Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

A Working Mom’s Summer Bucket List

This summer is proving to be  quite stressful for me already. It’s been years since I’ve had to do anything work related in the summertime, so some of the most simplistic and rewarding experiences seem so far out of reach for me. To complicate matters, my girls are at an age where fun activities will be remembered, and we don’t need to carry around a giant diaper bag and bulky stroller everywhere we go. As a result, the mommy-guilt is really building, and I’m searching for something to connect me most meaningfully to the ones I love most and get some much-needed me time.

The following list of ten things I want to do this summer will surely make me feel like a real person, not just some robot working non-stop. I promise to write a blog entry that creatively recalls each experience.

  1. Dance with my girls under the stars in the backyard. My girls love being outside, and they never get to do it at night. Similarly, they love my dancing (maybe they’re the only two people on earth who find it “good,” so why not combine the two?) Dancing naked under a full moon is a bit much, but fully clothed with Luther Vandross pumping in the background sounds great.
  2. I bet they have a nice, clean basement for their four-legged friend over there! (Property of M. McCottrell)

    Clean out my basement. I could lie and say that my basement does not look like Fred Sanford’s front yard, but I’m not willing to take the chance of that lightening bolt hitting me. Let’s just say that cleaning it out will take days, and I need to make that happen soon. My dog needs his space back because his sleeping next to my side of the bed is going to result in a broken bone or two because I keep forgetting he’s there.

  3. Send flowers to someone who deserves it but doesn’t expect it.
    There’s something really special about receiving flowers randomly, and sometimes, we need to extend special gifts to special people. It is a thoughtful and relatively inexpensive way to say “I love you.”
  4. Logo used until 2011.

    Not tonight, baby. Put on something fancy! Logo used until 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Go on a real date with my husband (no jeans or shorts allowed). Red Lobster, although the cheddar biscuits are sinfully delicious, after church because I forgot to thaw out that chicken last night and am too lazy to cook anything else is not my idea of a real date. I love him, and he loves me, and sometimes we need to get away sans kids to talk, flirt, and reconnect without taking short people to the potty 8 times during dinner.

  5. Downtown Chicago (Image from

    Go shopping downtown. I really should be ashamed of myself. I live in this great city and never experience it like a tourist. This summer, I’m going to eat an overpriced quarter-pounder  at a restaurant that isn’t a national chain and buy some clothes at a cute little boutique.

  6. Get a massage. I don’t really like strangers touching me, but my girlfriends swear that a massage might do me some good. I’ve never had one from a professional (sorry, honey, you’re great, but keep your day job), and I think I’m ready to try it. Do I have to be naked, though? The idea of that really freaks me out. And do I have to shave, or can I just go au naturel (me in all my hairy glory)? Can you see why I’ve never had one before?
  7. Write children’s stories with my girls as the main characters. I’m going to be away from my girls longer than I have ever been for a business trip, and I’m already feeling bad about it. I really want them to have some words from Mommy keeping them company at bedtime, so I want to write some stories for them.
  8. Spoil my niece and nephew for a couple of days.  It’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them in the flesh, and I want to make up for that time in a big ol’ your-mom-and-dad-are-going-to-be-glad-when-I-leave kind of way. Get ready!
  9. A nice, safe distance for fireworks viewing (from

    Take my girls to a fireworks display. If you know me very well, you know that fireworks scare the bejesus out of me. Not like the weird lady on Maury screaming when they brought out the cotton balls kind of scared, but the “no-I’m-not-going-and-you-can’t-make-me” kind of scared. (I do have my dignity, dammit!) But my fear should in no way deprive my girls from something they may really enjoy. Plus, we don’t have to be in the front row to get the full effect. Many yards away can still be fun (and safe).

  10. I wonder if everyone will know my name. (from

    Go to a bar for no reason at all. I’m not a drinker, but my husband often complains that he wishes that I would go to a bar with him just to hang out. He feels slighted when I go to a bar for a friend’s party but refuse to go with him just because it’s Thursday and he wants a drink with his wife. I just hope the people are funny like those on Cheers and not crazy like those on [insert reality show of choice here].

Things I’ve considered adding to my bucket list but really just annoy or petrify me:

  • Set up a Facebook or Twitter account. No I don’t have either and would rather not have one more thing to obsess about this summer. What’s my status? I don’t really give a damn. Plus, I don’t really want to lie to you or myself by pretending to be your friend.
  • Take a trip to an exotic locale. Let’s be real. I don’t have the money to go to Milwaukee, so Bali is completely out of the question.
  • Take a photography class. Although I would love this, I don’t have time to devote to this right now and even the “good” cameras at Wal-Mart make we want to slap the workers when I read the price tags.
  • Buy some new gym shoes. So I’ve had my sneakers since college and they are broken in just right. I’m not sure that kind of comfort occurs in newer models. And shoe shopping gives me no joy. I always have to try them on (damn my in-between feet), and then I start thinking about all the other feet that tried them on too, and feet are like genitals (well, not that bad but close): I don’t want to put mine where yours have been.

Any summer plans for you?

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