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5 Ways my family is embracing a throwback summer

Deborah Cruz-Beck is a SheKnows parenting expert and blogger at The TRUTH About Motherhood, which she calls a place of "humor, support, honesty and integrity." Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Let them be kids, and have an unscheduled, unprotected and un-hovered summer enjoying the sunshine, eating hot dogs and playing with the neighbor kids until the street lights come on.

Photo credit: Rod Walker/Photodisc/Getty Images

This summer it seems everyone is embracing the 1970s throwback summer. Believe me, I get it. I've been a mother for nine years, and since the moment I conceived our girls I've been trying my hardest to give my children the best childhood ever. I've been busting my ass buying all the correct (ever-changing) educational toys and videos, withholding electronics, providing technology and then limiting it.

I've been feeding all-organic, food-pyramid-appropriate, balanced, gluten- and dye-free this and that. They never leave the house without SPF 5000 and flotation devices on. I volunteer at the school, I join the school board and I drive to ballet and soccer and swimming. I attend ear-bleeding violin concerts. I do all this because I love the s*** out of my children and I want to give them the "best." But maybe the "best" is just to let them be a d*** kid and have an unscheduled, unprotected and un-hovered summer enjoying the sunshine, eating hot dogs and playing with the neighbor kids until the street lights come on.

Here are five ways that my family is embracing the throwback summer.

1. Play outside

Ride bikes, run, fly kites, lie in the grass and read. Watch the clouds and decipher what shapes they are. Roll down grassy hills and don't even worry about ants and ticks getting on you. Go to the pool, play in the sprinklers, jump in puddles, play hide and seek, build a clubhouse, swing and go to the park. Play tag until your legs collapse. My daughters told me that they liked the "play dates" they've been having with the neighbor girls and thought it was so cool because we didn't have to "plan" them. I told them that's because it's not a play date, it's just called playing.

2. Stay up past your bedtime

Watch outdoor movies, have campfires with s'mores, camp in the backyard and catch fireflies. Have your friends stay the night. When I was a tween, my best friend spent more nights at my house than at hers. Watch the stars for hours on end. Tell ghost stories. Sit on the front porch talking with friends til you're all so tired you can't keep your eyes open. Laugh until your stomach hurts.

3. Binge-watch your favorite movies... all day long.

School is hard work. The school year is scheduled to death and packed full of obligation, so sometimes you just need to spend the day doing nothing: watching reruns of the Brady Bunch, watching a John Hughes movie marathon, drinking Tang and eating Doritos. If it's raining outside, play in the puddles and look for the rainbows.

4. Eat what you want.

I am so sick of checking labels and paying $100 for a gallon of milk, grass-fed beef and gluten-free, no dyes, no sugar, raw this and that foods from the locally sourced co-op. I want bologna sandwiches, barbecue chips and Kool-Aid. I want to grill burgers while being serenaded by the children's laughter while they jump on the trampoline.

5. Use your imagination.

Create things like mud pies; no, the dirt won't hurt you. You don't even need hand sanitizer, you can just wash your hands when you come in the house before dinner. Heck, eat your hot dogs with dirty hands. Blow s*** up. Build forts and clubhouses and draw pictures. Sing at the top of your lungs, have a lemonade stand and a talent show. Use your imagination. Take pictures of everything and write it all down.

This is how my family is embracing the throwback summer. It's real and it's wonderful and sometimes letting go of a schedule and following your mommy heart is the best thing you can do for your children.

How are you rocking this summer with your kids?

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