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What my family “accomplishes” during the summer: not much.

by Meagan Francis on August 6, 2012

summer hanging out

Every now and then I feel envious of families who accomplish great things together. You know: musical talents who perform as a group, say. Or those who build things or breed animals or enter projects in the county fair as a group. When an acquaintance recently asked me what my kids and I like to “do” during the summer, I initially felt sheepish, because the answer is…well, not much. 

Oh sure, we travel, hit the beach, and go camping, but we aren’t exactly creating anything or displaying any special talent. In fact, if you asked me what my family’s special group talent is, I’d have to respond: “hanging out.”

It’s easy to feel like a bit of a loser if you’re a laid back family, but I’ve come to accept and appreciate our relaxed expectations when it comes to group activities. I wrote about my family’s talent – doing a whole lot of nothing together, and loving it – over at the Goldfish Smiles blog this month. From the post:

One of my ‘rules’ of happier parenting is to do what works. And what works for our family is relaxing, talking, and just being together. I consider it a huge ‘win’ that my teenager doesn’t run away screaming when we ask him to sit down and chat.

Please read the rest of the post! And then let me know: Does your family do any special projects together during the summer and the rest of the year? Or, like us, do you do a lot of plain old hanging out?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Devon August 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

This is fantastic, Meagan. I love it and agree, sometimes the best times spent together are the ones unplanned.


SusanP August 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

No big projects at our house either. We’re experts at hanging out and spending time together too. Summer passions are swimming, movie nights, reading, board games, puzzles, unstructured play, grilling, and very little stress. That’s how I was raised and that’s how I like it as a parent.


Nina August 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

We totally don’t do anything. With my husband and I both working the whole year and my kiddo not in school yet, we don’t even have a “real” summer. We plan to take a 3-day weekend road trip to a nearby city, but that’s as glamorous as we get. :)


Cory August 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I’ll admit, I have a hard time with just hanging around… With chores calling, errands needing doing, I often feel guilty doing “nothing” … and yet, I’m so exhausted that often my “nothing” turns into dozing on the couch!

I think a big factor is our kids ages/stages. They are 5, 4, and 2, and I’m pregnant. At that age they can do great with nothing to “do” and just play, play, play IF everyone is in agreeable moods… but add in a grouchy 4 y/o or a toddler who wants everything “HER” way, and man do we need to get out and get a plan! HA! But that’s OK too… Sometimes meandering around the library or hitting the pool at the Y might not seem like much, but to kids that age it’s a fabulous day!

Thanks for yet another nod to ditching the mom-guilt! I love that!


Pauline Stacey August 8, 2012 at 5:09 am

The photo is so nice. I agree with you that we and our kids felt more enjoyed during unexpected happening.


Alexandria August 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm

We are all about the “hanging out.” Not that we never sign up for any activities, but I don’t have any problem when we have large blocks of time with nothing planned. I think in our culture though that we are very *odd.*

Last year I signed up the kids for day camp to get them out of the house and give stay-home hubby a break, but they rarely went. This summer we had no vacation plans or activities planned but kept very busy with family activities (lots of visiting relatives, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). It probably helps that school break is only 8 weeks. At first this really annoyed me (reminiscing about long lazy summers of my youth), but we have kind of grown to like it. IT’s a lot easier to say, “We just aren’t going to plan *anything.*” Some of the kids’ friends summer schedules just made my head spin – lots of travel crammed in a short time frame.


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