Years ago, dropping my baby off at daycare was hard. Really hard. Back then, if someone would’ve told me that I would one day dread spending a summer with him, I would’ve thought them to be crazy.

For the last two months or so my son has been crossing days off on the calendar in his room. The countdown to summer has commenced. If memory serves me right fewer than ten days remain.

A year ago at this time, I was, in fact, dreading the end of the school year. I work part time from home and fill the other hours with volunteering, blogging, and of course housework. How was I going to get anything done with my kiddo home from school? I had my own countdown going, but was less excited about the numbers.

My son, of course, couldn’t wait for school to be out for the summer. He couldn’t wait for relaxing days and new adventures. No homework, no alarms, just fun. Aah, to be a kid. He even told me he was looking forward to spending more time with me. How could I not be happy about that?

The first day of summer vacation coincided with National Donut Day, so we kicked off summer with donuts the size of our heads. After licking all of the sugar from our fingers, I dragged him to a vintage sale at a farm and much to my surprise he enjoyed it. The next three months flew by. I was so sad during that last week of summer vacation. Sad because I realized what an amazing gift I had received. A gift I’d almost refused.

This time that I get to spend with my boy is simply the best. It is hard to get work done, at least without feeling guilty, but it is doable. The older he gets the easier it is. The older he gets the less he’ll likely look forward to spending the summer with his mom. But for now, he does and I intend to make the most of this golden time. I will embrace lazy days and I will plan adventures that take us to new places.

So this year I’m counting down right along with him. Looking forward to no battles over homework and no aggravating morning rush. More importantly, looking forward to time with this kid who keeps my heart. But I’m not going blindly into the months ahead. This year I will have a plan for two reasons. 1. Without a plan, the days turn into weeks and precious time is wasted. 2. There is work to be done, both of the grown-up and kid variety.

Summer vacation is no vacation for mommas who are home with their kiddos.

Here are 5 things to make the most of the months ahead:

  1. Make a list of things you’d like to do and places you’d like to see. Our goal is to cross one thing off per week. It can be as simple as visiting a playground you’ve never gone to.
  2. If budget is a concern (it is for me), consider memberships to places that you’ll visit regularly. We got one through a historical society that provides free admission to several venues.
  3. Lay down some ground rules, such as 30 minutes of reading time before any video games. A chore per day. My kiddo will be doing these things while I do some work myself. While I want to embrace relaxation, the structure will save my sanity.
  4. Slow down a bit and enjoy the simple things. I’m convinced these are the most important things. Stock up on popsicles and bubbles.
  5. Find your happy place and go there as often as you can. For us, it is the beach. We’ve had the best times there. Time there has turned around bad days and made good days better. We never seem to make it there often enough.

These are the sweet, sweet days of summer. The days may be long and filled with potential for making lifelong memories.

Michelle Koch

Michelle truly believes that our lives are meant to be amazing adventures and that those adventures can keep us close to home or take us around the world. She dreams of living in the country, but within close proximity to a Target. She is married to a guy she has loved for more than 25 years and doesn’t feel old enough for that to be possible. Her son has her wrapped around his dirty little fingers. Michelle writes about seeking grace, celebrating beauty, and living with gratitude at One Grateful Girl. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.