How You Will Actually Spend Your Summer “Vacation”

Have you felt it yet?… The sweat? Namely, the boob sweat?

That means summer is here, mommas! Rejoice! Salve, Maria?! Don’t the longer days sound just great??

Or how about blue crabs covered in Old Bay washed down with a cold beer? Or American flags flying everywhere in your sleepy small town? And you can’t forget late nights spent chasing fireflies in bare feet. At least, those are my go to summertime fantasies here in Maryland.

Now, we take a moment of silence to reflect on how we made it, moms. Or at least, how we’ve almost made it. There are probably still teacher gifts to buy, more class parties to make it through that are always smack dab in the middle of the day, and did you get tricked into chaperoning half a dozen field trips this spring??

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The month of May is a catastrophic marathon that tests the mettle of any parent’s sanity.

But you can do this. 

If you send your kiddos to school, you probably signed a million and one worksheets this year, fielded parent-teacher phone calls like a high-powered CEO, and made a dozen gluten-peanut-GMO-covfefe free snacks for class parties.

If you homeschool, you made it through another year of arguing to get reluctant bottoms in chairs on time each day. You were parent, teacher, principal and jail warden all wrapped in one.

Now it’s warm. The birds are singing. The schedules are clearing. It’s summer.

Which is great, right?

How easily I forget how this plays out every.single.year.

The first few weeks are a welcome respite from our hectic daily routine. But after the first week, the children are “bored”, the house is a wreck and my sanity starts to deteriorate faster than the universe at the end of Infinity War.

Every year, I forget that I actually need to be proactive about how these summer days are going to play out if my sanity is to be preserved. But, as usual, reality and reason need to rule the day as much as our idealism. 

But summer vacation is hardly a vacation. Think of it like an in-office work casual day. Most of the same stresses are there, just everyone is allowed to wear casual clothes.

 

How you will actually spend your summer

So here, parents. I made you this list of what you’re actually going to do this summer. (Results may vary)

You will spend your vacation:

1.) Settling petty sibling disputes over the television remote.

2.) Settling petty sibling disputes over who was sitting in that chair first.

3.) Settling petty sibling disputes over who was breathing the air in the kitchen first.

4.) Planning to take your kids swimming. Then spending two hours trying to get to the pool because they all need help getting into their swim suits and you have to hazard spray them with sunscreen. About the time they are dressed and you are packed, you’ll realize you are out of swim diapers for the toddler.

5.) Killing mosquitoes.

6.) Wondering why the car smells the way it smells…like salty feet covered in stale juice.

7.) Staring at the magazines in the grocery store checkout line trumpeting celebrity beach bodies and tropical vacations while you purchase a box of Pop tarts and boxed wine.

8.) Listening to your children tell you they are bored.

9.) Listening to your children tell you they are hot.

10.) Listening to your children tell you they are bored AND hot.

11.) Yelling, “for the love, IN OR OUT!!!” after your children have come in and out of the house nine times in the last thirty minutes seconds.

12.) Killing house flies.

13.) Struggling to put sunscreen on your octopus-armed toddler.

14.) Forgetting to put sunscreen on yourself and getting burnt.

15.) Having your children swat at your sunburn for five days straight.

16.) Telling yourself that when you don’t brush and/or blow dry your hair between the months of May and September, you can say you have beach waves going on, so it’s all good, just don’t mind the nest of birds and scattered pop rocks up there.

17.) Picking up damp towels and swimsuits off the bathroom floor.

18.) Picking up damp towels and swimsuits off the bedroom floor.

19.) Remembering that you left a bag full of damp towels and swimsuits in the back of the car last week…

20.) Helping your child squeeze their ice pops to the top so they can take a bite. Then watching them squeeze so hard all the ice falls out.

21.) Watching $12 worth of ice cream melt all over your children.

22.) Bathing children who have sand in hidden crevices scientists haven’t even discovered.

23.) Finding sippy cups that were carelessly tossed under a seat that have been baking in the sun and now have a pulse.

24.) Making thirteen trips to and from the car at the beach.

25.) Wondering why you are the only mom you know who seems to sweat more than Evander Holyfield.

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26.) Yelling, “CLOSE THE DOOR! WE AREN’T AIR CONDITIONING THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!!!!” as realize you have turned into your parents so your life is over now.

27.) Wondering what happened to all of those people who used to party at the MTV Beach house.

28.) Worrying if the neighbors just heard shouting curse words at the dog through the open windows.

29.) Having your children interrupt your favorite song on the radio with questions about chicken nuggets.

30.) Wondering which child walked off with your sunglasses.

