Moms’ Summer Bucket Lists … for Themselves

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Image via Galit Breen

Summer is filled to the brim with family fun. The pool, the park, the picnics. But it's also a time when moms tend to refocus their Me Time to Family Time.

Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach Toni Coleman LCSW says, “Moms too often put themselves at the end of their priority list, that is, if they include themselves at all. Because women are nurturers, doing for others is a reward in itself. However, if a woman delays or ignores her own needs for too long, she risks getting burned out and resentful. A Summer Bucket List would be a great tonic for this. Life is slower, schedules open up, and she can use that time to do some things just for her and just because. Anything could be included from nights out with the girls to tennis lessons to an indulgent day at the spa. It would be all about her and a way to recharge those batteries and start the new school year truly refreshed and ready.”

I couldn't possibly agree more. So last year, I reclaimed summer as a Bucket List time for me, and it was glorious. Penning the fun and the care I wanted for myself forced my hand, quite willingly, to do just that–have fun and take care of myself.

This year, I asked five moms to share their Summer Bucket List items for themselves. You're going to love and be inspired by what they each came up with!

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Image via Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey is a correspondent for The Atlantic, a writer of the bi-weekly New York Times Motherlode column “The Parent-Teacher Conference,” and author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (August 2015).

The top three items on her summer bucket list FOR HER (and ONLY HER!) are:

1. “Complete a round trip to the summit of Smarts Mountain in Lyme, New Hampshire, in under three hours.

2. “Spend more time in my garden, letting my mind wander while I pluck weeds.

3.” Celebrate finishing a year's worth of writing and editing a book project by not working at all for seven days straight. I don't think I've ever done that.”

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Image via Jamie Krug

Jamie Krug is a writer, wife, and stay-at-home-mom of two preschooler–with a full-time job as the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) of her family.

The top three items on her summer bucket list FOR HER are:

1. “Get a massage … without the self-imposed “Mommy Guilt.” The first part is easy–it's the latter part where I find myself struggling mightily. I comprehend from the logical perspective how important it is to take care of myself and how that translates to having the best version of myself available for my family, but that hasn't yet successfully translated to the emotional side of the equation for me.

2. “Really allow myself to sit back and soak up BlogHer, the writing conference I'm attending in July. Last year, I felt so guilty for being away from my family for four days and so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of places to go and people to meet that I pretty much just went through the whole thing in a daze.

3. “Finish writing my book. Push away the fear and the self-doubt and the fear and the perfectionism (and have I mentioned the fear?) and allow myself the incredibly unique opportunity to become my own Fairy Godmother by granting my own wish.”

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Image via Lisa Allen

Lisa Allen is mom to three extraordinarily ordinary young people. She blogs at Back to Allen and Single Mom Travels.

The top three items on her summer bucket list FOR HER are:

1. “Road trip to Rochester, New York. I know at first glance this might seem like a kid bucket-list entry, since my oldest will be starting at the University of Rochester in August, but I promise you, it's about me and not him. He's ready to move to the campus, sight unseen. I'm itching to take a road trip and stop at cool places in between–revisit my favorite place along Lake Michigan in Chicago, catch a Royals/Tigers game in Detroit, and get wet at Niagara Falls–before spending a few days in Rochester. The last time I took a road trip of this magnitude, I was fresh out of college, so I think it's time!

2. “Embrace the sweat. I tend to become even more of a hermit in the summer because I absolutely hate the heat. But this year, my body is craving daily walks and the high I feel after a fantastic yoga workout. Plus, moving my body is good for my mind, and my creativity spikes when I'm doing something other than sitting on my backside.

3. “Hit the trail. I've stocked a few extra bottles of wine to enjoy at home, but I'd really love to combine my love of travel and that of wine. Missouri has wine trails I've not yet traveled, and I read about the trails in Texas that I feel are calling my name.”

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Image via Cara Paiuk

Cara Paiuk is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Kveller, and many others. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, toddler son, and twin daughters.

The top three items on her summer bucket list FOR HER are:

1. “We just bought a house, and I want to create a little corner of it just for me to read, relax, make a long overdue phone call with a dear friend, or just have a quiet cup of coffee.

2. “My twins have finally self-weaned, so I would like to go away for a night (or two) and eat well, play hard, and sleep soundly.

3. “I want to put on a little eyeliner every day. It really makes me look better, and then I feel bette,r and I haven't put on makeup daily in years. It's time to look a little pretty every day.”

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Image via Jessica Null Vealitzek

Jessica Null Vealitzek blogs at True STORIES and is the author of the coming-of-age novel The Rooms Are Filled.

The top three items on her summer bucket list FOR HER are:

1. “Road trip it from Chicago to Portland, Maine, with my sister in August.

2. “Spend more time writing for me; that means immersing myself in a new novel with no strict plan, no structure, and no outline–no ‘shoulds.'

3. “Go on a walk outside every day, even if it's just around the block, so I can see nature, even if it's just the trees lining the street.

{ MORE: 8 Ways I've Changed Over 8 Years As a Parent }

What are the top three things on your summer bucket list just for you?

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What do you think?

Moms’ Summer Bucket Lists … for Themselves

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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