Four Lies That Keep Us From Doing Summer Better

What if I had done summer differently?

What if I had spent less time on my phone and more playing with my kids?
What if I had put down my To-Do list and giggled more?
What if I had turned on the sprinkler rather than dragging them in for baths?

What if I had been more present?

As our summer winds to a close, part of me wants to squeeze every last ounce of fun over popsicles and bubbles that I can.

I’m not sure where you’re at in your back-to-school countdown, but we have a little less than two weeks left and answering these questions better has been at the forefront of my mind.


For us, with a three-, six-, and seven- year-old at home, many days of summer felt a hot mess.

BUT there were also frozen lemonades by the pool, making friends with toads at the lake, joy at the amusement park, and so much goodness.

With only two weeks left, I’m trying to make them a priority, lay down the summer lies, and give them space to just be. Here’s how.

Summer Priority Check

With all of us at home, the noise is high, the mess is fierce, and the patience is low. And, honestly? All the noise. And crumbs. And sister quarrels kind of wear me down.

But I’m fighting to make sure my kids feel valued. And heard. And loved.

Before blogging, scrolling through other people’s lives in my news feeds, or drafting social media posts, I’m trying to choose them.

To do this, I set a social media limit on my iPhone and my screen time is down 31% from school year standards. When I get the ‘Time Limit’ warning, I’ve been setting the phone down more than hitting ‘Add 15 minutes or ‘Ignore Limit for Today.’ Try setting a limit on screen time and actually listening to the warnings. I promise you won’t regret it.

Family summer bucket list via Ashley Stevens at Mountains Unmoved

Also, last week we made a family Summer Bucket List. Each girl named ideas (zoo, ice cream, campfire, park) that would make their little hearts happy. Instead of leaning on the Netflix crutch, we’ve been checking off one activity from their list every day. Even if it’s for a week, I’d highly recommend making your own list.

Before you start tearing your garments (just me?) that school supply and clothes shopping has begun and it’s too late, try one of these ^ approaches. Let’s soak up every last alarm-free day we can.

Summer ain't over until the first bell rings. Let's end well. Click To Tweet

Own YOUR Summer

Maybe it’s how we remember summer being when we grew up, what we see friends doing, or what worked last year, but there so many lies telling us our summer isn’t measuring up.

Mom traveling with kids juggling stroller, purse, and car seat via Ashley Stevens at Mountains Unmoved

Lie #1 Everyone else’s summer is better

We’ve been blessed to join Brad on a work trip, visit my family, and fly out to see friends in the Northwest. I’m sure to some with little kids our summer may seem glamorous.

And while I’m incredibly thankful to be able to travel with the girls while they still think we’re the coolest, let me assure you it isn’t as glamorous as the pictures on the beach convey. Here was a highlight :/ from our travels:

As the hotel bellman knocked with a cart to take our bags to the lobby, my three-year-old had her first #2 accident of the trip. Her older sister answered the door, I shuttled her to the bathroom to wipe that situation with the door open to watch the older two, and then scurried to find the packed replacement outfit while that poor man watched in horror.

You can’t make this crap up. Pun intended. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed exploring DC with the girls, but the shiny pictures don’t convey the whole situation. Next time you see a picture of a family’s vacation you wish you could take, think about my hotel bathroom situation and know without a doubt they have had a similar moment behind the shiny.

Potty training in a nutshell via Ashley Stevens at Mountains unmoved

Lie #2 – It will be easier next year

When we’re done with diapers, they don’t need naps, or the tantrums calm down, then summer will be easier…

I spent a few weeks of the summer attempting, and then re-attempting, potty-training. This meme about sums up how June went. Many moments I looked longingly at friends able to leave the house without the risk of deep cleaning their van.

But I saw her eyes light up when she used it for the first time, watched her sisters celebrate with her over Skittles, and beamed with pride when she finally faced her fears and used a public toilet.

Now, my little girl is equipped for Preschool and we are frolicking with the best of them. 💪🏻

Don’t miss the joy in front of you, even if it’s messy.

Lie #3 – My kids are not doing enough

You know what I remember from summer as a kid? Playing outside with neighbors, tent camping in our backyard, playing Price is Right Plinko on our staircase with my brother, and playing croquet in my grandparent’s front yard.

You know how much money or stress that cost my parents? Zilch.

A good summer can’t be bought or signed up for. The more space we give our kids to just be, the better.

Lie #4 – I’m too busy to enjoy summer break

I don’t know whether you work or stay-at-home. I don’t know what season of parenthood you are in this summer. But if your schedule is a bit slower, save the News Feed scrolling for naps and after bedtime. Or if there’s anything you can put on hold (house projects, This Is Us binging, etc.), try to carve out more time to play and giggle.

For me, I decided to put sharing blog posts regularly here on hold and instead shared shorter posts on my Mountains Unmoved Facebook page (follow along here).

I look forward to getting into a more regular blogging rhythm once the school year starts with my littlest starting Preschool! Until then, I hope you are enjoying relaxing summers, choosing drinks with neighbors over To-Do lists, and soaking up the last weeks to the fullest.

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