Here’s what Kristen Hewitt’s two young daughters did on their first day of summer vacation this year.
“Lounged in our pj’s until 11 am, baked the girl’s pick ― chocolate chip cookie brownies, started an art project we never finished, then moved to the pool,” Hewitt wrote in a post on her Facebook page.
That’s it. Nothing scheduled, nothing planned. Just low-key, go-with-the-flow summer fun for her girls, ages 5 and 8. And that’s how it’s going to be the rest of the summer, Hewitt declared in an essay that is getting loud applause from other parents and has been shared more than 5,000 times.
“It’s so easy to be pressured by things we see on social. Ways to challenge our kids and enrich their summer,” she wrote.
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“But let’s be real – we’re all tired. Tired of chores, tired of schedules and places to be, tired of pressure, and tired of unrealistic expectations.”
Hewitt, 41, is a blogger, writer and sports reporter who covers the Miami Heat for Fox Sports Sun out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
For sure, she wrote, she had “big plans to be a ‘good mom’ this summer,” with chore charts, reading goals, daily letter writing practice and cursive classes.
“I was going to do homeschool activities, make Play-Dough from scratch and then go to the beach,” she told Us Weekly. “And then I realized I was tired. Like bone tired, and so were my girls.”
After the fun of that first laid-back day? “So instead of a schedule we’re doing nothing this summer. Literally NOTHING,” she wrote. “No camps. No classes and no curriculums. Instead, we’re going to see where each day takes us.”
Her daughters, she wrote, will get to pick what they want to do every day.
“It will include family time, too much TV, a few trips, lots of sunshine, some new roller skates, water balloons, plenty of boredom, rest, relaxation, and reading. (Because mama likes to read!),” she wrote.
She told Us Weekly she thinks other moms are just as tired as she is trying to keep up.
“Parenting isn’t a competitive sport, it’s a gift,” she told the magazine. “It feels like being a kid is a lost art, so I wanted to give our girls back their childhood. And give me the opportunity to just be present and savor this time with them.”
Her essay has earned high praise as it’s made the rounds through the blogging community and national spotlight. Hundreds of comments, mostly positive, have been left on her Facebook post.
“Might be my favorite blog post of all time!!!! Like a big old slice of parental permission pie!!! Bravo Kristen Hewitt!!!! Bravo!!” wrote one mom on Facebook.
“Sometimes ‘scheduling’ one’s summer filled with too many to do’s leaves the kids and parents too stressed and miserable,” wrote another Facebook commenter. “So hats off to those who let kids be kids. So break out those old blankets. I can see a fort being build out of the picnic table real soon!”
Wrote another mom: “I literally just breathed a sigh of relief. (It’s) as if you gave me permission to stop stressing over the load of things I was supposed to get done today.”
Parents magazine wrote that Hewitt speaks the truth when she says parents run themselves ragged trying to keep up with the latest Pinterest projects and summer camps. But it also noted some push-back she’s gotten from working moms.
Hewitt, who works from home, told one Facebook commenter that her daughters spent a week in vacation Bible school and that she brings in a babysitter twice a week.
“I get it, they don’t have the option to stay home like I do,” Hewitt told Parents. “But I do work from home, I have just crafted my schedule to work around our kids. This is what works for our family.”