Fun-less Summer?

We are in survival mode with money at the moment. This isn’t intended to be a “woe-is-me-crying-poverty” post. It’s just that I was unemployed for almost a year and we’re still recovering, plus we have had some medical things this past year and we are just in, well, survival mode.

I think we are handling the strict budget confines fairly well but there always seems to be this guilt that creeps up from time to time about what we have done – or haven’t done – with our children.

Recently, I’ve made the mistake of looking at Facebook and saw all of the amazing trips, vacations and just general adventures my friends and their children embarked upon this summer.

  • Rock-climbing
  • Go-karting
  • Karate
  • Amazing camps
  • Disney vacations
  • Great Wolf Lodge
  • Overnight trips to the beach
  • Road trips in an RV
  • Camping near the ocean
  • European vacations
  • Family reunions
  • Vacations to visit family
  • Vacations with extended family
  • Cruises
  • Amazing museums
  • Water parks
  • Zoos
  • Carnivals
  • Bouncy house adventures
  • Family outings at sporting events

I’ve seen amazing upon amazing pictures of smiling kids exuding incredible FUN!!

Then, I feel the guilt. We didn’t take any trips or vacations. No camps or museums or even a Bronx Zoo membership this year. I didn’t even take them to a single carnival this summer.

This really hit me a few days ago when my oldest was heading back to school for 1st grade. I thought about him going into school and having all of the kids talk about their summer adventures, including all sorts of things listed above.
What is my poor, poor son going to say?

Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to stop feeling so pitiful. I stopped the melodrama and really thought about my kids’ summer.

We did do a a few things here and there:

  • We spent a few weekends at my parents’ house on the ocean (ok, Long Island Sound)
  • We spent many, many days at the condo pool including play dates with their buddies in the community
  • Lots of time on their bikes and just hanging outside, including hikes.
  • My kids had a few days here and there at Quassy – an amusement park that totally excites them at this age
  • We did an afternoon at Mystic Aquarium with some free tickets from my mom
  • They had a 2 day vacation in Maine (in a hotel because it rained like crazy) with their Mema and Pop-Pop
  • Before summer, we had a trip to upstate NY for an overnight stay in a hotel PLUS a mud run (that Andrew participated in)

They got to do this:

the "game truck" at a BBQ
the “game truck” at a BBQ

And this:


birthday party fun
birthday party fun

And this:

Pic by H. Robinson
Pic by H. Robinson

And this:

Pic by H. Robinson
Pic by H. Robinson

And this:

H. Robinson - Niantic, CT
H. Robinson – Niantic, CT

I guess we didn’t sit around and do nothing all summer. I actually think my boys had a decent amount of FUN this summer.

I think if we allow ourselves as the parents to see what they saw this summer instead of what they DIDN’T experience, we’d realize that they had a pretty great summer.

8 thoughts on “Fun-less Summer?

  1. We are on a serious budget, too, and I feel the same guilt for not giving Nora more “experiences.” But I try to remind myself that she’s two, probably won’t remember much of what we do right now anyway, so as long as I see her happy throughout the days, then I’m doing my job. I also try to take advantage of as much free fun as I can, which have been some of my favorite days this summer.

  2. Excellent, i believe kids just want you to be present with them in the moment. I’m sure there must be some research out there that supports this: rather than all the fancy things and experiences that kids would prefer quality time with parents without distractions. Sounds like your family had a beautiful and idyllic summer 🙂 I hope I can give my baby the same when she grows up.

  3. Great post. It has been an interesting summer here too with family health issues. I also had laproscopic knee surgery last week. Feeling bad that our son did not do everything but we did our best to make it fun. He did Lego Camp the last week of June and went to the Boys & Girls club for the summer. There was a trip to Beardsley Zoo, Mystic, play dates, riding bikes with kids in the neighborhood, 3 movies, family get togethers, museum visits, etc. Remember what you did and the memories you made for the kids.

  4. I love this post too. My husband lost his job and was out of work for almost 3 years. We lost everything (savings, life ins, health ins etc.)except our house. We did those simple things with the kids. We never talked about not having money. Kids aren’t as materialistic as adults can sometimes be. It taught us so much. We found out who our real friends were, we got closer to each other. I especially loved driving to the shore and letting the kids fill bags with shells and pretty stones. they were so happy, and my husband and I would get such a kick out of watching them, having so much fun, as if the beach was a candy store.

  5. Kids appreciate the little things and we adults tends to forget to just enjoy the time together. Great post to remind us to stop sweating the small stuff and look though a child’s eyes once in awhile . Sounds like a perfectly wonderful summer vacation that your kids will have lots of memories for a lifetime

  6. I love this post. why? because my parents had no spare money and we grew up in the labour government of the 1970 when inflation went through the roof. yet i look back at those summers as quite frankly the best years of my childhood. 🙂

Share Some Comment Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s