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Summer survival, I’m learning, is all about lowering expectations. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that:

Step One: Adopt these three simple mantras.

1. I can’t care about everything.

2. Done is better than perfect.

3. That’s not MP (my problem), that’s YP (your problem).

Step Two: Apply one mantra to every.single.situation that presents itself. That’s it.

Nutella for lunch again? $22 in video downloads? 6 kids for lunch and only 4 hot dog buns? I can’t care about everything.

Laundry clean but not folded? Towels *almost* dry for swim team? Health form filled in literally as you’re walking in to camp? Done is better than perfect.

Can’t find your goggles? Your sunglasses? Your lax stick? Your other sneaker? Your towel? You don’t like this dinner that I made for you from scratch? Your room isn’t clean so you can’t have more screen time? There’s nothing to do? That’s not MP, that’s YP.

See? Three simple mantras. It may be harsh, it may even feel unkind at times, but I truly believe that when we solve other people’s problems for them, we are doing them a grave disservice. When we try too hard and care too much about everything, we can’t possibly be that good at anything. My mantras are about more than simple survival, they are actually small acts of charity. And the biggest beneficiary of that charity is me. After all, if you can find your own goggles and open your own water bottle, there is nearly no reason at all for me to put down my book and get off of this beach chair.

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