ve done my fair share of complaining as summer approaches. But when I really sit down and think about it, I’m a better mother in the summer, and here’s why:

  1. Ice cream for dinner is totally acceptable.
  2. There’s no fighting over wearing shoes, because we really don’t need them.
  3. I get to feel like a teenager again at the pool with zinc oxide on my nose and snacks and music at the ready.
  4. All excess kid energy can be used up by races in the yard, like dogs out for a run.
  5. The door is always open. Because when it’s beautiful out, I want to speak to other humans.
  6. Wine spritzers. Enough said.
  7. Car rides are happier with the tunes cranked up and the windows down.
  8. Vitamin D boosts all our spirits.
  9. Sleeping on the sun’s schedule isn’t that bad when you can nap by the pool too.
  10. Forget the body worries, I just want to be cool, so I’m letting it all hang out and my kids are better for it. There’s no shame in dimples and rolls over here.
  11. Thanks to the farmer’s market, most meals aren’t frozen (minus the ice cream).
  12. Heat saps energy which is perfect to get them napping like champs.
  13. I’m more hydrated because all I crave is watermelon and popsicles.
  14. I might actually do a Pinterest craft one afternoon.
  15. Thanks to Bob Marley and beach vacations, I remember to “be happy.”
  16. I don’t care if anyone is clean. We rinse off with the hose and bathe when we remember.
  17. Less laundry (because of #16 and because we spend half our days in swimsuits).
  18. Nobody’s sick because we’re sufficiently aired out. Nothing’s incubating on us.
  19. I move more (at the pool, on walks to the park, on vacations) which makes my body and my heart happy.
  20. I inadvertently meditate more. Summer leads to deep thinking when the days feel longer and more leisurely.
  21. My kids and I smell like tropical fruit baskets because I buy every body product with coconut, mango, and citrus scents.
  22. Bed time is slower and easier because I just can’t make myself care about the clock and because fireflies only come out after dark.
  23. I’m less caffeinated and therefore less edgy because all I want is lemonade (and wine spritzers).
  24. I’m not the homework dictator because there’s nothing to dictate.
  25. Lastly, I’ve got enough patience stored up to answer at least four more “But why?” questions a day.

I may not always keep up the zen habits of a super cool mom, but in the summer I’ve at least got the sun and the waves and the nature-filled days working in my favor. And I will use it to full advantage.

Jamie Sumner

Jamie Sumner is the author of the middle-grade novel, Roll with It. Her second and third middle-grade novels with Atheneum Books for Young Readers will be coming out in 2020 and 2021. She is also the author of the nonfiction book on motherhood, Unboundand the forthcoming bookEat, Sleep, Save the Worldfor parents of children with special needs. She is also mom to a son with cerebral palsy and she writes and speaks about disability in literature. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Connect with her at Jamie-Sumner.com