School's out for the summer in most of the country, which means parents who have been free from their children all year long between the hours of 8 and 3 are having a rude awakening. Kids without school are like roller coasters without tracks. They're like tiny, annoying little mosquitos with no place to land.
When kids aren't in school anymore, their parents are tasked with entertaining them. And that is no picnic. Seriously, kids won't still still for picnics. I've tried. At least there are these memes and jokes, which prove you are not alone in your summertime dread.
There's honestly no planning you can do, no preparations you can make, nothing that will get you ready for a summer home with your kids. If you have the luxury of taking time off of work or even spending a day here or there with your young ones, all I have to say about that is, "I'm sorry." Even if you were to hibernate for the month leading up to summer, that wouldn't give you enough energy to be able to deal with kids on summer break.
Summer break is heaven for kids and literal hell for parents who have to figure out how to entertain them. I honestly don't know what working parents do for kids if they don't spend all day at camp. Growing up, my mom was a teacher, so she had summers off of work, and she still sent all of her children to camp every day over the summer for years! Basically, what I'm saying is that my mom is a self-care hero.
Have you ever tried putting sunscreen on a little kid who doesn't want to have sunscreen put on them? I imagine it's not all that different from wrestling an angry raccoon. But actually, raccoons are hairier and have that tail, so they're easier to grab onto then a slick, squirmy little kid.
It sucks, because you can't just explain to kids that sunscreen is important in the long run. They don't have that kind of long-term vision.
HA! Cleaning the house...while the kids are home... Oh man, that's a good one. I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Hold on, let me wipe away the tears that formed in my eyes from laughing so hard. I'm just thinking of, well, myself, and how much of a dirty terror I was as a child.
Not only would I not clean up, but then I would get mad when my parents did clean up because I could no longer find whatever I had lying around.
Vacations with kids aren't really ever vacations, are they? In fact, vacations without kids are still a lot of work. Packing is stressful. Traveling is stressful. Now imagine doing that for a floppy, human-sized puppet who can't do anything for themselves and in fact, spend a lot of time making it harder for you to do those things for them and for yourself. Now you understand why the end of the vacation is really the start of the vacation.
This is a classic summer break scenario. Kids, especially today, have the world at their fingertips. Between millions of TV choices, games, gadgets, books — not to mention good ol' outdoor activities — there is literally no excuse for any kid to be bored. Ever. So, if a kid claims they are bored, a great way to make them instantly not bored is to offer them chores to do. It worked on me, and it will work on generations of kids to come.
Look, no matter what the mommy blogs say, no parent gets it right 100 percent of the time. In fact, if you're batting .300, consider yourself Parent of the Year. When summer rolls around, that arguably means that you are parenting more than you do the rest of the year. That is not easy! Kids have no idea how to be. They think it's a good idea to eat dirt, for Pete's sake! You deserve a bottle of wine and a book deal.
Uh oh. This is... not good. No, you see, you think it is great when kids realize they can learn things from life and not from school, but once this realization occurs, you've crossed a threshold, my friend. Little kids love school. School is fun. School is where you go to learn. But once kids realize they can learn things outside of school, they start questioning school as an institution. Is school really fun? Is school really necessary? That's when the fights start...
I think when I am a parent of bored kids who have a free summer, I'm going to make up some nonsense riddle and send them on a months-long scavenger hunt that will never get resolved because I made it up and there is no answer. This way, they won't be bored for the entire summer. In fact, they'll never be bored again because the scavenger hunt will never end! They will never discover the answer because the answer doesn't exist. It's genius. And yes, you can steal my idea.
Summer means spending a lot more time with your kids out in public. In front of other people. Exposed, if you will. Not only is it a test for parents to spend this much time with their kids, but they also have to do so while being constantly judged by the other parents around them, as if that weren't already happening. So just remember, when summer rolls around, you roll up those windows before you lose it in front of your children.
If I have to say, "Cool," "Awesome," "Very cool," "Way to go," or anything else like that one more time, I don't know what I'll do. For some reason, kids can't do anything in the pool unless you're watching them do it and praising them for it.
No joke, I was doing laps at the pool the other day, and there was this little girl who would climb to the top of the diving board and just stand there waving until her parent started watching her. Then she did the weirdest little jumps into the pool. She did this like five times in a row.
It's the summer time. It's supposed to be a break for the parents as well as the kids. That's why kids tend to get away with more stuff during the summer. Their parents are too busy doing literally anything to try to relax and get a moment to themselves. Kids are always like, "Hey mom, can I light my little brother on fire?" Winter answer: "Absolutely not! What are you thinking? Are you nuts?" Summer answer: "Here, just take the extinguisher and be back by dusk."
Ah yes, Cheese Slap. A very nuanced and complicated game, really. You see, one person asks another if they would like to play a game? When the other person acquiesces, the first person says, "Great, it's called Cheese Slap!" and then slaps them in the face with a piece of cheese before they have a chance to change their mind. I know. The concept can be hard to grasp for first-timers, but once you try it, you'll get the hang of it.
This slight bastardization of a quote from The Silence of the Lambs nevertheless captures a perfect summer parent mood. We have all been as frustrated as Buffalo Bill when he tries to get the girl he kidnapped and threw in the bottom of a well to put the lotion on her body. Sure, in the case of Buffalo Bill, he wanted her skin nice and supple so he could eventually remove it and make a suit out of it, but that's neither here nor there.
Sounds like me and this kid are the same kind of person. Every summer growing up, my mom would make a big illustrated poster board that we'd hang up in the kitchen with a section for each member of my family. This was our summer reading board, and every time we'd finish a book, we'd get to add it to the poster. At the end of the summer, we could all see how many books we read (and how many books my dad didn't read). It was the best!
I don't know why the other moms in this meme are gasping. Are they gasping because not sending your kids to summer camp is perceived as some kind of parental failure, or are they gasping because how could one mom possibly spend all that time with their children and not pawn them off on some bored teen making $10 an hour to keep your kid alive? I've been a camp counselor, and let me tell you; I've known a lot of counselors who should not have been counselors.
A good thing to do on the first day of summer break is start a countdown to when you will have your life back again. Never fear! Only about 2,000 hours before you can ship your children off to school again. I remember my parents crying when they sent me back to school on the first day of the year when I was little. I used to think it was because they were so proud of how grown-up I was becoming. Now I know it's because they were so happy I'd finally be out of the house again.