STOP Saying We Only Have 18 Summers

Today was the end of our summer.  Half my heart dashed out the door to 2ndand 4thgrade.  My first thoughts were, “did we do enough or spend enough time together.”  After all, I only have 18 summers with them.  Then, I was like N-O.  Special moments with my children don’t just end because summer is over.

Can we just stop saying “we only have 18 summers.”

Can we just STOP SAYING, “we only have 18 summers with our kids.”  I hate what it does to my heart. It might surprise you that I, the one who is all about intentionality and purpose, would say to chuck that phrase to the curb.

This summer, we adopted our son from China so we spent the majority of this season adjusting.  The “Just 18 summers” mentality  haunted me as if what I was offering my kids wasn’t enough.  They surely deserved more. Just scrolling through social media made me feel like I should have hired another mom to give them the “best summer ever.”

The majority of the summer I felt this invisible countdown clock that literally made my apple watch tell me to breathe.  A few deep breaths would help me it said…mmm, okay!

I get it.  I have been the mom who has promoted bucket lists and activities.  I love having fun with my kids but pressuring ourselves into thinking we have to do all the things in one season leaves us exhausted, guilt-ridden and totally discounts the other 3 seasons (hello Christmas).



“Just 18 summers” isn’t telling the whole story.

To say we only have 18 summers with our kids negates all the years after they leave home that we will have a relationship with our children.  Sure, it might look different but we just got back from a family vacation with my parents.  I am 36 and am still making memories with my mom and dad.  That means that they have had 18 summers x 2 with me.  36 summers.  I think they are happy about that, I sure am!

So, if the phrase “we only have 18 summers with our kids” makes your heart start to pound, it’s time to let it go.  It’s not true.

Yes, our kids might leave home at 18 but motherhood never ends which means you make memories far after the 18 years expire.



Diffferent Seasons, Different Activities.

There are seasons of life that make some years full of more “big” memories while other years are full of smaller more mundane moments.  It all counts.  It’s not a competition to see who can give their kids the best 18 summers. Remember, you are the perfect mom for your kids and the fact that you care to give them a “summer to remember” means you are doing something right.

What do you remember from your childhood?

I remember riding my big wheel and playing in our tractor tire sandbox, moments at home “seemingly doing nothing” are sweet savored memories.  So, are the vacations and early morning snuggles in my parents water bed.

Try this simple activity…

If you aren’t so sure, sit your kids down and take turns sharing your favorite memories from that season.  You might even write them down so when that guilt or fear creeps back in, you are armed with the truth of the situation.

You might just be surprised about what matters to your kids and what that simple exercise can do for shifting your perspective. It’s also a good exercise to practice reflecting back and giving thanks.  A simple, purposeful practice they can take with them.

We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life.  We aren’t even guarenteed 18 years.  We all know our kids grow up (that’s our hope), heaping pressure and anxiety on ourselves to make every morment perfect is not going to help.  Rather, let’s focus  on the simple moments we do enjoy on purpose.  After all, I think we will find the littlest things make the biggest memories after all.

So, I am throwing the “just 18 summers” thought to the curb, and embracing all 4 seasons and all the future brings.  Who’s with me?

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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