Summer Anti-Bucket List Challenge

Go the park. Go to the movies. Make lemonade. Go to the pool. Go to a Royals game. Go camping. Make slime. Sell slime. Go to Worlds of Fun. Go on a trip. Stay at a hotel. Bake all-organic, no-additive cookies. Learn two new languages. Read 33 books. Build an ark.

Does anyone else go into a paralyzed state of anxiety when they see a homemade summer bucket list? Yes? No? No problem: if you cannot relate to this, allow me to share my innermost thoughts when it comes to these viral bucket lists for summer.

I am a mom. I have a list of 2,000 things to do at all times, most of which will never be accomplished or are done to a sub-par standard. I am aware of what has and hasn’t been completed, and it stresses me out. I am in survival mode most days. I do not need a list of things that are going to #makememories for my kids posted in a place where I can see what has not yet been done. Cue: mom guilt that has already plagued me. No thank you.

At the risk of sounding jaded, which, okay, I am a bit with this topic, let me say I am not against doing fun and unique things with our kids, especially in the fun-filled months of summer. I am just wondering … is it necessary for moms to add yet another to-do list in our lives?  What would happen without this magical list? A boring, joyless, and dark June, July, and August? I argue that this time would be MORE joy-filled, spontaneous, relaxed, and off-the-clock with no countdown glaring at us on the fridge. No unchecked boxes of things not yet accomplished. No comparisons to other families when it comes to bucket list completion or awesomeness of ideas. Just simple, unplanned, low pressure fun.

girl blowing dandelion

When back-to-school time rolls around, which it will in the blink of an eye, I do not want or need a checklist reminder of our summer. What I want is a feeling of being refreshed and ready to tackle a new school year.  What I want is for my kids to have done things they enjoyed doing without having to put an “X” in the box every time. As mothers, we have so much pressure to curate perfect experiences for our children. What we tend to forget is that they are better equipped than we are to create that for themselves. 

So I challenge you. Take one thing off your to-do list for this summer, mamas, and subtly toss that bucket list in the recycling bin. Or better yet, don’t make one to begin with.

Hi! I'm Megan, former teacher turned stay-at-home-but-never-home mom to Peyton, 7, and Gage, 4. I host the Kansas City MomCast podcast! I'm married to the most patient person on this earth, Chris, and we live in Overland Park with our kids, an insane lab, and two guinea pigs. You can find me over committing to everything, reading informational and self-help texts, listening to podcasts, organizing, spending time with friends over margaritas, thrifting, and staying up way too late to have peace and serenity. I love people and hearing their stories and look forward to connecting with KCMC readers!