31.) Realizing you were jamming to Nelly and Beyonce fifteen years ago, and now you’re asthmatic after inflating all three of your kids beach balls.

32.) Telling your children not to run at the pool.

33.) Putting your kids to bed late after a busy day, thinking they will sleep in…

34.) Only to have them wake up earlier than usual and, also, hangry.

35.) Sitting in traffic.

36.) Trying to make up answers to all of your kid’s questions about when you’re going to take them to the: zoo, splash pad, pool, museum, movies and…

37.) Shaking a pound of sand and dirt out of your children’s shoes. Sweeping up sand off the floor. Vacuuming sand out of the car.

Here’s the truth. Summer has a magic all its own. Just now that you’re the parent, the magic is going to feel different. So, so different.

Now we have to look a lot harder to find the good stuff.

Like, picking up seashells with your little one.

Having a viable excuse to eat watermelon and cantaloupe for dinner.

Watching your children be overjoyed at the sight of fireflies.

The smell of salty hair after a swim in the ocean and coconut sunscreen.

A glass of wine on a warm summer evening.

Watching your kids eat ice pops, drink little huggies drinks and nom on ice cream, and it reminding you of your glorious summer days of old.

 

See? What did I tell you. Magic. You just have to look for it.

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Summer 2015: We are doing this

I sat in the kitchen holding the phone to my ear.

Of course, the moment I attempted to make a phone call the children piled into the kitchen with me. They were tattling on each other. Someone needed a snack. Someone needed something that they couldn’t find and only mommy could find it. 

It’s my own fault, really. I brought it on myself the moment I picked up the phone. 

It wasn’t even as if the call was for something pleasant. I had to pay a bill and I had to speak to a real person in order to do it. So, naturally, I was on hold, listening to terrible elevator music, sprinkled with intermittent advertisements. 

A commercial cut through the music. A friendly voice saying, “Soon, the kids will be out of school for the summer. So please, drive carefully.”

I felt like it was talking to me, to all the moms out there.

Translation?: “Your kids are out of school and summer has just begun, moms, but please don’t drive your car into a telephone pole in a final act of desperation.

I can do this, I thought. 

I can do this summertime thing. 

I really do enjoy having my children home with me. I honestly do. They love being home. I like having them here with me, just to hang out.

But that doesn’t mean that we all don’t occasionally get cabin fever or irritated by rainy days or have afternoons where we don’t want to look at each other’s faces anymore.

Yesterday was just our first full day of summer break together. Why do I feel like I aged about three years in the span of 12 hours?

I was exhausted by the time I sat down last night. Namely because it takes so much energy to exact large amounts of patience when dealing with children. Literally, that is why I was exhausted. I had to make my brain focus on being patient instead of throwing my cordless phone against the wall. 

They are just being children, I thought. They can’t help that they can’t stand still in Target, or that they want one of each toy on the shelf. They can’t help that they walk slower than I walk. They can’t help that they want to stop and look at and touch everything. They can’t help that they’re hungry every two hours. They can’t help it that they get bored quickly.

They can’t help a lot of things. 

But I can.

I feel no obligation to do it all this summer, or even in general. I am not doing extensive craft projects everyday. I am not driving them to fun-filled activities every day. I am not doing it ALL every.day. 

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BUT I do feel like I am a sizable piece to the summertime-fun puzzle. If there even is such a thing. Sometimes, the kids are crawling out of their skin and losing their grip on the day. They need someone to put them back on track. I have days where I need that, too. Hopefully, we can be that for each other.

I hope this summer that we do a lot of “nothing” together. I have found than when we decide together to do a lot of nothing, that’s when a whole lot of magical things start happening. 

Every memory I have from growing up isn’t a milestone, once in a lifetime, moment for the ages. 

It’s the car ride on the way to the movie theater. It’s the baby pool in the backyard. It’s squirt guns with the neighborhood kids. It’s Popsicles and watermelon for dinner. It’s sunburnt cheeks and jelly sandals on my feet. 

It’s a lot of little stuff. 

So, while I know that I’m going to be frustrated, because that is just what happens when you are dealing with children, I have decided that I am not going to be surprised by it. I have decided that trying to be patient is worth being tired over. Much more than running myself ragged, trying to fill our days with distractions. 

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I’d rather be tired giving my kids the best of me, than be tired from trying to provide the “best” for my children. 

It’s summer. I can do this. 

We can do this, moms. 

 

 

40 summertime activities for moms that are $10 or less

Summer is coming.

