It’s the first day of summer vacation and I am behind. My kids are slowly rolling out of bed, lazily slurping their way up onto the couch and zoning like zombies in front of the TV. It’s Day One and we’re turning into a family of sloths.

This is tough news for a person like me who is a bit of a do-er. I like a routine. I find comfort in a schedule. I am especially stimulated by a routine that includes a schedule.

It’s the first Monday of summer, there is laundry waiting to be folded in the middle of the living room floor, and I have yet to lay out any specific plans of growth or enrichment for my kids. Tiny voices are screaming in head right now. I’m not exactly sure what they’re saying, because they’re all screaming at the same time, but I think it’s something to do with how I was a much better parent last summer.

Last summer I was a parent with breast cancer. I was diagnosed in May, so when school let out, the worry and unease were quite acute. I was determined to keep my mind and my children’s minds busy every moment of every day. I decided to teach the almost-kindergartner to read, introduce the middle child to the elusive art of cursive, and set the oldest one on fire for the future with math facts.

Basically, we did school in the summer. We also got out of town as often as possible in an effort to out-run cancer. It was a great summer, if you don’t count the cancer.

This summer, I’m recovering from reconstructive surgery. I won’t be able to lift a bike into the back of the minivan or pitch a ball for another 4 weeks. My body needs to heal and I think my brain does too.

So this summer, I’m not going to try and be a superhero mom. I’m going to be a mom who tries to get a meal on the table once in a while, who reminds her kids to take a bath when they start smelling stinky, and who occasionally reads a book in front of her children so they don’t forget what one looks like. That’s it.

Oh wait. One more thing. Gratitude journals. We’ve started filling out tiny notebooks with 5 things we’re thankful for each day. Only we’ve been forgetting to do them most nights. So that’s going back on the list, because gratitude is important.

Oh yeah- I’m also going to make my kids separate that laundry on the floor. Not sure it’ll make their gratitude lists, but I’m certain it’ll make mine.

I hope you can let go of the should-dos and have-tos and just relax into a long lazy summer with the people you love. Remember, you’re as good of a parent when you have all your ducks in a row as when they’re sprawled all over the living room couch.