Ahhhh that celebrated day at the end of June. Remember? Like ponies from a barn, the kids came pouring out school doors, another scholastic year behind them. For parents, no more homework; no more school lunches; no more alarm clocks. A warm, sunny summer free from structure and stress welcomed you like the lap of a favorite auntie.
Weren’t those the most perfect 48 hours of your life?
The following week, swim lessons began. Or day camp, or sleep-away camp, or tennis camp, or baseball camp, or soccer camp. Or, the kids weren’t registered for anything, and they’ve already begun bickering with each other, turning your house into a prison camp.
Instead of driving your kids simultaneously to school for one specific time, you have now transformed your minivan into a close approximation of a Star Trek transporter. Somehow, thanks in part to a weak police presence in your neighborhood, you are able to drive multiple children to multiple locations for multiple activities all of which begin within multiples of ten-minute increments. By 10am, this multi-tasking has already dividing your patience into barely detectable particles.
But, at least the kids are off for the day.
Now the day is yours. A perfect opportunity to unwind after another grueling September-through-June.
You’ll get to the unwinding, as soon as you tackle a few of those chores you neglected due relentless homework, school lunches, and alarm clocks.
This shouldn’t take long.
That shrub in the front has turned into a tree, it should be transplanted. But to where? The weeding needs to be done first.
Is it too late to start a vegetable garden? Probably. Maybe you shouldn’t bother; after all, you’re five minutes from a major grocery store. But your neighbor has a spectacular garden and now you feel guilty spending $4.00 for five tomatoes. Maybe moving to a more urban location would be easier.
The kids’ rooms could really use a new coat of paint. You should take care of that while they’re at camp. Even if the smell lingers a bit this evening, it’s nothing to worry about, right? They are more able to deal with VOC headaches during summer months – there’s no homework to concentrate on.
It is really humid in the house now, though. That’s not ideal for paint, right? Maybe you’ll start by repairing the deck, and if you get a stretch of dry, cool, sunny weather you’ll switch to painting.
You forgot your in-laws are visiting from out of town. They arrive next Tuesday and will be staying with you for a week. The bathrooms are a mess. Shit. Should you do that today? If you do, the kids will have several days to mess them up again. Maybe you’ll do the vacuuming and dusting today, and leave the bathrooms for Monday, that way they’ll be fresh for Tuesday. Before you start vacuuming you’ll throw in a load of sheets, and work on a menu plan which will please the adults, your kids – who have diary intolerance, and their kids – who have gluten intolerance. They sell all that stuff at your local grocer, right?
Screw it; you’ll also buy tomatoes while you’re there.
You’ve spent a good chunk of time project-planning. How long, you wonder. All day, apparently. It’s time to go pick the kids up at camp.
One kid has baseball tonight, the other soccer, and there is nothing for supper. If you try to pass off frittata as something other than eggs and leftovers again there’s going to be a revolt. You’ll pick up frozen pizza on the way to pick up your sweaty children.
Is it wrong to pay money to register your kids for a little league sport and then spend the afternoon praying for rain? That’s bad parenting, right?
Alas, you are six weeks into summer and the pace hasn’t slowed.
Thankfully, next week you have a family vacation planned. Camping. Time to unpack and repack all the gear from last year, making sure earwigs haven’t set up their own living room in your cookware – another free afternoon gone.
At least you’ll all be together – in sandy sleeping bags, on a deflated air mattress , in a hot tent, waking up to curdled milk (the ice packs weren’t as effective as you’d hoped), to pour over stale cheerios. Why couldn’t you just stick to four pounds of beef jerky, trail mix and water? No muss, no fuss.
Halfway through summer. These are the days when it is important to reaffirm your love for your family, and understand how lucky you are to have relatives who care enough to visit, and how fortunate you are have access to luxuries such as little league, swim lessons, camping, and back decks.
You should enjoy the exhaustion that comes with late summer nights, and quiet summer mornings.
Eventually, you’ll have to start getting your kids used to early bedtimes and alarm clocks and homework all over again.
In order for that transition to be as easy as possible for the children, experts say you shouldn’t wait until right before the school year to begin a school routine.
If you understand this correctly, you would be justified in cancelling the camping trip, pulling them out of little league, and tucking them in by 7:30, starting tonight, right?
Perfect! The gardening, deck renovations, and house cleaning will have to wait until next summer, when you’ll have all kinds of time.