As a “new” parent (at what point do I stop calling myself a “new” parent anyway!?), I now understand what I’ve heard families talk about all these years—time really does fly.

With another summer already upon us, I’m making a personal effort to slow down and be as present as possible when I’m spending time with my daughter (I know, I know, we’re all trying, all the time!). I find it so much easier to do this when the weather is beautiful and we’re outside together as a family.

This past weekend, we met up with a few friends at the JCC pool and I could not…stop…smiling. We snacked, we splashed, we socialized—and most importantly, we all took time out of our busy schedules to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life: sunshine, good friends, and happily splashing babies. Plus, being at the pool and keeping an eye on my kiddo meant I didn’t even have the desire to pull out my cell phone (…ok, I admit, I snapped a few cute pics). So, I was joyfully and willingly forced to be completely in the moment, soaking in the sun and every adorable facial expression.

If you need a little extra encouragement to slow down and get out of the house this summer, look no further. The J offers a variety of fun parent/tot classes and programs—encouraging you to have that special one-on-one time with your little one. Poolside Playdates happen every Friday from 10:00 am–11:30 am at the J baby pool. We set out snacks and invite community members with kids ages three and under to come play and mingle. It’s a super-easy way to arrange a playdate with friends or to meet new people. Registration is simple, you can even sign up the morning of. 

Childhood, and the rest of life, really does speed by. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to slow time down, even if it’s just for a little bit, and join me for some fun in the sun this summer.

Rachel Baum, Early Childhood Engagement Program Manager and mama to Maya (13 months)