38 things I want to do this summer—without my kids

I need to make time for adult summer activities, because I have to fill my cup too (with rosé, perhaps?).

38 things I want to do this summer—without my kids

The first time I went on vacation the summer after my son was born I realized something that never really sunk in before: Oh wait, this is exactly like being home, except someone comes in once a day to clean our hotel room (which, don't get me wrong, is still very very amazing).

I'm a mom at home and a mom at the resort too, tropical locale or not.

My son didn't know we were supposed to sleep in on vacation. Or stay up late drinking too many margaritas (or in his case, watered down apple juice). He didn't realize we should have quiet time in the afternoon for catching up on Instagram or digging into a good book, or lazily try to figure out which new museum to explore or store to check out to kill some time before dinner.

I love my child more than anything in the world, but he doesn't know how to vacation. He just can't hang. And that's okay.

I want to enjoy summer and soak up every magical moment with him that I can, but I also know that as an imperfect human, as a random run-of-the-mill lady who needs to do stuff that's fun for me not just as a mom, I need to make time for adult summer activities, too. Because I have to fill my cup too (with rosé, perhaps?).

So, here's my summer bucket list full of non-kid-friendly activities. Because mama needs a break:

By myself

1. Sleep in until 11 am. Or wait, noon. (Who do I think I am?)

2. Read three non-picture books. One preferably with a shocking twist.

3. Spend too much time painting my nails.

4. Try a new shade of lipstick (something bright? Maybe coral?)

5. Eat ice cream without having to share

6. Walk around without a purse, or extra snacks, or extra bottles of water

7. Take a nap in the sun

8. Ditch my phone for 12 hours

9. Get a massage

10. Go for a bike ride without any specific destination

11. Go somewhere I've never been and explore on my own

12. Self-care-palooza: haircut, man/pedi, the works

13. Get a new tattoo

With my husband

14. Go on a mini-adventure: hiking to find a waterfall, finding a random swimming hole, or even just a regular day trip somewhere a little far from home

15. Skinny. Dipping.

16. Rent a scooter or a jet ski

17. Stay up past midnight, perhaps enjoying a cocktail or, you know…

18. Cuddle by a bonfire, celebrate with s'mores

19. Have a picnic of just cheese + wine

20. Watch a free movie in the park

21. Go kayaking together and get lost for an afternoon

22. Go to the drive-in

23. Cook or bake something complicated and enjoy it together

24. Learn how to surf together

25. Sit out in the yard and star gaze

26. Split a banana split

27. Slow dance together

With my friends

28. Have a weekend away

29. Wear those ridiculously creepy face masks and take selfies

30. Find a new favorite brunch place

31. Try out a cooking class, or sewing, or flower arranging

32. Go to a baseball game

33. Visit a winery (or three)

34. Go bowling

35. Rock coordinating swimsuits

36. Do touristy-things unapologetically

37. Go to a concert and sing loudly along

38. Talk all night until the sun rises

What's on your list?

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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