Wisdom from Diapers to Diplomas

Ruining Summer Fun: Can’t My Kids Just Sell Some Damn Lemonade?


My kids asked me this week if they could have a lemonade stand. My first reaction was “YES!” and I was excited at the thought of them earning their own money and learning a little about the value of work. I remember doing summer lemonade stands as a kid without any help from my parents, and I was happy they wanted to have the same experience.  And then reality hit.  You know the reality I’m talking about; the one with sanctimommies and rules and hovering and, and, and suddenly the thought of holding a kid’s lemonade stand went from being super sweet to super sour. 

Remember when setting up a lemonade stand looked like this?

1. Drag the card table your grandma uses for bridge club out to curb.

2. Find Dixie Cups in pantry.

3. Add envelope of yellow powder plus 4 cups of sugar and tap water to orange Tupperware pitcher.

4. Use banana-scented marker to scribble “Lemonade $.25” on poster board.

5. Sell lemonade.

6. Keep all profits to spend later at the roller skating rink.

Ahhh, those were the days.

This is what setting up a kid’s lemonade stand looks like now…

1. Petition local government in January for summer beverage selling license. Because regulation.

2. Take food manager certification class from your local Department of Health. Because germs.

3. Meet with neighborhood association events committee to reserve street corner, and review sign size regulations. Because grumpy old people.

4. Purchase case of organic lemons from local co-op, because farm to table ONLY, duh! Juice some, use some to make chemical free toiler cleaner, and ferment some. Because Kombucha.

5. Acquire non-GMO, sustainably farmed raw sugar, filtered spring water from the depths of the Alps, and mix into a non-BPA Italian made glass pitcher.

6. Purchase biodegradable cups, which when planted, will blossom into…wait for it….lemon trees.

7. After scrolling Pinterest for 12 hours, decide to make “lemonade sale” banner from foraged wooden plates and vegetable dyed inks. Hand sew a tablecloth from thrift store yellow curtains, and monogram lemonade themed aprons for kids. Because clearly, time has stopped in your life.

8. Advertise upcoming lemonade stand on five different social media channels, and trademark ‪#‎lemonadestand‬ obviously.

9. On day of sale, schedule kids to work in short increments only, because child labor laws, sunscreen limits, and there’s no wifi out there in the street.

10. Sell lemonade only to people you are friends with on Facebook, because the internet will find out if you sell to a stranger and you will be investigated and shamed for eternity.

11. Instagram every transaction with your now trending hashtag.

12. Keep none of the profits. Zero. Zilch. But that’s OK, because after licenses, classes, ingredients, lawyer fees, and some common core math, you realize you’re in the hole $500 after sale.

Oh, summertime. Can we go back to when it was fun?