Atlanta Blogger Mattie James Explains Why Summer Fridays Are So Important

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Simple summer pleasures are upon us. No matter what your job, summer is the season of FUN. But work does not wait for summer—unfortunately. With the bulk of the summer ahead of us (YAY!), we're teaming up with Old Navy to tap on-the-go moms across the country to find out how they squeeze more fun out of summer in their cities - while keeping that to-do list managed and inboxes at a minimum. 

SUMMER IN THE SOUTH

Atlanta-based blogger Mattie James dishes on how family time is extra important during this time of year. 

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How does your family “squeeze more fun” out of summer?

We really try our best to get outdoors and try new things. With little ones, it’s fun to look at things through their eyes.

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What are some of your favorite Atlanta Location memories or Location-specific summer traditions?

There’s something about Piedmont Park that’s so special in the summer. But we love going to the drive-in with our favorite snacks and watching movies together as a family.

As an entrepreneurial mom, there’s a lot of pressure to be plugged in and online. Why is it important for you to make family memories in the summer?

Being “on” for my blog and social followers is fun, but it’s a lot. My kids are the littlest they’ll ever be, so it’s important for me to step away intentionally, reduce my screen time, and allow myself to be present for memories that are really once in a lifetime. My oldest daughter is three years old, but this is the only time she’ll ever be a three-year-old in the summertime. That’s something to bask in.

Do you have any favorite summer traditions? What is your go-to activity for summer fun with the family?

The girls are still so little that we’re having fun creating our own traditions. So far, Friday is family day where we go out to eat or to the park after dinner to get some fresh air. Because our youngest is only months old, I’m excited to create traditions in the summers ahead. But so far, we take our Memorial Day party in our backyard pretty seriously.

Vacations are wonderful, but they can also be hard work to plan. Do you have any family vacay planning tips?

Make sure everyone who’s going on the vacation is on the same page. Vacations can mean different things to different people - parents want to relax, and kids want to see and do everything. Agree on what that balance is and outline the days of your vacation. But don’t plan too strictly that there isn’t any room for some spontaneity which is when really special moments happen.

What can the workplace do to help families inject more FUN into their summer?

Being more lenient about the amount time spent at work during that time of year. Days are longer in the summer thankfully, so half-day Fridays or having every other Friday off is generous. For those of us with families, it allows us to spend more time with them, which is when more vacations are planned, and kids are out of school.

When you’re not on PTO, how do you keep the family fun going at home in the summer?

Getting as much sun and fresh air as possible. Because I work from home, it’s easy for me to forget to go outdoors and spend quality time with the girls. Something as little as eating lunch or dinner on our deck is huge for family morale and creating sweet memories. If my preschooler is too antsy, I’ll have her grab her bike and helmet to ride in the front yard, or we’ll go on a treasure hunt in the backyard for an imaginary treasure. For really hot days, I’ll fill up her kiddie pool and blow bubbles while she’s in there to keep her entertained. Staying active even if for a short amount of time makes a huge difference.

What are your summer fun hacks?

I like to keep bubbles around. With little ones, a pack of bubbles from the dollar store can turn a regular schmegular summer afternoon into some summer fun for toddlers. I also like to keep popsicles or ice sandwiches in rotation in the freezer as well. Nothing like a cold sweet treat after basking in the sun.

What are your hacks to #SqueezeMoreFun for the family in the summer months? Let us know in the comments!

Are you thinking of making blogging a full-time job? Read Mattie's blog to learn how she did it.

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