The Dream vs the Reality of the Perfect Summer

By: LUMO Leaders

- Publish On: July 14, 2022

Summer breeze makes me feel fine. Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind. -Seals and Crofts.

Oh, summer. I dream of you all year long. Your long, lazy days. Your hot sun, ice cream trucks and campfires with s’mores. I dream of chill days at the beach, sleeping in, reading on the porch after dinner. Family time filled with laughter and connection.

That’s my dream, anyway.

But the reality?

Scrambling to find camps. Cobbling together childcare, or just hoping to “make it work”. (Ha.Ha.). Kids chanting “I’m soooooo bored” from sun-up to sun-down. Guilt over all the screen time. Siblings arguing over the last popsicle. Sick babysitters. Bathroom floors littered with wet suits and towels, all while trying to stay caught up with work. And now, Covid and all of its fun quarantine complications.

Sound about right?

I don’t know about you but every single June, I tell myself, “It’s going to be different this year. This summer is going to be the perfect summer.” But inevitably, Labor Day rolls around and I always find myself saying, “Wow, that sure went by fast. Where did it go? Did I even enjoy it? Oh well, maybe next summer.”    

Why oh why does it always go this way? 

Because expectations, baby. We expect (or hope, or even demand) that summer is going to be AWESOME. So when reality crashes in – kids, jobs, the world, life – we’re disappointed, frustrated, even angry. We pound our fists on the picnic table and scream, “But it’s summer!”

So how do we stop this predictable cycle?

First, we need to recognize that any time we have high expectations without a plan we’re simply setting ourselves up for failure.

What’s the antidote to the expectations game?

Setting intentions, getting realistic and enjoying what is.

We still have plenty of summer left this year so if you want to make some tweaks, ask yourself these questions:

*What do I want to experience, feel, or accomplish over the next couple months? Think about your relationships, work, self-care and celebrations. Ask your family the same. Get curious. Create some bucket lists – one for you and one for the family. You may be surprised to learn that your kids are more psyched for the backyard campout than they are for the vacation you’ve scrimped and saved for.

*What needs to happen to make this bucket list a reality? What’s doable? What do you need to plan? What do you need to say no to? What do you need to let go of?

*What support do you need to make the rest of the summer go the way you want it to? More help around the house from your family? Fewer expectations of yourself? More childcare so you can get some work done? Someone to remind you of what you want?

Pro tip (and this one is gold, if I do say so myself): Sometimes we’re so busy chasing the “dream summer” that we forget how amazing our life really is. So, take a moment before bed and scan your day to count your wins. That moment over breakfast when you made your tween belly laugh? That’s a win. The summer salad you made that brought you delight? That’s a win. Ice cream on the porch with the neighbors? That’s a win. Count them all – you may be surprised.

Here’s wishing you a summer filled with all the good stuff that makes summer special.

Photo by Bruce Christianson

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