Each year as the school year winds down I make the same goal: “I’m going to let my kids be kids for the summer. Let them imagine and have down-time. We’re going to hang out just the six of us and go to the library and have our own kind of field trips. I’m not going to over schedule them for the summer like I did last year.” Yep, every year that’s my goal. And without fail, every year I end up being frustrated. Because all of a sudden, once again, these kids are mysteriously signed up for everything under the sun.

So this year, true to form, as summer sneaks up on us in a few days, I’ve found us signed up for swim team, gymnastics, basketball camp, piano, tennis, possibilities of cooking class, volleyball camp, acting classes, art classes and singing classes. You name it, there’s a class for it, and man oh man those classes are darn tempting!

And it’s not even the kids that are begging for them a lot of the time! It’s me thinking, “oh this would be so great for so-and-so.” I struggle because sure, all those things could help my kids learn a lot. Who knows, maybe Elle will be an awesome volleyball player if I just sign her up for camp this summer. She’s going to be so tall, maybe that’s her “calling” and she would miss out on it if I don’t let her go. Maybe we’ll uncover that Grace is a natural actress (put in practice by all her daily dramatics), if she only takes that acting class. And Max, he’s quite an artist, wouldn’t that art class give him some great confidence? And poor Claire, I keep having this feeling that if we put her in a gymnastics class she really could take off…she seems to have inherited a little more of Dave’s coordination than mine which could really help her in the long run!

The list goes on and on. How do you find the balance between what to put your kids in, letting them experience the world, magnify their talents, figure out what they’re gifted in, and keeping them at your side, cherishing that time as long as you can and letting them have down time? My ideal summer would be to live on a desert island, just our little family, and work on things together…no interruptions. But that’s not going to happen, gosh darn it. I have to figure out how to balance life as it is.

So, I’m putting on the brakes on summer stuff for now. No more lessons or classes on top of what we have already.

Because, as much as all those classes and ideas of grandeur would be wonderful, they still can’t compete with the confidence and self-assurance that comes from just hanging out with a mom who loves them, each other as they develop great relationships, friends as they learn to lead and make good decisions, and down time to let their imaginations run wild.

I think in the long run, those are the things that will matter most to help those seeds of greatness start to blossom into what they’re destined to be some day.

Similar Posts


  1. Shawni..I couldn’t agree more with you on this post. Being able to just “be” with your family is the best for the kids confidence but somehow we think that all these other extra activities are so good for them too. Don’t get me wrong I think it is good to have your kids involved but I swear that kids these days are way over booked than when we were young. I just wonder if the kids feel the unnecesary pressure these days.
    I too have the kids in lessons this summer and a summer camp. I guess I am just going to have to make “special time” of hiking or biking with them or better yet just kicking back!
    My comments are so scatter brained but I hope you get my jist!
    One more thing….The good thing about them being involved is they learn time management. In high school my grades were always the best during my sports seasons…..

  2. Oh I wanted to add that Elle has got great talent! She is learning from the best!
    The classes that you are teaching sound great! I think it would be great to have something like that around here!
    Okay..not to take up ALL your comment space but I had my lightroom class last night. Wow! I am excited but I am wondering if I should wait a couple of months for the 2.0. It will have the dodge and burn tool and some other tools that are really useful.
    Can’t wait for our family pics!

  3. I COMPLETELY agree.
    We only have a few short years with our kids where they even WANT to hang out and be with mom. We turn them over to “the world” soon enough. And the world already underestimates the power of a mother’s companionship and guidance. Summertime is the perfect time to “just be” as a family. We really try to limit it to one, maybe two things that we sign up for. (The school year is crazy enough as it is…) The older my kids get, the more I look forward to summer.

  4. I am totally with you. I am trying so hard to not over schedule this sumer. I took my kids out of swim team. Sorry no carpooling now. I just want to really enjoy and make summer different than the hetic school year.

  5. Man, summer is hard. I want my kids to be signed up for everything…lucky for me, the older kids are only here for part of the summer. 🙂
    I agree with you – on every account.
    It’s great to be back “blog” surfing. I missed not being a Book Club last night! 🙁

  6. Shawni, I couldn’t agree with you more!! I always say I am not going to be one of those moms that “overschedules” her kids. I want to make sure they have down-time and I want to make sure there is lots of time for them to be with me and the family. However, somehow all those extra classes look so great and before you know it, you are signed up for one too many things!! Thanks for motivating me to keep our lives in balance!

  7. agree — although if you don’t schedule sometimes you find summer passing by without accomplishing family time OR other activities. We FINALLY found a happy medium. We are signed up for a FEW things and other than that we have a mornings for minimal school work(to keep up) and then at 10 AM — we head out for a different thing each day. HIke day, library day, movie day, picnic day, and choose our own activity day. The afternoons are saved for neighborhood kids and popsicles — we LOVE it.:)

  8. I totally agree- I love spending time with the kids, and I only do a camp or two (church related) . I put all of the saved money into our own little summer fund, and we have a blast. We get out and do so many fun things! I love to keep a free schedule !Great Post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *