Getting the Best of Your Summer (without summer getting the best of you)

Painting by local artist Noelle Gibbons
Painting by local artist Noelle Gibbons

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. We are four weeks into our summer break already, and as usual, I don’t know where the time is going. Sometimes, and especially the older I get, I wish I could just hit the pause button for a while… to live a day or a week without losing time… or even just a moment without regard for the clock.

But such will never be the case in this life; and so instead of wasting time wishing for more time, I simply try to make the most of the time I’ve been given, filled and fleeting as it is.

It’s funny that every year I look forward to summertime as a time of “more time,” because even in the absence of school the days just seem to fill right up. And I suppose that’s because I “make the most” of my time by using it.

Summer Fun Collage

With the kids involved in baseball, tee-ball, swimming lessons, Vacation Bible School, and Summer Reading programs—and all of that just in the month of June—I guess you could say that I’m getting the goody out of our summer. The question is, how do I keep summer from getting the goody out of me?

It stands to reason that one of the best ways to make time work with me instead of against me is to use it wisely. The hard part about that is that it requires discipline—discipline to prioritize, discipline to plan ahead, discipline to work hard, and discipline to rest well.


Because my tendency is to try to do it all, I can sometimes lose sight of that which I really wanted to do in the first place. It’s going to be key for me this summer to keep sight of the goals and intentions which are most important to me. If I want to read a bunch of books (I do), work on my sewing skills (I do), and spend lots of time at the pool (I do), then I will have to prioritize my summer schedule accordingly. And how do I choose my summer priorities? By considering which things I longed for all school year!

Plan Ahead

I’ve learned from experience that one of the biggest wasters of time is a lack of a plan. There are some days that I realize I could get a whole lot more done if I didn’t spend so much time trying to decide what I should do. That’s why another key to my making the most of the summer is going to be the discipline of planning ahead. From meals to housekeeping to projects to pool days, every facet of my summer will go better with a plan.

Work Hard

There are those who say that dirty floors don’t matter and dishes can wait; but while it’s true that those aren’t the most consequential tasks on a mother’s agenda, they are still important. I intend to play hard this summer, so that dictates that I work hard, too. In my mind, there is nothing wrong with spending multiple hours a week at the pool unless I’m regularly bringing my family home to mounds of dirty dishes, piles of unwashed laundry, and nothing to eat. Will there be days when I choose sun-kissed faces over dishwater hands? I’m sure! But if I want to get the goody out of summer (and not the other way around), then the general rule needs to be to work first and then to play.

Rest Well

I have found that one of the most difficult disciplines for me to maintain, especially in the summertime, is that of a healthy sleep schedule. Hauling myself to bed before midnight is a sacrifice of “me” time that I don’t do well making, which means that waking early enough to greet the day in the right way is a sacrifice of sleep time that I don’t do well making.  I know that a full enjoyment of my summer is going to largely rest in how well I rest, so in this discipline I hope to do my best.

Sunset on the Lake

Summertime may be “break” time; but with so many fun activities to fit into a few months, summers get busy! What will it take for YOU to get the best of your summer without summer getting the best of you?

Share your summertime scheduling struggles or successes in the comments below!


  1. We love just going to the park with friends hanging out with neighborhood friends and playing in our sandbox low key and I love it. That is what summer is about for us. And a few trips to grammy and poppies farm with cousins. I am so hesitant to put the boys in a bunch of organized activities because I really don’t like giving up that time especially on the weekends. We are doing swimming lessons this summer that all no t-ball and I am super happy about that. I figure soon enough we will become slaves to baseball schedules and organized activities I want to hold out as long as I can and just play


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