Amanda Amanda is a married 30-something with three kids. She previously worked full-time as a clinical social worker in a homeless shelter for young mothers. She earned her masters degree while commuting to school and learned to share parenting and conflicting parenting styles with her husband. Now she is learning to manage her career, marriage, kids, and personal time. Amanda is also a writer, a continuously-trying-to-start-again runner, reader, cook, novice pianist, terrible housekeeper, and amateur juggler. She hates laundry. Contact Amanda by emailing

Before the kids were even out of school this year, I was making plans for summer. While friends of mine were busy designing elaborate schedules and making Pinterest-worthy Summer To-Do lists, I was stocking up on old-school Kool-Aid and doing planning of a different kind.

This Kool-Aid Summer, as I’ve called it, meant I wasn’t going to be scheduling every minute of our days.

Any plans would be written in pencil, but I was sure we’d find plenty of things to do. We’d have our adventures, but I went into summer with the sole intention of taking the pressure off.

I planned for an overnight summer camp, and I had visions of lazy beach days and visiting the library on rainy days. I also knew there’d be plenty of kicking the kids out of the house to play in the kiddie pool and ride bikes around the neighborhood.

Summer started with my son’s pee wee baseball team winning the city championship. The kids had the time of their lives at overnight camp, and they begged to go back next year and do the super session. We’ve been to a carnival (I won the tickets!), went to the beach several times, and put the Kool-Aid to good use.

With my kids being older now, I find myself realizing who I really am as a parent. I need time alone to recharge. I believe in teaching and then trusting my kids, and letting them explore on their own. I believe overnight summer camp should be a staple of childhood, if possible, and I encourage my kids to work out fights on their own.

I think kids should play outside, but when it’s rainy or too hot I see nothing wrong with Nickelodeon, Disney, or all-day Minecraft sessions. I love cooking and baking with my kids and am enjoying teaching them and letting them do things on their own. My son makes a pretty mean pancake now.

With summer in its final days, I declare this Kool-Aid Summer a success.

Camp gave us stories that will long be cherished, beach days have been relished, Kool Aid flowed freely, and my kids found a balance between screens and playing outside.

I don’t know how long these days will last before we hit the tween and teen years hard, but for now I’ve found my stride as a mom and my family is in the sweet space where childhood is golden and nothing is too hard right now.

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: Amanda