(Cue the Game of Thrones references)

I actually like summertime. The mosquitos. The humidity. The profuse amounts of sweat, sweat and sweat trailing down my back. It’s great. 

No, seriously, I really do like summer, especially a summer in Maryland. Steamed blue crabs, Thrashers fries from Ocean City and beach traffic. Basically, summer is coming, so I may as well say I like it because there is nothing I can do about it. 

I am actually ready for my son to be done with school for the year. I honestly never want to make another peanut butter and jelly sandwich or search frantically for shoes for as long as I live.

Seriously, why are 90% of my sons shoes missing?? At this point, my only solution is to just buy more shoes. Because I don’t feel like looking for them. 

I know that for as anxious as I am for the school year to be done,  once mid July rolls around….I’ll probably be anxious to have some semblance of structure back in my life. Actually, I will be anxious for my littles to have structure back in their lives. 

At first, blowing bubbles and playing in the sprinkler will be fun. There will be popsicles and sun hats (that stay on for three minutes) and bathing suits. Long days, later bedtimes and maybe some sleeping in. 

That’s before we all run out of steam. Before they don’t know what to do with themselves, and mommy doesn’t know what to do with herself. 

I see a lot of lists floating around this time of year containing an endless supply of summer activities for the children. And that’s great. I do like to keep those lists handy, they take the guesswork out of my days. 

But, honestly, I don’t want to make paper mache and origami swans and tye dye shirts and do all of the things. I could probably fill up everyday with a host of activities if I wanted to. But that simply isn’t practical. By August, I’d be in the fetal position in my closet. 

While I will probably never run out of ideas for things to do with and for my children during these long months, I will be wondering what I can do to save the last shreds of sanity I have left  after I have drug out the baby pool, filled it with the hose and then hauled kettles full of warm water back and forth from the house seven times, only for my children to declare that they don’t want to swim anymore. 

Where is MY summer? Where is my lazing about, my moment to enjoy blue crabs and longer days? Where is our chance to take advantage of long, sunny days and breezy, warm evenings, moms? How can we moms savor a little bit of summer for ourselves??

Never fear, I have the answer.

What if there were lists that had simple, fun things to do for both kids and moms? I decided to do the interwebs a favor and create such a list. You’re all welcome.

Here are 40 activities for moms that cost less than $10, need hardly any energy for and can do with the kids in tow:

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1.) Have a cup of coffee while sitting on the back porch before the kids get up.

2.) Watch a marathon of The Good Wife on Amazon when the kids are napping or in bed.

3.) A Starbucks drink.

4.) A Starbucks drink while wandering around Target.

5.) Meet a fellow mom at the park for a playdate. 

6.) Hide in the kitchen with a spoonful of peanut butter…

7.) …Or a spoonful of peanut butter, covered chocolate chips.

8.) Pop in a Disney movie for the kids, while you enjoy some sweet tea.

9.) Watermelon.

10.) Call your husband at work to chat for a few minutes.

11.) Go for a drive with the kids with the windows rolled down and the radio turned up.

12.) Let the kids play in mud while you watch…from over there.

13.) Let the kids play with the hose while you watch…from over there.

14.) Arbor Mist.

15.) Put a bunch of pillows on the floor, lay a blanket down, and let the kids nap together in a pile. You can nap with them or in the other room.

16.) Pop popcorn.

17.) Put the kids outside, and let them eat ice cream.

18.) Invite other kids over for distraction a play date

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19.) Go for a walk.

20.) Let the kids “wash” the car.

21.) Call your bestie, just to chat, while the kids are distracted with cartoons.

22.) Take your kids to the park after dinner and turn them loose until the sun sets.

23.) Fill up the sink and let the kids play in it while you sit and watch.

24.) Tortilla chips and guacamole.

25.) Tortilla chips and guacamole with a friend.

26.) Bake cupcakes.

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27.) Let the kids run around all day in their bathing suits.

28.) Squirt the kids with the hose

29.) Hide and Seek – you are always the counter. 

30.) A beer with your husband on the porch after the sun sets and the kids are in bed. 

31.) Forgo all of the house cleaning for the day. 

32.) Catch fireflys 

33.) Let the kids finger paint

34.) Use paper plates as often as possible. 

35.) Go to the library.

36.) Play outside with flashlights after the sun has set. 

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37.) Blow bubbles – even inside on a rainy day. 

38.) Go to grandmas house (hint: take the Arbor Mist.)

39.) Let the kids catch toads (just keep em outside)

40.) Go to the library

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And ALWAYS, no matter the season:

KEEP A STASH OF CHOCOLATE

It isn’t just yummy. It’s about being prepared.