Bunch of kids playing tug of war

Summer, Work, & Rucking

Before we dive into what the heck is rucking, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: summer. Summer is a great time to get out, see the world (or your backyard), and enjoy your time. But, as an adult – more specifically, as a parent – summer isn’t what it was when we were kids. Adults have responsibilities, obligations, and varies things that tie us to a time and place. How do you still enjoy summer with these ties?

Today, my friends, we will grapple with these questions:

  • What is summer to a parent?
  • How do you do work at home with a house full of kids?
  • And, lastly, what the #$%^ is rucking?


Meme from movie Braveheart where Mel Gibson is yelling Freedom!

When I was a kid, summer was about freedom. Not absolute no-parents-run-wild-Lord-of-The-Flies freedom but no school, no homework, no real schedule, and imagination unbound. I’d play most of the day with my friends, creating elaborate stories that would last for days like massive novels. We had the time to be able to do that in the summer. Summer wasn’t a hurry-up-and-get-things-done kind of time. It was a slow burn.

But I’m not a kid anymore. More so, I have kids. As the Primary (that’s what I call the parent who spends the most amount of time with the kids), I could take the same approach with my kids: freedom. I could throw out everything that we’ve stuck to over the school year and just let whatever happens happen. I could engage my kids in massive storyline play events that last for days. I could just let my kids run wild.

Two problems with that:

  • I need to make money so we can have food, shelter, clothes, etc.
  • My kids need a schedule.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my kids, they need structure. Whether minimal or more strict, they need it. They need to know what is happening next. They need an element of control over their lives. While summer gives us the freedom to adjust the intensity of the structure from day to day, it still needs to be there.

Also, I need to work. Even trimming my business back, I still need to find clients, do work, and make money.

So run-wild summer goes out the window.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Using a flexible schedule, summer can be a controlled time of free play and learning. We can try new things and explore different ideas. During the school year, the kids are married to a curriculum that has an end goal written into it. In the summer, we can find new things to investigate and find hidden talents.

The end goal is a summer well-spent.

All play and no work makes Ray a crazy boy

Image from The Shining where Jack Nicholson sticks his head through the crack that he's made in the door.

Whether I like it or not, I need to work. I’m a goal-oriented person. I thrive on making and achieving goals. Work has naturally become the perfect vehicle for me to achieve goals. Even when I’m not working, I create work. It’s just who I am.

Yet, doing work when kids are around can be a little difficult.

For me, work is creating marketing, social media, and web content for my clients. I build websites, optimize social media, and create branding content. This is something that I stumbled into and, obviously, suits my current situation in that I can work around complex schedules. I don’t have to drive to work every day and everything is done on a computer.

I work from home.

Hence, my dilemma.

I’ve been working on this blog post for the better part of two hours off and on while I shepherded kids through breakfast, their chores, and doing some schoolwork (we’re working on various school workbooks every day to keep our minds in the game). The schedule that my wife and I built gives me space to squeeze work in. Then I go off and play with my boys or we go to an event. In the afternoon, there’s more time for them to read a book or watch some TV while I do some work. Then, at night, I get the meat of the things done that I need to get done.

All in all, I get work done and feel content.

And a content parent is a happy parent.


Image of people rucking together.

Lastly, I have started rucking. As I walk around the town with my kids (we are being very eco-friendly this summer and walking everywhere), I wear a backpack that weighs about 20 lbs. Rucking as an activity lifts the idea from the military of wearing heavy gear and going for long walks. Strapping a backpack full of a weight that’s about 10% of your body weight and going on hikes/walks, you not only burn more calories than a normal walk, but also build muscle. Your body has to compensate in many different ways for the extra weight, forcing you to use muscles that you normally don’t use.

Check out this article from Men’s Health about rucking: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/top-fitness-trend

Let me tell you, it’s a heck of a cardio workout.

Sure, people look at you strangely because you’re walking around with a big backpack. Honestly, if they saw the bags of flour I have inside of it, they’d probably think I was crazy. I don’t really care: I’m getting a good workout and, to be honest, it’s pretty handy to have everything you might need while out with three kids.

I should have done this years ago when I had to carry a diaper bag.

My foray into rucking is paving the road to other things. As I wind down my recent running adventures (I still have another half marathon to run in September), I plan to try new events like obstacle courses. Rucking events, especially those created by GoRuck (http://www.goruck.com/), look like events that I could really get behind. Their events require strength, determination, and endurance. I’m going to need to train hard to get into the condition I want to be to compete.

Basically, work.

Good thing I like work.

And good thing I have all summer to do it.

Have a good summer folks!