In some ways, grownups’ summers are better than kids’

How’s your summer going so far? Mine’s been that delicate balance between savoring the sweetness and checking things off the to-do list. Isn’t that how life usually is, as grownups?

I look at my kids, young as they are, and I marvel at their ability to just be. They wake up and ask, “What are we going to do today?” The night before, they didn’t need to brain dump or check their to-do list; they simply hit their pillows with summer-tangled hair and limp limbs, exhausted from all the running and tree climbing.

Ah…. to be there again. Or, do I really want to? Because after all, being a grownup has its perks. We have a keener ability to savor the summer days, fully aware of how fleeting they are. We know that ice cream really is a treat—money doesn’t grow on trees, after all.

Here are a few ways I think I’ve got a leg up on my kids right now, summer-wise.

1. I make my sweet treats count.

Kids may be blissfully unaware of the sugar content in a popsicle, but I argue that’s the reason it’s all the more special for us. We know it’s best to make these indulgences count, and as such, we savor them more.

Kids often move from one craving to the next. We know to delight in that succulent treat and to make it a highlight of our day. Man cannot live on ice cream sandwiches alone.

2. I know the secrets coming ahead.

We don’t tell our kids about future fun because once they know, it’s ALL they talk about. Early in our parenting, we made the mistake of telling our oldest about her birthday several weeks before the big day, and it was all I could do to not pull my hair out from her constantly asking, “How many more sleeps until my birthday?”

Whenever we’ve got an upcoming vacation, a grandparent on her way to visit, or even a day trip out of town, we don’t say a word to the kids until a day or two before. It saves our sanity.

But us? We get to anticipate the upcoming fun and plan accordingly. Think of the delights behind planning a vacation, not the chores.

3. I get to enjoy late summer nights.

Sure, our kids go to bed a smidge later in the summer than they do in the school year, but as young as they are, they miss out on the late summer nights—and that’s one of my favorite times of day in these hotter months.

In the south, it was the only time that wasn’t utterly and ridiculously hot, so we would reward ourselves with an outdoor conversation watching the fireflies over a glass of iced tea.

Now in the northern part of the U.S., I slip on a cardigan with a cup of hot tea and marvel at cooler temps in the height of summer, often near a fire pit. The kids get this a few times over the season—we grownups enjoy it nightly.

4. I’m the cruise director.

Sure, there’s a sense of adventure for kids, who wake up daily to “What are we doing today?” But as a grownup, it’s really up to me (okay, us) to decide whether today we’re going to the library, the pool, or the volcanoes. If we’re too tired to spend another day at the pool, I can simply decide we’re not going, and read a book on the couch instead.

I understand that there’s value to not constantly going going going, and the reward for that is a sweet rhythm of our days. We move, and we rest. And as the parent, I’m in charge. What kid doesn’t want that?

I still look at my kids’ carefree abandon with a bit of envy, but really, I think I have a leg up on them. My summer days are full of appreciation and gratitude for the seasons in life, and my kids’ summers will too—one day.

In what ways do you better appreciate the summer as an adult?

This post is sponsored by Dreyer’s/Edy’s® Slow Churned Light Ice Cream: all the taste of regular ice cream, but with half the fat and 1/3 fewer calories. Now that’s a reason to smile. Give a smile here.
Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I can more fully appreciate not having so many scheduled activities to run to.

  2. Delightful post that makes me feel thankful for summer joys.

    I miss savoring those summer nights after kids go to bed. Mine stay up late now, but I get to enjoy quiet mornings to myself while my teenagers loll in bed! Loving it!

  3. I love that I don’t have to rush the kids out the door to get to preschool on time, and we can enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the patio before the daytime heat is in full swing. Cleaning up the spills is easier, too!

  4. liza lee grace says:

    I completely agree with this! I adore summers because of the things I can do with the kids. It’s a time where I can enjoy them! Even though I choose most activities, seeing (and participating in) their sense of wonder makes each thing we do that much richer.

  5. I love all the sleep I get in the summer. My favorite part is the lazy mornings.

  6. Tsh, great way to switch things around. I’m kind of caught up in the adage, happiness is not a destination but a perspective. It’s funny how as adults we get so caught up in the burden of being adults whereas our children are sometimes so eager to grow up and have more independence and “control” over their lives (as if all the responsibilities don’t sometimes control us!) Thank you for reminding me of the delights of summer from an adult perspective!

