I admit it. I am seriously bummed that my girls’ overnight camp got canceled because of COVID. For, while I’ve missed them dearly when they’ve gone to camp before, it is also the only time all year that I have the house, my husband, and abundant time to myself.

Am I selfish for wanting that? Maybe.

That I feel I need that time so desperately brings up questions about how I can steal away more time for myself and for us as a couple even during non-summer months.

I am also bummed because THEY are bummed. My three girls miss their camp friends and their summer camp rituals, and while their camp is providing an online version of sorts of their programming, it’s just not the same.

As a full-time business owner, I’ve also had to make the tough decision to go on a “summer sabbatical” in order to be able to provide some enriching activities and creative, fun endeavors and adventures for the girls.

I’m lucky that my girls are quite independent and know how to make their own fun, but I also want to make sure their screen time is limited and that my teenager is not sleeping until 2 p.m. every day (it’s been known to happen).

It isn’t the summer we asked for. It isn’t the summer we wanted. But it can still be an amazing summer.

And so I’ve switched from the mindset of, “How can I run my business and take care of the girls at the same time?” to, “Let’s figure out to have some fun adventures in spite of this plague!”

And I started researching.

My first thought was to visit a museum. Unfortunately, here in Boston, many of them are still not open. So I dug a little further.

While some of our favorite outings in previous years have been to the Butterfly Place in Westford (closed) and the Museum of Science (closed), I realized deCordova might be open because it’s an outdoor sculpture museum. Bingo!

That was our first adventure, and it did not disappoint. The sculptures are magnificent, and there are cute little hiking trails along the way that kept my kiddos active and engaged the whole time.

Since we were in the area, we tried to get a walk in around Walden Pond, but because of social distancing measures where they only let in a certain number of people in at a time, we sadly couldn’t make it.

No worries. I pulled up my Starbucks app, ordered me and the girls some frappuccinos, picked them up curbside, and we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our day.

Other adventures we had during week 1:

  1. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary — beautiful wildlife and great easy to moderate hiking trails
  2. Charles River Canoe and Kayak — open, safe, fun, and active!
  3. Hale Reservation — hike
  4. Playing board games, baking banana bread, watching Inside Out (for the 14th time), and making slime (on the rainy day last week)

Honestly, my business has been my fourth baby for the last couple of years. I have tried to balance it between being a mom and running a household, often failing at both.

But the pandemic and all of its challenges have been a blessing in disguise. I’ve had more meaningful connections and adventures with my kids, helped them process their feelings of loss and grief, and, collectively, we have appreciated the more simple life.

It’s not the summer we asked for, but little did we know that this is the summer we needed.

Be safe and healthy, everyone!

Jenny Berk
Jenny is a crass and pushy (read = sweet) native New Yorker who has always had a penchant for New England, after attending Brandeis for 4 years, but especially so after meeting her husband Barry, who also happened to live in Boston. After marrying, and creating 3 awesome daughters - ages, 11, 8 and 6 - she and her husband moved to Needham and love it there! Jenny is a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, Mindful Eating Instructor and Wellness blogger. She loves writing about how Mom's can navigate and prioritize their health and positive body image after having children. When she's not trying to figure out how the heck to parent a tween, She can be found blogging at the Huffington Post, (healthy living section) and on her site www.jennyedencoaching.com. Heck yes! - mindfulness, kettlebells, body acceptance, yoga, traveling the word and eating decadent and unctuous (vegetarian) food. No way, man! - arthritis at 40, allergies to anything, animal cruelty, waiting in line.