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How Can My Family Make the Most of the Last Weeks of Summer? 

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Oh summer, you're the vision of beauty! Romancing us with your promise of sunsets on the beach, breezy lakeside cottages, shady hammock naps and every other gorgeous thing pinned on that "Best Summer Ever" Pinterest board.

The dream of summer sees us through the relentless winter. When the school year finally ends, we blast out of the gates, crossing things off our bucket lists, one after the next. Berry picking? Check. Farmers market? Check. S'mores? Check.

But around the middle of July, something shifts: The summer we imagined in February collides with the summer we're actually having, and a new vision of our precious remaining summer days takes shape.

You know what my new vision is? Me, lying down, in a dark room, for 10 quiet minutes.

Turns out, summer is exhausting. I don't want to make any more popsicles, pack any more camp lunches or play "guess what this itchy rash is" anymore. Balancing our regular work lives and budgets with caring for and entertaining children every wide open day of their summer vacation makes us anxious. In fact, the Telegraph reports that a recent survey of 2,000 parents found that one in every four suffers from "FOSH," or "fear of summer holidays."

But it's not too late to take summer back. Forget that stupid Pinterest board, forget 80 percent of the things you planned to do. Let it all go. And then start again — realistically, this time. Why? Because wiping the summertime slate clean and getting real about what you actually have the time and resources for is a way of taking care of yourself. You can't do it all. You never could. None of us can.

The key to reimagining your summertime bucket list is reclaiming the time. Create a summer schedule for the remaining four (or so) weeks. Lifestyle blog A Blissful Nest has a free printable weekly calendar. Print it out and fill it in with what you already know is happening: your work hours, childcare, camps, trips, visitors, etc.

Then, take a step back and find the holes. Do you have any free evenings? A stray weekend or two? Ask yourself this: What do you want to do with that time? What can you afford? Maybe it's going to the drive-in, or checking out a new creemee stand. Maybe you can still take a day trip to the beach, or hit up the town pool. Make a new, parent pre-approved, realistic bucket list.

Then, put the calendar up where everyone can see it and, for each hole you found, let the kids choose an activity from the list. This way, everyone has buy-in on how to maximize what's left of summer, and you can rest assured that the last few precious days of the season won't break your back, or the bank.


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