  7. I try to savor each day, because like a melting ice cream, they are all too fleeting and melt away pretty fast.

  8. I’m more appreciative of my days now as an adult than when summer hit as a kid. Sadly I was one of those Sleep at midnight, Wake up at noon summer tweens who watched TV all day. I’m glad I grew out of that funk once I entered college. I applied myself more and took courses, even worked a little bit.

    As a working mom, I don’t get summers the way I used to, but thankfully I don’t sleep in til noon any more (although I wouldn’t mind sleeping in past 8am :/ ).

  9. Love that blue polish 🙂
    Yes, I love the rhythm of summer and had to laugh at not telling your kids things when they’re young! It does save on the sanity. Now, with 2 young teens, I find myself savoring even more our slow family summer days. I know how few we have left before jobs and college take over for our kids. Our family did enjoy a 3-week home swap and camping trip around Spain this summer – and we splurged on ice cream – which we never do at home!! Oh, and tapas served with very cold beer.

  10. So true! Thanks for a good post on perspective!

  11. Much like your evenings, I like the quiet of the morning during summer. When I can sit outside on my front porch and watch the sunrise. I can head out solo for a bike ride before they are all out of bed and begging to come with me meaning I can go at my speed and for as long as I want and often I return before they are any the wiser to my little getaway. My kids are older though all 10 and up, and my husband is the night owl so the cool of the summer mornings is all mine!

  12. My daughter turns 3 in a few weeks and has started a new bedtime routine. As we tuck her in, she asks what we are doing the next day. We tell her something (like we are going to the pool or the library, whatever is on the agenda). She just lives for the next adventure— for the days ahead. She has no thought for yesterday or even the last minute.

  13. Oh yes, yes, yes. The time thing is huge. Remember those days when summer felt like a full year?!! I so appreciate the speed of lightning pace that time flies the older I get. Making the most of it.

    And at first I thought your top pic was a glass of lemonade with a choc bar in it… And I thought, hmmm, I could seriously handle that about now! Hahaha

  14. I love your thoughts on this. Indeed summer is a magical time for us all. The adult thing I love about summer is enjoying the mornings. I don’t have to get kids off to school (although mine is leaving for work these days in the early hours), so I can get up and go for a very early walk and still have some coolness left for stretching out on the back porch, watering the flowers, and then grabbing my coffee and Bible to sit on the glider and welcome the day. Here in southern Arizona we enjoy a cool breeze most mornings until about 10:00, so that’s plenty of time to savor the summer morning.

  15. Oh I love this! It’s the middle of winter here in Australia, and while our winters are pretty mild, I am really ready for the warm weather now.

    You made me super nostalgic and ridiculously excited at the same time!!

  16. Thank you, Tsh!
    This is a most beautifully, ‘real’ post! :))
    Enjoy your day!

  17. Enjoy those adult evenings while you can. I now go to bed earlier than my oldest 2 most nights. On the up side older kids sleep in!

  18. I enjoyed this post very much. It made me feel relaxed and grateful for where I am right now. Thank you!

  19. I appreciate the summer SO much more…I still have to work part-time but it gives me so much joy to see my girls enjoying the freedom of summer months. We plan random outings (often involving lots of snacks, a beach and sunscreen) and just have days where we putter around the yard. We stay up a bit later, enjoying the long days. Yes, we still have a to-do list but we worry less about housecleaning and more about hanging out together.

  20. Absolutely LOVE this post! Thank you!

  21. eliz a buf says:

    really?? y’all don’t tell your kids until the last minute about big stuff?? wow, i love breaking the news and helping them plan the big stuff out ahead of time…………. we count down on the calendar, and i give each child a notebook to write lists or draw pictures in as they make plans or have questions, and we set aside a little space in the closet for all the things we want to remember to travel with or little presents we plan to give.

    we’re headed into winter right now, but they are gorgeously mild here in brisbane, and it’s pretty much only cool overnight. time to get the fire pit out and plan some extra baking (our oven heats the entire kitchen, a teeny little surprise gift from the builder, ha).

    feeling the changes overnight make me appreciate our warm weather all the more! xoxo, buf

  22. Great thoughts! I love being an adult in the summer and not having my mom give me a list of tons of chores to get done, like pulling weeds in the garden! I like lounging by the pool with a good book and planning the fun activities we’ll partake in. I enjoy hosting parties and picnics and getting to know new friends. You forgot something on your list…most likely because you are keeping it G-rated here. 😉

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