Thoughts of my children growing up and away have been on my mind recently and I’ve also thought about the type of people I want them to become.
You must have seen the posts and pics across social media in the last couple of weeks reminding parents that we only have 18 summers with our children so we need to make them count.
I have a problem with this for so many reasons.
Firstly, I know from my own experience that I didn’t leave home at 18, never to spend another summer with my parents. (I’m 24 in this pic from 2005!)
The thing that I miss most from my summers as a teen are sitting out with a book with no responsibilities. My family weren’t involved at all!
Other times of year are important for making memories: remember the snow???
Christmas is the classic family time. Birthday treats. Random or spontaneous surprises such as a day out. Doing things together as well as space to be alone.
I worry that working parents may feel stigmatised for not spending 18 whole summers with their children. Actually, some of the most fun things I remember from my own childhood are going to holiday clubs even though my mum wasn’t working.
Other times were the days spent with cousins or sleepovers with grandparents. We try to include my sister and her family, my parents and Chris’ mum as much as possible so that the children have a variety of experiences, often enjoying places in the local area and just appreciating time together.
The housework still needs to get done. The children still need to be fed. Going out somewhere for the day can be expensive and stressful. Not every day can be FUN FUN FUN! Children need some down time.
Last year I made a summer bucket list of things to try to do. There weren’t that many things on it, perhaps 1 or 2 a week, leaving lots of time for the children to play freely with their toys and each other without the worry of making memories.
I think it is important to have balance. Children need to learn that life happens in waves. There will be times of being busy and others of calm. Both are important to the wellbeing of parents AND children.
So if you haven’t got an incredible summer planned, then don’t panic. The children will make memories anyway and so will you.