Classic case of the grass is always greener…
When I was a single mom working full time, not much changed when school let out for summer. I still had to have the kids in bed at a decent time, we all still had to wake up at the ass crack of dawn, I still packed lunches and we were still out the door by 8am 5 days a week. Only difference was I would drop them both at the daycare instead of the older one at school. I would daydream on the drive to work about having summers off. I longed to spend those lazy summer days with them and I was so so envious of all the stay at home moms who were able to. But, I had a mortgage and bills to pay and I was always blessed with a decent job that provided, so I tried to focus on that. It was not always easy though.
Fast forward to present. I do work part time and a couple side hustles, but gratefully consider myself a stay at home mom. And here we are, mid-June, just about to plunge into 10 glorious weeks of freedom. No more pencils, no more books, no more homework, no more packing school lunches… 10 weeks of blissful summertime laziness. A well deserved break from all the structure and school year craziness. We just have to get through all of the end of year parties, concerts, award ceremonies and banquets and then we are in the clear.
On this end of the break I tend to envision 10 weeks of quiet early morning jogs while the kids sleep in, picnic lunches at the park with mini triangle sandwiches and ice pops on a red and white checkered blanket, afternoons at the pool smelling of sunscreen and chlorine, burgers and corn on the cob for dinner, chasing fireflies barefoot in the backyard at dusk, s’mores over the fire pit, and smiling pink-cheeked children freshly showered and exhausted from another perfect summer day climbing under crisp white sheets at 9pm for 12 hours of rejuvenating sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
So, let me break this down for you. That summertime fairytale lasts until about 7am on day 1 as I am trying to sneak out of the house for that run and the freaking dog starts barking at the sound of the front door opening, which in turn wakes my children up. “I’m hungry” will likely be the first words I will hear on the first official day of summer vacation.
Ok, so I push my run back a few minutes to throw some frozen waffles in the toaster oven. NBD. Breakfast is made and the kids are happily watching some annoying youtube family play hide and seek in target. They promise to be quiet and not wake up the sleeping teenager or bother the working from home hubby while I’m running. Off I go, hopeful to get at least 30 minutes in before they try to kill each other, but inevitably the texts start rolling in before I finish one lap. I guess half a mile is better than nothing. I’ll plan better tomorrow…
Whatevs, I shake it off and remind myself that we’re going to enjoy a fun afternoon at the pool with friends! But, after the pool-prep (packing 16 bags of towels, snacks, water bottles, first aid kit, sunscreen, snacks, goggles, snacks and 11 changes of clothes) and then lathering everyone up with sunscreen, which may or may not eventually cause cancer, I am already exhausted…and excuse me, but WHY are these two arguing about where they got their bathing suits from?! I break it up and we pack up the car. As we drive to the pool I gently remind them not to ask me for a play date or -god forbid- a sleepover in front of their friends. We trudge our excessive supplies to the pool, find a nice spot to set up, reapply sunscreen, just in case, and are finally ready for summer vacation mode to kick in.
AH, yes, 15 minutes of relaxation while they take turns with their friends jumping off the diving board. THIS is what it’s all about. But then they want me to “watch THIS! MOM!!” and “MOM! JudgeTHIS on a scale of 1-10” and “MOM! MOM! MOMMMMMM!!! Take a video of THIS”…
Eventually they work up an appetite and start begging for money for the snack bar. I remind them, sweetly at first, that we packed 800 snacks from home, but “EVERYONE ELSE” is buying ice cream sandwiches and nachos with cheese-wiz… FINE! But only this time. From now on we will only eat the snacks we pack. I hand over $10 (the only cash I have).
We reapply sunscreen for the 3rd time and they spend a while splashing and playing with their friends. At 4:30 I call “Let’s go girls, it’s time to go home to shower and get ready for dinner!” just to get “can Katie sleep over??!!” as a response. Seriously?… I manage to leave with only my own children and not much of a fuss because thankfully they do know how to act in public (1 point for me) but they both melt down on the way home about how mean I am. I didn’t realize I was the ONLY mom who ALWAYS says no. Also, they are both burnt to a crisp. How they managed a sunburn through 16 layers of SPF 200 is beyond me. And, is that seriously the freaking ice cream man right now? It’s 5:00 Mr. Freezy! WTF is wrong with you?
By mid-July I will be polishing up my resume looking for leads for a full time job, not only to escape my kids but to fund these summer camps. Who can afford these things? Especially with multiple children. $400 for a Monday through Thursday half day camp? I’ll tell you what, for $400 a week you better pick my kid up at 6am Monday morning and not return her until Friday at 6pm.
I read a lovely blog a while back about how we only have 18 summers with our children. It was very powerful and whenever I think about it, I want to change my attitude and adjust my expectations so I can fully experience these precious moments. And there ARE indeed many precious moments. I adore my children and it is not lost on me that my time with little children is fleeting. I don’t want to wish time away. I simply want my kids to not be annoying.