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The Summer Slowdown

Photograph by Getty Images

I feel like a traffic cop. It’s summer and, while my whole family seems to be slowing down, I feel like my (already busy life) just got busier. Between getting my big one to camp and little one to swim class (why do they always have to start at exactly the same time?), and with everyone wanting to just spend “one more minute” (which actually means 20 more minutes) in the pool, it feels like all I’m doing is rushing myself and my kids from one place to another.

And while my husband’s work schedule has slowed down for the summer and my kids are enjoying camps and classes and days at the beach, someone’s got to get everyone where they need to go. That person is me. For moms there is no summer vacation, and life feels exactly the same as it did during the school year—busy.

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While I can’t take a vacation from being a mom, I can take a vacation from rushing and hurrying. This summer I’m hoping to lose 10—minutes, that is. I’m going on a diet from rushing and stressing over getting everyone where they need to go on time. My rush diet goes something like this:

1. Lazy mornings. If my kid isn’t rushing out the door to get to camp on time, then why am I rushing him out the door? It’s camp, not school. If he wants to take 15 minutes to put on his shoes, then he’ll miss the first 15 minutes of camp.

So maybe rushing is a state of mind, not a necessity.

2. Plan less. I worry enough about my kids doing too much during the school year, but summer is meant to feel relaxed and fun. I can still remember being a kid and playing until the sun went down. So I’m leaving the afternoons open for time at the park, picnics and ice cream. The kids can master 10 languages and learn to play chess in September.

3. Relax on the rules. I like to run a tight ship. But since I’m the one who has to steer the ship, I’m relaxing a bit on the rules. A little extra TV or going to bed a few minutes later isn’t that big a deal. But spending your summer feeling like a drill sergeant is a big deal.

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4. Enjoy the open highway! I may not be on vacation, but it feels like every driver in town is. The roads are basically empty. That means I can leave the house in the morning a few minutes later. We’ll leave later, but we won’t be late. That leaves plenty of time for the kids to take too long do whatever they want to take too long to do.

It’s been a week since I’ve started my rush diet, and I already feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I haven’t rushed, reminded or reprimanded anyone for being late, and everyone still seems to have gotten where they need to go, relatively on time. So maybe rushing is a state of mind, not a necessity. I may just do this all year-round. Now, pass the sunscreen!

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