School’s out! And you decided that camps were so last year. This summer you’re going embrace your inner chilled-out mama and let the kids be KIDS.
Except, things don’t always pan out exactly how you’d planned. Here’s a new and revised edition of What to Expect When You’re Expecting Too Much: 6 Summer Scenarios That Are Probably Better On Paper
- “We’re going to spend our summer playing outdoors”
Fun in the sun, endless bike rides, digging in the dirt, no schedules. We’re going to carpe-diem it this summer. Sure that works. For about two days. On Day 3, after you’ve heard “I’m bored” 67 times, you’re thinking, “Where’s the summer camp that’s going to suck up all my life’s savings? It’s worth Every. Single. Penny. And, it’ll be cheaper than therapy.”
- “Let’s go swimming, kiddos”
To you that means lounging by the pool, Kindle in hand, looking up only to smile benevolently at your little ones as they splash around.
That happens. In the movies.
Here’s what it really looks like.
At the 2.5 minute mark: “Mama, I need to pee. Now.”
At 3 minutes: “Mama, look at me!”
5 minutes: “Can you put my goggles on me?”
7 minutes: “This float is making me float too much.”
8 minutes: “The water went up my nose. I hate swimming.”
10 minutes: “Did you see me hold my breath for 4 seconds? Look again!”
Your Kindle remains woefully ignored. It’s time for Round 2 of pee time with the next kid.
- “Want to Bake Some Treats for the Neighbors?”
You’re thinking two birdies, one stone. Or maybe three birdies: kill some time, the kids have fun, and the neighbors think they’re cute enough to babysit (so you can have a date night after approximately 8 months).
Reality: flour storms, eggs on the floor, chocolate in your hair, enough kitchen towels to wipe down an entire country, cookies finally in the oven, cookies good enough for the neighbor’s dog. Maybe you can package them as “Doggie Delicacies?” Maybe they’ll still watch the kids?
- “It’s vacation time!”
Put your feet up, soak in the rays, take pics of tanned feet on a beach towel with a margarita in the foreground and the azure ocean in the background to post on Facebook with the caption, “This is the life!”
Pre-vacay = Shopping for swimsuits for yourself (could life get more exciting?), making lists long enough to give Santa a complex, repacking so all your stuff fits in two suitcases and you don’t have to pay for extra baggage.
Post-vacay = Scaling Mt Saint Laundry.
In-between = Sticky sand in diapers, promises to the kids of Happy Meals if they’ll stay happy, promises to yourself to invent sunscreen that stays on till Winter, finally getting to read your Kindle (because dinner after 7 pm at the Michelin star restaurant down the road is so overrated anyway).
- “It’s Family Game Night”
You’re playing Apples to Apples or Headbands – but it might as well be called Family Feud.
Girl: “He’s not playing fair.”
Boy: “She’s cheating!”
You: “Kids! What does Mama say? ‘It’s not about winning. It’s about having fun.’”
Boy: “Well, I’m not having fun either.”
- “We’re taking you guys for a Movie”
This works perfectly well for most families. The thing is, the hubbers and I take our kids to the theater every year or so. By the time we return, the kids have forgotten how loud and how dark the place is. And we’ve forgotten that the movie theater snacks eat into the kids’ college fund very quickly.
BOTH kidlings are usually on our laps, begging to be escorted out of the dark dungeon, while we smile apologetically at fellow movie-goers and whisper, “It’s only pretend,” about 343 times. And this was during Frozen.
You think: Why did we bother buying them tickets if they’re going to sit in our laps and cover their eyes?
The solution might be movie night in your PJs at home.
On the up side, you might save enough for those summer camps.