For the majority of my childhood, I lived in the country and probably had the most unscheduled summer a kid could ask for. I was lucky to have kids my age or close to it, living all around me. On most days, I’d get up in the morning, run out the door and rarely seen by my parents until dinner time. My parents always knew I was at one of 3 or 4 different places and all the other parents in the area felt the exact same way about their own children. We were our own little gang of kids playing freely with nothing but our imaginations and countryside around us.
I’ve always wanted that completely unscheduled lifestyle for my child in the summer but in this day and age of planned play dates, summer camps and with sharing custody, it’s always been scheduled – all day every day. I’ve always had a meal plan in place, groceries bought ahead of his arrival back from his Dad’s and almost always all of the time we have together planned.
Don’t get me wrong, there is always a ton of room for flexibility and last minute changes in that plan, but there always is some sort of plan in place. I’m like that throughout the school year and as a creature of habit, I’d keep it going throughout the summer. And I am not going to lie, there have been times when I would get super frustrated when people weren’t on the same page and planning things ahead of time like me. For me, the planning is mostly due to the fact that I don’t like being unprepared and having to rush around at the last minute. That’s when my anxiety gets the best of me.
But this summer, somewhere, somehow my mindset changed. Aside from having to plan my vacation weeks from work, I really have had no real plans in place. We’ve planned a few things here and there, but I don’t have every waking moment of our lives this planned summer. It’s actually been quite freeing and I have found that being unscheduled has allowed us to enjoy more than we probably would have if I had made a week full of plans.
There have been last minute sleepovers, trips to beaches we’ve never visited before and lazy days where we didn’t get out of our pajamas at all. And even when we’ve had tentative plans in mind, there have been days where those plans went completely out the window and we ended up having an even better time. I have barely meal planned and luckily that hasn’t had us eating out as a quick and easy alternative. We’ve been making meals based on what we have on hand and if that means lunch is as simple as a peanut butter and jam sandwich with some carrots on the side, so be it. I no longer feel the need for Pinterest worthy meals.
I’ve often felt the pressure to be “that” Mom as a sort of need to prove something to others that being a single parent doesn’t make me any less of a parent. My child loves me unconditionally and that is all that is important. He’s been loving these fly by the seat of our pants days and has said he actually prefers it. That does mean I am throwing all of planning ways out the window, it just means that I am going to be doing a better job of living in the moment and living life as it presents itself. If something presents itself and it needs to be scheduled, so be it. If several days pass unscheduled so be it. All I know is it will be a summer of laughter, fun and lots of memories made.