Friday, May 30, 2014

Ten Things Parents Need to Survive Summer

You guys.  Summer is coming.  Summer is coming SUMMER IS COMING.


When my kids were small I used to scoff at moms who counted down the days before school was out so they could get their summer at home with the kids started.   They made plans for museum outings and day trips to the beach, mapped out all the local festivals and carnivals, stockpiled craft items to make art with their kids every day, printed out math worksheets and reading lists, and kept their shiny new pool passes next to the brand-new pool noodles and water wings they bought during a pre-season sale at Target.

Meanwhile, during the last weeks of school I was sitting on the patio staring into the sun every day, enjoying the spring warmth and morbidly counting the days down until the peace would end.

These days, I count down the days until school ends with the kids and the best of the moms, because OMG THE END OF THE YEAR AND ALL ITS ACTIVITIES PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.  I still haven’t mastered the art of filling every available summer minute with things to do, and I probably won’t because it’s not my style.

But here are ten things I’ve found that help me pass the summer days with ease and a minimal of planning, and they can work for you, too, if you just let them happen and stop trying to control everything because everybody knows you're an overachiever and that's just annoying.

1. Wine.  You thought I’d put that at the end, didn’t you?  Nope. Wine is essential for getting through the summer when kids are home.  The best part about wine in the summer is that you can start drinking it in the afternoon, because there are no pesky practices or after-school activities to haul the kids to.  Early drinking is a law in summer.

2. Water.  Some type of water activity is essential for summer when you have kids at home.   If you’re fancy, you can shoo the kids to the backyard to swim while you drink your wine at the kitchen window – you still have to supervise, silly!  If you’re only slightly fancy you can buy a membership at a community pool and haul your kids there, along with the forty pounds of snacks and  pool toys they require.  Or, if you’re me, you tell the kids to drag out the hose and let them squirt each other in the face until someone is crying.  And then you can send them to their rooms for not playing nice.

3. Sunscreen and bug spray.  Preferably together, because there’s nothing better than slathering your kids with chemicals and then kicking them outside.  But the real reason behind this one is that sunburned and bug-bitten kids are intolerable, so do yourself a favor and stock up today.


4. Movies.  I know, going to the movies is expensive.  And the summer blockbusters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – I’ve had enough of all the superhero movies, myself.  But what’s expensive about dragging out your old DVD collection and forcing the kids to watch The Sound of Music again?  Or having a Lion King marathon?  Turn the volume up, the lights down, throw them a bag of Twizzlers, and you’re done for the day.

5. Garage sale.  Having a garage sale is a great way to put in at least a week of summer.  You know you have tons of stuff to get rid of, and it’s going to take you some time to get it all together, so while the kids are watching classic Disney movies and eating their weight in waxy movie candy, drag out your junk and set up your garage like an old-timey thrift store.  Drape scarves on the lamps and set up the used Barbie dolls in a beautiful vignette, and rake in the quarters as neighbors and strangers paw through your old sheets and socks and ask you if you’ll take a dime.  You will.

6. Lemonade stand.  My kids ask me every single summer if they can set up a lemonade stand, and every summer I say yes, then never help them set it up.  So far, they’ve never had one.  But I think this year could be the year.  What screams summer more than a few kids sitting out in the hot sun in the middle of the day on the back streets of a housing development trying to sell a Styrofoam cup of Minute Maid to the garbage collectors?

7. Vacation.  Summer screams vacations at the beach, trips to interesting cities, camping in tents and lounging at resort pools.  Vacations and summer go hand in hand, and we always have something planned each summer, just to get away and show the kids a little part of the world outside their own.   The best summer vacations are done as a family, especially when you can get some other family to take your kids with them on their vacation.




8. Friends.  Whether your own friends or your kids’, having new faces around is always preferable to seeing only the same sour pusses every day.  We make a point to hang out with friends on a weekly basis in the summer, not only because we enjoy each other, but also to break up the monotony of hanging out only with each other.  There’s nothing quite like the love a family shares, but things can get a little intense when you’re in each other’s faces all day, every day.  I’ve felt an  immediate switch from hating every member of my family to suddenly being able to tolerate their behavior upon stepping into a friend’s house.  Wine helps, too.

9. Junk Food.  Summer is the time when all dietary restrictions go out the window.  My kids eat pop-tarts, all sorts of chips, and ice cream by the truckload before breakfast every day.  Sure, produce is at its freshest, and we try to incorporate as many fruits and veggies into our meals as we can, but I’d be a liar if I said that my kids eat three squares a day in the summer.  If squares were comprised of Doritos, candy, popsicles, and kool-aid, then yes.  They do.


10. The Mall.  The mall is not always an ideal place to be for kids, but think about what the mall offers: Food.  Books.  Wide open spaces.  Cool air.  Let your kids run ahead to get some exercise while you escape the confines of your filthy home, drop some cash at the food court for a plate of greasy Chinese noodles, and try on cute tops and shorts while your kids eat the loose Skittles you’ve found  in the bottom of your purse.  Don’t forget a roll of quarters to feed the vending machines for bouncy balls, stale gumballs, and little trinkets they will choke on later. 

Wow.  This list sucks.  You know what? This summer, just try to keep your head low and your eyes to the ground.  Soon it will be September, and the summer will be just a memory of sunscreen in the eyes and bathing suit wedgies.  That’s what I’m counting on, anyway.

*******

This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt 5: A list of 10 things every parent needs to survive summer

13 comments:

  1. I found myself looking forward to summer this year too. Then a mere 4 hours after school let out, I was DONE. Pray for me.

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  2. I cannot stop laughing at the photo of fear! That's a framer for sure!!

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  3. Let's load the kids up with junk food, park them in front of a movie and go drink wine at the mall....m'kay?

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  4. haha, your list doesn't suck! Arranging used barbie dolls in a beautiful vignette is just something I've never done. One day.
    Vacations - yes. Junk food - yes. No lemonade stand but we do have enough strawberry plants to sell strawberries on the side of the road.
    While wearing chemical-laced sunscreen/bug spray, of course.

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  5. Your summer sounds like my every day (except for the wine, as I don't drink, but substitute that with chocolate/ ice cream/ hot chocolate/ chai, and I'm your jolly girl!).
    Happy Summer!

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  6. Uh, YEP. Pretty much. This is our summer, too. Except for the friends part...we tend to hole ourselves up during the days when we don't have anything planned.

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  7. My kids made a lemonade stand one summer but not one person drove by our street so they went door to door knocking to sell their one batch of crappy lemon water.

    Incidentally, my neighbors still hate me.

    Also, please tell me how to successfully hold a garage sale because we have TONS of crap to sell but by the time Jack and Karly sort through the stuff they're willing to part with all that's left in our front yard are a couple of 500 piece jigsaw puzzles with only 349 pieces left and a Shaun Cassidy album.

    And "Hey Deenie" is not the moneymaker you'd think it might be.

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  8. I'd replace #1 with margaritas but I'm a Texan so... ;)

    And that is THE BEST roller coaster face photo EVER.

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  9. That picture of you at the amusement park is totally priceless.

    And I used to feel the same way about sumer until (drum roll) the kids were old enough for "centre." You pay to ship them off to fun camp for a whole day and you pick them up when the day is over! yippee! Actually, I don't do that all the time, but it is my sanity saver.

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