When Did Summer Vacation Get So Busy? A Mother’s Plea for Simpler Times


Ah, summer vacation. The days are long, the nights are warm, and there’s nothing but two solid months of rest and relaxation ahead for the kiddos…

Summer Vacation 6
Aaaaahhhh… Summer…

Record scratch. Freeze frame. Wait a second. That’s not true at all.

At the end of June, I was on the phone with my sister while standing in front of our family calendar. (Moms, you know the family calendar — that one central database that documents all of the activities for EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the family, pets included.) We were trying to work out a schedule for helping our parents on weekends for the next few months, while still attempting to make time for our personal and professional commitments.

After I ended the call, I just sat and stared in awe. I realized that there wasn’t one week in the whole summer that didn’t have at least one activity listed for at least one member of the family. I’m including the dog in this — poor guy’s gotta have his monthly heartworm medication, so he gets his own line on the calendar now.

Summer Vacation 3
Missing his sisters

This is what we have going on during the next two months of summer vacation:

  1. A week of cheer camp.
  2. Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game to celebrate our Outstanding Student (shameless proud mom plug here).
  3. A week of vacation — driving to visit the grandparents and some old friends.
  4. Work for Mom and Dad (we don’t get the summer off!)
  5. Helping out Grandma and Papa a couple of weekends every month for Mom.
  6. Two weeks of theater camp for the older kid.
  7. A week of rec center camp for the little one.
  8. THREE WEEKS of half-day summer school, again for the little.
  9. A week and a half of actual summer vacation.
  10. Soccer and cheerleading — OF COURSE each kid wants to do something different!
  11. Back to school at the end of August!
Summer Vacation 1
So many things to do…

What happened to the good old days when summer vacation meant waking up well after sunrise and going out to play with your friends until long after the sun had set, and your mom was screaming your name to come back home?

You guys know what I’m talking about, right? When I was a kid, we had MAYBE one or two weeks of summer camp. The rest of vacation was straight out of one of those 80s coming-of-age movies — “Stand By Me,” without the dead body. I don’t think I cracked a book or combed my hair for weeks when I was 10. I certainly didn’t have to wake up early and make a lunch to bring anywhere. Now, my 10-year-old has a Google calendar to keep track of all of the things she has going on.

Summer Vacation 2
Theater camp made the front page!

I suppose I should interject here that I’m not really complaining about all of the amazing activities the girls will be enjoying this summer. They are both excited about their respective camps and looking forward to seeing their friends. Two months is a very long time to go between kindergarten and first grade for a kiddo who struggles with reading, so summer school will be a good thing. The girls will still have a good balance of structured activity and relaxation time.

I just wonder if we’re doing our kids any favors by over-scheduling them.

There’s a part of me that wishes that they could experience summer the way I used to. When we would get bored, we’d have to find ways to entertain ourselves. We’d ride our bikes to our friends’ houses, or find a ride to a swimming hole. My girls don’t really know how to do that without electronic devices or help from Mom and Dad. Thankfully, they’re starting to become old enough to do things on their own, but they still need to be driven to and from their various activities. It’s enough to drive a mom to the brink — thank goodness for the city pool!

Summer Vacation 5
Crazy mama nailed Crazy Hair Day

How was your summer? Did you have any time to breathe between activities? How did you incorporate downtime for your kids this season?


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