In Support of Summer Moms Everywhere & In Defense of Summer Bucket Lists

How’s your summer going? I have said many times that summer is a stay at home mom’s triathlon. The days are composed of running around, biking, swimming, sweating and going from event to event without pause. It can be a flurry and it can be exhausting!! You love (for the most part) the extra time you get to spend with your kids but at the end of each day you are spent!! I ran into my sweet friend Michelle the other day at stop 1 of 3 of summer camp pick ups. We joked about how we’d both managed it get in a shower while the kids were in morning camp and how we call that success!! She posted a photo a bit later with all three children at the park with the hashtag- my babies, 42 days left of summer, mom countdown. So does a bucket list fit in to this already busy summer for her, myself and so many moms like us? I think so! How about you, would it be helpful or send you over that edge you’ve stood on a few times this summer? Let’s talk…

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently against making a summer bucket list. I’ve even read a few of them. Let them be bored, go with the flow, be spontaneous. I can see the point of these arguments. The main point is that a bucket list is just another to-do list for busy moms. That we have enough things to do as it is and a bucket list will only stress us out, we will feel that we have to have fun with our kids NOW! I get that point of view but let me share mine with you.

Let me start by fulling disclosing that I am, in fact, a Type A planner. This is my personality and I think at some point in your life one should make the decision to consciously own who they are, I do. I am a list making fool! I always have several going at once-grocery lists, to do lists, a calendar filled with appointments, lessons, notes, upcoming birthdays etc. I do my best to stay organized and to feel on top of everyone’s schedules. For me, a list is right up my alley, I feel a sense of security when I have a list. Put it this way-I would never go grocery shopping without a list and just try to figure out what I wanted. The summer is the same for me, the time is so precious that I want to make the most of it!! Every moment!

I suppose when summer arrives some would decide this is a great time not to be so scheduled. Just wake up whenever and see what everyone feels like doing that given day. Forget about those clocks, you can be flexible. No offense to anyone with that philosophy but that idea would be a catastrophic one in this house. First, my kids still have regular lessons-music and sports. I can’t just show up to these appointments whenever I want. Second, we just do better with a plan in this family. Mommy is not always spontaneously creative. Mommy doesn’t always have on hand any possible item for any possible spur of the moment thing we would decide to do.

My family’s summer has been in progress for almost 5 weeks now. We created our bucket list a week before it began. We made a big list, 60 items!! It’s a mix of items that would be accomplished anyway like learn a new song on the guitar (this will happen at music lessons without any help from me), go to beach (Hello, we live in Florida a pretty high chance we will be going there at least once this summer) and have a pool party (we are in the pool pretty much every day and are joined by friends frequently). It also has a few rainy day ideas for the inevitable rain that will fall here-simple things like silly putty play time, painting rocks and $1 movies. There are also things on the list that we want to do for the first time-the kids wanted to try a root beer float, they want to plan a dinner all by themselves (I’ll cook it) and they want a pass to play in the rain.

So how’s it going so far? The answer is that the list has been an amazing help for summer. We are loving it!! It hasn’t stressed this mom out at all, if anything it has taken the pressure off of me. I knew going into the summer what experiences the kids hoped to have. I get to pick and choose ahead of time what we’re going to do. If we’re going to bake cupcakes together on Tuesday, I can plan in advance to make sure I have all the ingredients. I can pack a beach bag ahead of time or plan ahead for a special snack or play date. What I have actually been gifted with in regards to this list is extra time to BE with my kids. I’m not running around looking for the other missing flip flop at the last minute or thinking of ideas on the fly as it pours outside to the chorus of “I’m bored” inside. I’m just getting to spend time with them doing these amazing things.

So far we’ve:

Make blanket forts

Visited a new place (a nature preserve)

Discovered a new playground

Tossed pennies in a fountain and made wishes

Had play dates with some friends

Made muffins together (5 dozen)

Played with silly putty (easy list suggestion from the kids)

Confirmed the force is strong in both kids at Star Wars Camp

Attended Minecraft camp

Enjoyed every second of Obstacle Course Camp

Family trip to the Farmer’s Market

Treated ourselves to a visit to our favorite frozen yogurt place

Made Root Beer Floats

Had a sleepover at a friend’s house

Enjoyed a family movie night at home

Wrote letters and mailed them to family

Had a cookout

Bought an underwater disposable camera and the kids took pictures of each other swimming

Painted art canvases

Tan tattoos (lay in the sun with a sticker on your arm, remove sticker after, the result is a “tattoo”)

Glow bath/shower (turn off the lights and bring in some glow sticks-always a big hit!)

Went to see one of the $1 movies at the theatre

Pokémon swimming (don’t ask..or do if you want a laugh)

60 different bucket list items is a lot, they may not all get checked off. I’m surprised we’ve already done 23!! It’s more of an idea board for us. When the creativity is not immediately forthcoming, it is my back up. My children will be bored from time to time this summer and I think that’s good. We will go with the flow sometimes too, I don’t want to be over scheduled all the time if I can help it. But there have been so many pros to having this bucket list that we will also continue to use it and use it frequently! I would not give up the priceless memories we’ve already made or the memories yet to come thanks in part to this list!

If you’d like to see what else is on our bucket list, here’s a link: Please share with me what you are doing with your kids this summer..would love to hear!

For Michelle and all the summer moms out there I see you. I see what you’re doing and the memories you’re giving your kids. I see your hard work, I see your exhaustion and I see you happy too. I see the sunglasses hiding the those tired eyes and the haphazard ponytails on your head. (Mine matches) I see you applying the sunscreen and carrying the snacks. I see the extra cuddles and the ice cream cones. The see the giggles and the tantrums. You are each killing it ladies! You have access to my listening ear and the bottle of wine always stocked in my fridge. I am on your squad and I stand with you! We are in this motherhood as a team-list or no list!



  1. A bucket list is such a great idea….and is great insight to what the kids really want to do with their summer! Thanks for the article!

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