Our adult children are raising their own children now and it causes me to think back to what I did “back in the day” to make summer fun simpler.
It’s summer and there’s so much fun to be had! Here are three tips for you moms that can help you make memories without breaking your brain.
Grab the Swim Bag
We’ve been married for 29 years and are about to own our first home with a pool. Funny that we’re doing this now that our kids are grown. We’ve heard, though, that like the field in the movie, Field of Dreams, if you have water, they will come. We love it when our kids come home. I digress…
Keeping a swim bag ‘on the ready’ was helpful for me. It was too hard to get it all together, get them loaded up, keep them from drowning and then come home to do all the cleanup bits. Just thinking about it all often grounded us.
Here’s what was in it: A pouch with our water park season passes and/or neighborhood keycards in it and a little bit of cash, extra diapers/wipes if necessary, sunscreen, a snack bag, my concoction that kept swimmer’s ear at bay, towels and their swim suits. A trash bag for wet things. Stick a book in there if your kids are older and can keep themselves from drowning. When you wash your towels and swim suits, put them in your swim bag so they’ll be easy to find when it’s time to go back. Every so often, check your stock of snacks and sunscreen and replenish if necessary.
Our swim bag, which was super cute and waterproof, contained all the necessities. All I had to do was grab it…and the kids, of course.
Make It a Day Trip
Packing for an overnight trip with three kids was daunting, to say the least. There is way too much to think through and it hurts my brain. We would often take day trips to one of our favorite spots. It was a 3 hour drive each way from where we lived. Seem crazy? Hold on, here’s how we did it.
- Plan your trip for a week day if you can. It will be less crowded.
- Pack a cooler with lunch supplies and frozen water bottles (you don’t even need ice).
- Grab your swim bag (see above) but throw in soap and shampoo. You can throw in two sets if you have boys and girls or you can take turns and pass it to the guys outside. BTW, we showered in our swimsuits so there was no flashing going on.
- Leave early in the morning when they’re still happy. If they’re sleepy, that’s even better.
- Get to the park, change into swimsuits, unload the goods and find a place in the park to set up camp.
- Slather on the sunscreen.
- Swim, play, rest, eat and repeat.
- Break camp mid-afternoon.
- Shower and change back into the same clothes you traveled up in.
- Head to Schlotsky’s for an early dinner. We’ll share our tradition.
- Make the journey home in peace because everybody is wiped out, bathed and ready for bed!
This trip will cost you gas, entry to the pool, dinner and minimal brain power. If you do a day trip like this enough times it becomes routine and the stuff of super fun family memories.
The “Sweet & Salty”
What I’m about to share with you…it will change your world! You might want to sit down for this.
When we would go camping or on any type of vacation, our kids constantly bickered over snacks. “Mom, he ate all the chips!” or “Mom, she won’t share the powdered donuts!” Sigh…it’s been years and the echo of those moments still haunt me.
One summer I had the bright idea to have them each choose one bag or box of something sweet and something salty. Yes, a whole bag. The firm rules were 1) they were not to touch anyone else’s snacks but they could share if they wanted to and 2) when it’s gone it’s gone. Eat it all the first day or ration them. Their choice. And there would be no sympathy from mom and no trips to the store for more.
Before a trip, we would go to the store. They would choose their sweet and salty. It was always a huge decision but they learned to be very crafty and creative with their choices. It was a fun outing.
The “sweet and salty” kept me from having to pack a million snacks that they would either not eat or fight over. It helped me feed them real food because they didn’t want to eat up all their snacks. It taught them lifelong lessons about self-control and bartering, “I’ll give you one powdered donut if you’ll give me a fruit rollup.” Haha!
I can’t even tell you what a brilliant discovery this was for our family. Our kids, now adults, still talk about their “sweet and salty” when planning a trip and they’ve brought their spouses on board. What was born out of sheer survival for mom became fun memories for all.
Moms, what do you do to stay sane through the summer?
I encourage you to think outside of your box for ways to make your summer fun simpler.
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at andreastunz.com.