Summer is freaking here. We’ve got our flip-flops ready, epic road trips planned, and a deep desire to live it all up. We all know, after seeing back-to-school commercials the day after the 4th of July, that we’ll all want to kick the summer fun into high gear while trying not to go into panic mode about fitting it all in. Although this never goes over well, every year I fall victim to the “do it all” summer mentality.
But not this year.
I want the lazy, bored summers I had as a child back. And in order to do that, I’ve realized, instead of doing things, I need to not do things.
1. I won’t feel guilty if my kids are bored.
I say this every year, but then the guilt takes over and I get in their face to try to “un-bored” them. This doesn’t work and only makes me more mad because instead of taking my suggestions about making a blanket fort, going outside to play, or enjoying the damn road trip I planned to banish the boredom, they still complain about how fast their life is going in the shitter because there is nothing to do.
I am going to take my chances this summer and let them solve their own boredom puzzle. They will realize, once and for all, they are not going to be damaged if they aren’t constantly entertained or if we don’t have plans every damn day of the week.
2. I will not, under any circumstances, go camping.
It makes me feel dirty. I don’t sleep well on the ground and yes, I’ve tried those stupid ass cots. I like the outdoors and enjoy a hike every now and again, but when it comes to living outside for a few days, I’m out. Full stop.
The indoors have a lot to offer and I start to miss home like a drunk college girl misses her ex-boyfriend the first Friday post-breakup. I adore running water, private bathrooms, and bugs not flying up my nose while I’m burning a weiner over an open flame my kids won’t stop throwing shit into. Air conditioning is orgasmic. And listen, I need to sleep in a bed in order to function on a reasonable level.
We can toast marshmallows in the yard. My kids can pitch a tent and play in there all day, then I’ll bring the damn thing inside and they can sleep in there for the evening to get a taste of the experience. Anything to keep myself from packing up the car to be uncomfortable in the great outdoors for the weekend without a bathroom, WiFi, and microwave.
I don’t care what you think of me. I’ll be over here loving my non-roughing it summer.
3. I will not feel guilty about taking my kids for ice cream on the regular.
I’m not talking about going out a few times during the season. No way. My family has ice cream running through our veins and we need to stay replenished. I’ll feed them ice cream for breakfast if I want — they offer waffle cones for a reason. And if I’m worried they aren’t getting enough protein, a squirt of peanut butter sauce, or extra nuts should set them straight.
I know it’s not good for them. I know how much sugar is in it. I also know this makes up for the fact I won’t take my kids camping (see #2), and I’m gonna go with it.
4. I will not fret about the summer slide.
My kids can slide if they want to. In the past, I’ve given too many damns about this. I end up in tears, my kids get so pissed off about not having a break, and their brains don’t absorb the work anyway. I never remember having to practice math facts or read 100 pages a night when I went to school in the olden days and I got a college degree and everything. Functioning just fine over here, thank you very much.
My kids not only hate doing school work during the summer, they hate me for making them do it. I want my kids to like me this summer and I want to like my life better. Not making them do school work, unless they choose to, is how we are going to play.
5. I will not enjoy every moment.
I’m not going to do any “soaking it all in.” I will accept the good moments because, of course, there will be some, but I am not going to have unrealistic expectations about how amazing it is to have my kids home (and up my ass) every god forsaken second for over two months straight. Please.
My love for my kids is fierce but my love for my sanity is fiercer. If I tell myself to enjoy every moment, I’m going to fail. If I try to manufacture magic because the summer is short and I want to get it all in and have visions of us chasing fireflies and being all in love with each other, I am going to be sorely disappointed in myself and in them. This is a recipe for a horrible summer vacation and I’m not going to do it to us, again.
So, instead of making lists about all the places we want to go, all the things we want to see, and all the people we are going to spend time with, I am going to chill out and try and not do things I’ve done in the past.
My oldest child will be 16 this year and you know what they say: The 16th try is a charm.