We all know that one mom. The one who posts all over Facebook about how she can’t wait to have her kids home all day, every day for summer vacation. The one gushing all over your newsfeed about all of the time they will enjoy together.
The activities they will do and the places they will go.
She shares countless Pinterest posts about snacks and crafts and summer picnic ideas. And she has staying power. No matter what is actually going on in her home on day 21 of summer vacation, the happy, made for television family movie style posts will continue.
Well I’m calling it. I call bullshit on this idyllic summer vacation.
Now don’t get me wrong. Every year around the middle of May, I drink the Kool aid. In fact, I don’t just drink it. I chug it back by the bucket full. After months and months of packing lunches that no one eats, trying to wake teens and rush little slow movers out the door in the morning, worrying about permission slips and homework, report cards and head lice notices, and wondering how on earth the thirteen year old has lost a third pair of indoor shoes, I’m done.
Not to mention the seemingly endless train of viruses that the petri dish we call “school” likes to bless us all with every year. It all takes a toll on my sanity.
So when May rolls around and the idea of lazy mornings, fewer germs and a break from the torture that is packing lunches looms on the horizon, I get a bit giddy. I start picturing campfires and little faces covered in marshmallow.
I dream about lazy afternoons at the beach where both the teens and the little ones are happy. Swimming and sandcastles and beautiful snacks that I have lovingly prepared and no one complains about. I start sending my husband links to road trip destinations where I picture the children learning and making beautiful memories.
He usually takes this opportunity to ask me if I have forgotten our last summer road trip. But just like child birth, I have blocked out the worst parts and I believe that it will be a great idea to try it again.
Then, summer vacation arrives. And by day two, so does reality. It arrives in the form of whining and fighting, eye rolls and patronizing looks, endless snack demands and constant declarations of how bored everyone is. Here’s why I’m calling bullshit on the whole thing.
Snacks. SO. MANY. SNACKS.
I always roll into summer vacation in the same fashion where snacks are concerned. I bake a bunch of mini muffins, cut up fruits and veggies to keep on hand in the fridge, and I stock our freezer with popsicles and ice cream sandwiches. I then pat myself on the back for being so prepared and the world’s most fun mom.
It takes less than two days for me to remember that only one of my four children will eat the fruits and veggies and by the end of day two (if we are lucky) all of the ice cream sandwiches have mysteriously disappeared.
This begins my favorite summer game of all when the children start yelling, pointing fingers and hurling accusations. The youngest then suddenly realizes that there were ice cream sandwiches in the house and she didn’t get one, and that’s good for several hours of angry stomping and pouting. She will likely also bring up the wrongdoing again every single time someone mentions ice cream.
A full scale investigation will be launched by the oldest, which basically entails scowling at each of her siblings for days until someone cracks. It’s super fun. My life will become a never ending trip to the grocery store and constant complaints that we have no food, and by the end of July I am totally ok with the idea of making them all forage for berries and drink from the hose.
Screen Time Negotiations Suck
If your idea of a fun is to spend hours on end convincing a six year old that he could play with his own toys instead of watching other kids open theirs, or explaining to a thirteen year old that Fortnite is just a game and no one will actually die if he walks away from the Xbox for five minutes, then summer vacation is totally your jam.
In fact, I have an offer for you. Come on over to my place and handle all of the above and I will take your place doing literally anything else. As an added bonus, I have a teenage daughter who has hours of funny animal videos and videos of people falling down for you to watch. You’re welcome.
Whining Is the Language of Summer
Is it just my house or does the level of whining in your home seem to increase along with the summer temperatures? They whine about being bored no matter how many Pinterest worthy crafts and activities I’ve planned. They whine about each other. They whine about missing ice cream sandwiches. In fact, I’m not sure anyone remembers how to speak without whining once we are a couple of weeks into vacation. Whining is really the ancient language of summer.
Road Trip Hell
Have you been on a road trip with children lately? It’s a lot like going to a party with your friends from College. You have to listen to crappy music and someone is always singing the wrong lyrics. Someone is always yelling. Someone is always hungry. Someone is always crying, for reasons the rest of the group doesn’t understand. Everyone will spill their drinks and someone will throw up on their shoes. Except now you are the designated driver.
Trying To Stick To A Routine Is Both Pointless and Frustrating
Summer vacation is supposed to be a time of relaxed bedtimes and casual outdoor meals. A time for last minute ideas and no particular schedule. Except that three of my four children need routine. In fact without it, they pretty much fall apart. This means that I am “that” mom. The one trying to stick to the usual bedtimes and mealtimes. Trying to explain to a six year old that it really is bedtime when the sun is still shining is like going back in time and trying to convince people that the earth is actually round.
Now before you grab your pitchforks and light your torches, let me say that I love my children more than anything, and I am truly grateful for the time that I have with them. But I am pretty certain that at the end of two months they are just as happy to get a break from me as I am to send them back to school.
And as much as I love seeing their faces, I will absolutely be that mom eagerly watching for the back to school ads and dancing through the aisles of our local Walmart tossing school supplies into the cart like confetti. And that mom on Facebook who will be posting about how sad she is to see summer vacation coming to an end? I’m calling it
Jesica Ryzynski is a writer, coffee drinker and Mom to four children ranging in age from preschool to highschool. When she isn’t running the Mom taxi, or asking people where their socks are, she can be found writing about it all on her Facebook page or on her blog at www.isthatchocolateorpoop.com. Her work has also been featured on Her View From Home, Parent Co., Savvy Mom and Sammiches and Psych Meds.