Parenting, Summer

Just Say No to Summer Guilt

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Up here in Minnesota, we suffer through a long, cold winter season that is usually a minimum of 6 months long. At least it feels that way.

Sure, there are the people who truly love winter (I’m not one of them) but for the most part, the general consensus among Minnesotans is that we tolerate the winters in order to get to the glorious summers.

After months of below-freezing temperatures, the first hint of a day above 40 degrees prompts people to open their windows and break out their flip flops.

We yearn for summer, and when winter turns to spring and the weather warms up, we flock outside in groves.

It’s the sunshine after the storm.

Just Say No to Summer Guilt | Balance for the Guilty Minnesotan

Here Comes Summer Guilt

But a surprising phenomenon comes with the rise in temperature. I call it Summer Guilt.

Because we have such long winters, and our warm summer season is precious and short, there seems to be this constant sense of urgency in the summer. This urgency lets us know summer is fleeting, and it prompts us to feel like we need to make the most of it. These are good things.

But it also makes us feel like we need to be outside every single second that we can.

The Summer Guilt Reality Check

What happens when you’ve been working all day, and you want to relax on the couch awhile, but the sky is blue, the night is warm, and the bugs aren’t too bad?

What happens when you’ve been chasing kids all week, taking them to the beach, the park and the zoo, and you’re craving a low-key day at home, in the air conditioning?

What happens when the sun is out but you just really feel like staying inside and reading a book or taking a nap?

For me anyway, a strong feeling of guilt washes over me in times like this.

My mind says, “It’s nice outside! You must go outside! You’ve been waiting for weather like this all winter!”

Just Say No to Summer Guilt

While it’s true that I have been longing for warm summer days just like this, that doesn’t mean I have to spend every minute of every day outside. Sometimes, it’s ok to stay inside. Even if (shocking!) it’s nice outside.

The key is balance.

It would obviously be a terrible shame to stay inside all summer long. We truly do yearn for summertime; it’s what gets us through the cold, dark days of winter.

But at the same time, there’s no place for relentless summer guilt either.

Do you want to stay inside one day, and relax? Great. Do it! Go outside tomorrow, instead.

We all need to just say no to summer guilt. We’ve got too many things to do, too many adventures to have, and too little energy to waste.

Laura Radniecki | Up North Parent | Inspiring Thriving Families and Strong Communities | Brainerd, Minnesota

Laura is a motherhood blogger and photographer from the Brainerd Lakes Area in Minnesota. Her mission is to seek joy in the midst of motherhood, and encourage other mamas to do the same. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Matt, a mama to their firstborn son, Raleigh, and a dog-mama to their feisty 6lb toy poodle, Remy. She spends her days chasing after them, while daydreaming about naps, Dairy Queen, and donuts with sprinkles. She writes at

4 thoughts on “Just Say No to Summer Guilt

  1. I live in MN, too. Moved here 8 months ago. This will be my first MN summer. It seems to be slow coming. The weather has been cold! I love the loooong days. The sun is up forever here. I do feel like I should “do” something in the nice days b/c we haven’t had many of them yet. I will have s guilt Free Minnesota summer!

    1. Hi Sheila! Welcome to Minnesota! Yes, that’s one thing about Minnesota summers; they seem to take their time in coming! We have a few warm days and then some cooler days again! Hopefully now that the 4th is almost here, we’ll have some warm weather stick around for awhile. 🙂 Here’s to a guilt-free summer for all of us! xo, Laura

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