Summer MUSTS for Moms with Littles

"Summer MUSTS for Moms with Littles" by Kelly Pease (

Photo: (2016) via stocksnap, CC.

I’ll make this short because I have to get back to my very important list of Summer Must-Do’s. By the end of the school year, I was Done with a D. No one describes it better than Jen Hatmaker. I found myself sobbing in the parking lot of a Walgreens (in the arms of an innocent bystander at that!) because my kid was throwing a tantrum and no one was sleeping well and we were late for school and I forgot that it was my snack day again and we were all just. so. done.

Sweet summer couldn’t come soon enough. But I know that as welcome as it is, it can also be a little overwhelming—not a lot of structures to hold to and LOTS of empty spaces to fill. That’s my description of a happy place, but I know that’s not the case for all personalities.

So let me gift you with my very important (Jesus-Inspired) list of summer MUSTS:

  1. Sleep well.
  2. Eat well.
  3. Pray.
  4. Play.
  5. Read.

And there you have it, folks. It is that simple.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I really feel like the Lord put this on my heart and it is opening up worlds in my home. In that end-of-the-school-year-done-ness, I found myself managing my life before experiencing it, a thought I conceptualized from a good friend whose podcast I highly recommend. There was not a lot of feeling going on.

But how could there be? We come to these places in mom-life where there really isn’t much else we can do but manage. Gotta keep the laundry going. Gotta get to the grocery store. Gotta study for the spelling tests. Gotta get some teeth-brushing in at some point this week (just me?).

I was on an end-of-the-school-year mission to snap a few pictures of my kids with teachers, checking things I knew I should do off of the list, when I walked up to my son’s class to find his (unbelievably amazing) teacher who had the kids lined up on the sidewalk, ready to watch the release of the butterflies they had been raising. You’ve never seen a group of first-graders more excited with anticipation. As the lid came off, the first butterfly just darted up into the blue sky and God halted me in my management tracks. Right then and there I was feeling it all.

Feeling the fact that my first-grader is a first-grader no more, the fact that my daughter grew into a big girl this year…you’ve posted the first-day and last-day pictures…you know what I mean. There’s a sinking feeling you get when you look at those and really feel them, huh? The passing of time doesn’t slow.

Or does it? I want to send Ann Voskamp a thank-you note because she taught me something in A Thousand Gifts that I will take to my grave:

The only way to slow time is to practice intentional gratitude for every small thing; all these 1,000 + gifts that God is bestowing on any given day.

Butterflies flying=Feeling it all=Slowing time.

So I hereby retire from my management position and commit to feeling my life first. Sure, management has to happen, but I won’t let it take priority over experiencing the beauty of this life that God is giving me right now in this moment.

Hence, my summer musts—none of them difficult or complex—I’m not saying we are having fancy feasts every night or reading Tolstoy. I’m flipping homemade pancakes and starting Charlotte’s Web. What am I not focusing on? Having a pristinely clean house or getting to every camp and event. There shall be no FOMO in my life for these kids.

This summer, I’m feeling my life, slowing time by experiencing these simple things and giving thanks for them while they are here. That’s what summer is all about. Kids in a water hose, popsicles in the yard and that one customer who stopped for lemonade: now that’s a business I can manage.


Copyright Kelly Pease 2017


About Author

Kelly Pease is a wife and mother to three kids. She is an accomplished musician with several albums of original music. Kelly has traveled for the past ten years, sharing the story of God’s faithfulness in her life. She has worked closely with LifeTeen, Franciscan University, Adore and Dirty Vagabond Ministries. She lives in Louisiana and writes about the wild world of new motherhood.


  1. Diana Bouch on

    Thank you Kelly! I love your list of summer inspired things to do… I will remind myself of them more this summer and through weekends when time permits. I’m reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and she reminds her readers of letting go of all the demands we impose on ourselves and focus more on living in the present life, that is what really matters most. Have a great summer!

  2. What a sweetfully true post. I was so excited to see the name Kelly Pease at the bottom of this article. I have found memories of Steubenville south conferences listening to Kelly Pease and bringing that experience home with her cd’s, and singing her songs in our church. “With these words” plays in my head at mass so often.

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