What I Learned From the Summer of 2019

It’s starting to feel like fall and I absolutely welcome the coming of my favorite season. But also, for probably the first time since I was a kid dreading my return to school, I feel sad that summer is ending. I despise heat and humidity, I dread the time and effort required to slather my kids in sunscreen, and I consider the beach, which combines the two PLUS sand, to be highly overrated. No, thank you. Bring on fall! Except … this summer has been an especially good one. This summer, I think I figured some things out and may have finally learned to love my least favorite season.

It might have a little to do with the unseasonably mild temperatures this summer, but I think it was more choosing to do the hard things; saying yes to things that at first seemed overwhelming or like too much effort. It was also realizing limits and learning from both experiences. I want to be able to capture the feeling of this summer again and to do so, I need to remember a few things I learned:

DO stock up on a good sunscreen that is both easy to use and won’t draw judgmental glares from the anti-spray pool moms.

DO get a pool membership early and use it often. The suggestion by the kids to head to the pool may elicit a much deserved groan. We’d have to find swimsuits and towels and snacks and toys, then get everyone ready to go. The thought itself is exhausting. But once everyone is in the water, it’s easy to see it was all worth it.

DON’T buy the giant unicorn inflatable. I know it’s at a great price at Aldi and you’ll temporarily be the kids’ hero, but have you considered where you’re going to use it? Because once you see the actual size of the giant unicorn inflatable, you’ll have re-think that plan.

DO go on a vacation. And not a “vacation” just to see family or to the same place you always visit. I know those trips are fun too, but traveling someplace new is an adventure. See new places and get to do things you’ve never done before.

DON’T begrudge family if they choose to do the same instead of visit you. Feeling jilted is a waste of time. You’ll figure it out eventually.

DO take a road trip. It takes longer than flying, but with the right plan, getting there is just as enjoyable as the destination.

DO bring a grandparent on your trip. For the bathroom breaks alone. You’ll never have to set foot in a public restroom, which is a vacation in itself.

DON’T stay at home on rainy days. There’s plenty to do indoors in the sweet, sweet comfort of the air conditioning. But there are also puddles to splash in and rain to run through. It’s basically a zero effort sprinkler.

“Broke our ‘no sugar for Peter before bed’ rule and paid for it. He’s been up four times. The last was because he forgot what sound the letter ‘h’ makes. 🤦🏻‍♀️”

DO let the kids get dirty and make messes. Let them run through the creek fully clothed, make mud pies, and get paint in their hair. Kids are washable.

DO let your kid eat ice cream for dinner on her birthday. It’s not like she would have eaten anything you gave her anyway. You can fight about food again tomorrow.

DON’T break the “no sugar after 7:00” rule you have for that one kid. You’ll pay for it! Summer is about breaking rules, but you have to draw the line somewhere. 

DO take advantage of having grandparents nearby. Go to dinner or see a rare non-animated movie. Better yet, get out of town without the kids. I’m all for finding a way to bring them wherever you can, but there comes a point when you all need some time apart.

DON’T worry about the things you didn’t get to do or the people you didn’t have time to see. Laugh about the friends you made grand summer plans with back in May and haven’t seen since then (just like last year).

DO go easy on yourself. Take a break when you need it. Say no to the pool once in a while. Take a nap. Summer goes by quickly and if you’ve discovered just a few new things that aren’t as bad as you thought (enjoyable even?), you might realize you actually like this season after all. There’s always next summer to find a use for the giant inflatable unicorn.

Katie is a SAHM mom of three, a bad driver of a heavily dented minivan, a KC native, and an owner of a messy house in Overland Park (and not in a cute “Look at my kids playing in unfolded laundry!” way, but more in a “Don’t stick your hands under the couch until we’ve investigated that smell!” way). She loves long family road trips, dogs with people names, and using her rare kid-free time to go to concerts and movies. She hates speaking in third person and people with dog names. She is most proud of her children when they sing David Bowie songs in public and express independence in ways that cause strangers concern.