This past weekend, we went bowling with some friends. One of them said to me, “you know my daughter’s four and we only have 14 summers left with her and it really hit me the other day that we need to make time to create some memories. We need to plan a little vacation. I mean, 14, that’s not many.”
I couldn’t agree more! Brian says out loud almost every week “the days are long, but the years are short” mainly to remind us that even though we are exhausted and ready to put the kids to bed and get a few minutes to ourselves, that one day, sooner that we want, they will not want us to push them on the swings and they will not need us to open their popsicles.
As a floral designer and someone who makes a living designing and producing weddings, the summer is a busy time. Yes my kids are in preschool year round, but in just one short year from now, Stella won’t be. She will be in kindergarten and then home with me during the summer. I knew I wouldn’t want to miss that special time with her and I won't want to miss summer with my boys in just a couple of years, so (as a natural born planner does) I began to look ahead. I thought to myself, “I have to figure this out BEFORE they are home all summer long. I have to figure out how I can be home with them too." So here’s what I did…
I’m an entrepreneur. I’m my own boss. I can make the rules. I want to take the summers off, BUT WAIT, that’s a busy time of year for me and a profitable time of year. I decided I would work hard, continue to grow my business each year, but each year, I would cut back working in the summer more and more until I had the entire summer free.
2015 - I worked all weekends in June, took off July completely, worked two weekends in August
2016 - I worked three weekends in June, took off July completely, worked one weekend in August
2017 - I am working one weekend in June, taking off July completely, working zero weekends in August
I know because I take off this time, I have to make up for it during other parts of the year, so it forces me to get creative and figure out how to make money during my “off season”.
The beauty is, for any entrepreneur, you get to set your own schedule. When we get to hustling hard and making our dreams come true, we sometimes forget that. We think taking a little time off will hurt our business. Guess what? It won’t. It might even make it better. Guess what else? When you’re lying in the hospital bed (I’m not sure how you’ll leave this world, but let’s just go with this scenario) taking your last few breaths, you probably won’t be thinking about all the hours you worked to grow your business. You’ll be thinking about the time you spent with your loved ones and the memories you made with them.
So great! I’ve figured out how to have some actual time with my kids in the summer. Now, what are we going to do? How are we going to make those oh-so-important memories? Hear me say I am not one that feels the need to plan every second of our lives and jam pack our schedule. I believe in long summer days, living them simple and slow. I believe in letting my kids be bored and figuring out how to entertain themselves. After all, I think that’s when they begin to hear their inner voice and that’s when they learn to be creative. However, there are a few things I would like my kids to take with them in their memory bank. Those things, I need to plan or they will pass us by and we will end up not doing them at all. (You can read a little more how I use my planner HERE).
So last week, I created a worksheet (KEEP READING TO CLAIM YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD!) and I asked myself this question, “How do I want this summer to feel?”
My answer: nostalgic. I want simple (aka not expensive), fun things to do with the kids, the tried and true things that I enjoyed as a kid, heck, that my parents enjoyed as a kid. I chose eight things:
Catching fireflies in mason jars
Sparklers on the fourth of July
Make homemade lemonade with the kids
Eat popsicles on the back porch
Run through a sprinkler
Go on a bike ride
AND… go to the pool at least once a week! (because that’s my VERY favorite thing to do in the summer, always has been!)
Then I took those eight very simple things, I put them in my planner. I gave them specific dates on the calendar. This way, I’m not wishing and hoping we do these things, we will do them! Our summer memories will be made. I’ll remember and hopefully as the kids grow and we continue to do these things, they will remember them too.
Take a look below at how I thoughtfully planned this summer for our family and be sure to claim your FREE download so you can do the same!
Enjoy a few of my personal images of our family enjoying last summer...