Let’s not, and say we did.
My childhood bestie was the first person I heard use that line: “Let’s not, and say we did.” Amy was her name. She had an older sister so she was always first to have the cool lines, albums & hair styles. (Did I just say “albums”?)
Back when I was a kid it was the “thing” to go to camp. Raised by a single-mom, School Teacher who dealt with kids all year long, you bet she wanted a kid-free Summer. Needless to say, I went to ALL the camps.
- I did the Church Camp. Dropped off with a sleeping bag and no idea what's next, but figured it’d be like overnight Sunday-school. It pretty much was.
- I did the sleep-away camps for weeks, staying in cabins at Rolling J Ranch. We shot riffles, rode horses, built fires, pulled pranks, woke up at dawn and wrote home. My letters just said “Please come get me.”
- I did the camp on Catalina Island, where we jumped off the end of a pier into the ocean at 5:00am for the hypothermia-inducing “Polar Bear Swim Badge”.
- I did sports camps, day camps at my school, a traveling music camp, and all the YMCA camps.
That's 7 yr old me in the picture above. I didn't love camp, but I sure get points for trying! And I promised I'd never make my kids to go to camp if they really didn't want to.
Now I have 2 small kids and I'm seeing the pressure parents can feel to keep kids “busy” during Summer. I get it. We have experts & opinions coming at us from every angle. Plus I totally understand why my Mom needed a break! Calgon Take Me Away...
Today there are as many social-pressures as there are Summer Camps to chose from. I know how much is out there because I’ve been the one to write "activity lists" for blogs & researched camps for my shows. Don’t get me wrong, I think we are lucky to have so many options for the kids who enjoy them. Now that my little ones are getting older, I also see how it could be all be overwhelming for moms, and kids too. But, Summer is not for stressing.
There just seems to be an idea, perpetuated from someplace, that in order to be a “good mom” you must keep your kids busy, and keep yourself busy (or running ragged).
I'm sure you've seen it too. I’ve got fliers & emails & alerts about Cooking Camps for the next Jr Iron Chef, and Minecraft Camps for future coders, and SAT Camp that my friend’s 10 yr old went to! And the beat goes on..
Here I am today, holding a basket of laundry in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other, with 2 happy kids in the backyard who aren’t packed to go to any camps, and in the beautiful Summer sunshine I’m telling you... I feel OK about it. We’re going to take some time. We're going to not cram everything into this Summer. And, I’m ok. The kids are very ok. My sanity is ok. My marriage is better than ok. Hey, I think everything is good here at the O.K. Corral.
“Let’s not, and say we did.”
Last week I invited some girlfriends to hang at the mall on a hot day, and they were unavailable because their kids were in camp. I texted back that we wouldn’t be doing camp this Summer so we’d be open for a playdates anytime. It was like I just told them I was day-drinking all Summer. WHAT could we possibly be DOING all day long? Then I started judging me! Am I not exposing my kids enough? Am I doing it wrong? (Not according to the smiles on these faces.) But, after all, this isn't how these other moms are doing it. This isn't how my mom did it.
If you are like me and you are doing Summer your own way.. If you need a mom-friend to hold up her Diet Coke *clink* and say “Cheers lady! Let’s not. And it's OK!” then I am that mom-friend today. We’re OK. You’re doing the right kind of Summer schedule for your family. If you like a busy Summer but feel like sitting this one out, then I say “OK to that!”. If you’re busy with a full-on itinerary (Like my friend Leah who misses her childhood camp so much that she now volunteers at her daughter’s camp!) then I applaud you too.
I just felt like I needed to remind the tribe that when our girlfriends spill the truth about their plans (or lack-there-of), we can accept the info with an open mind and an open heart. I also felt like I needed to remind myself to treat me the same way.
Summer means different things to different people at different times in our lives. Today I’m watching my kids play in the backyard while I order a pizza, then I’m calling my childhood bestie to shoot the breeze about how much things have changed. Then I’ll explain to my kids what an “album” is, and we’ll dance the night away. Our way.