Summertime for the working mom: it’s a bit of an enigma. The kids are on a break from school, but besides the occasional vacation day, it’s business as usual for the working mom, just hotter than normal and more requests for popsicles. There’s almost more logistical details to keep up with, since the kids are out of the regular routine. How can the working mom capture the magical essence of summer while still pushing through 8 hour + work days?

Packing, preparing, traveling with little kids can be intense. Worth it, but intense. Therefore, I have found some of my most favorite moments this summer, so far, come from little joys, close to or around home. Surprisingly, these little moments have filled my heart with a sense of peace and fun. I’ve even been able to feel the magic of summer. Here are some of my favorite moments/activities/memories:

Bring the “vacation/beach house” feeling home – whatever that means for you. For us, we like to fill our cooler with fun, favorite drinks and keep it someplace where it is easy for everyone to access. I’m not sure why, but it is encouraging to run by the cooler pick from a variety of favorites, instead of heading to the fridge for the same ‘ol stuff. We’ve also gone to the grocery store, let everyone pick out a favorite or “new, never had before” snack, and explored new parks.

Learn a new game – and play it up. One of my favorite memories so far is the day our 4 year old learned how to play “Go Fish.”

Feed the ducks/fish – This is another favorite – the first time our 15 month fed the turtles and fish at a park was awesome!(more so because he didn’t try and eat the pellets himself!) It was a big deal to see him be excited to see food going some other mouth than his own. 🙂

Letting board games/puzzles linger – I’m not too uptight – but I do appreciate things having places and actually being in place when not being enjoyed. This summer though, I have been a little more inclined to let the board games and puzzles sit out longer – works in process – so that people can return to them at a suitable moment. Ordinarily, it would kind of bug me to walk by a half completed something, but the laid back nature of the season helps me chill a little bit.

Building homemade forts in bedrooms – My husband totally impressed my daughter and I the other week. He took a bunch of blankets and tray tables and random items and created an awesome fort! That sucker stayed up in her bedroom for a week! Again, ordinarily, this take over of her bedroom would have made “my working through the school year self” tense. I couldn’t really get to her dresser for the week to put away laundry, but that was okay. Maybe I also needed a break from laundry!

Loading up on fresh fruit – I introduced our daughter to eating cherries tonight – how to hold them by the stem and nibble the sweet-tart meat around the pit. Again, a random memory, but one that is so fun. We giggled and nibbled and talked about growing a cherry tree with red juice dripping off our chin.

All of these memories are the kind I would never think of at the start of the summer. They have come upon us naturally and created smiles. I like Disney as much as the next girl. Contrary to what the TV tells you – there are lots of simpler and more affordable ways to capture the magic this summer.