WASHINGTON, May 21, 2011 — I have been asked the same question lately, from lots of different people. It’s a question I have grown to hate. Here it is: “What are you doing this summer?”
I know that you’re just making conversation. Or you’re genuinely interested in what we’re up to. But would you like an honest answer? Because this is what I’m actually thinking when I smile and say “we’re still making plans”.
- I’m going to be spending three long months trying not to lose my mind.
- I’ll probably spend a lot of time trying to stop my kids from fighting with each other.
- I will smell like sunblock all the time, and yet still be sunburned.
- I’ll be at the pool every day, chasing around my younger children in an effort to keep them from drowning, while my older daughter swims basically unsupervised, which is totally unsafe, but I’m able to justify because she is on the swim team again this year and therefore obviously knows how to swim a little.
- Making every effort possible to keep their daily television viewing and Wii time to under 4 hours per day.
- Trying to figure out how to send them to camps that are actually fun (and not glorified daycare staffed by dead-eyed teenagers who would rather be texting), but am concerned that affording such camps may require me to sell a kidney.
- Teaching them to help me clean the house without whining. Probably to no avail, as I have been married to their father for almost 13 years, and he still doesn’t know how to clean a toilet. He says.
- Starting each day optimistic that I will be awesome at being their mom, will teach them marvelous things, and will spend lots of important quality time with them while keeping a clean and de-cluttered house.
- Ending each day with a large glass of wine, in a filthy house, mentally reviewing a list of all the things I didn’t do, should have done differently, and feel guilty/stupid about.
- I have no bloody idea. It’s JUNE. I know I have no time left. And every time some well-meaning person asks me this question, I start to hyperventilate like I’m doing right now because I procrastinated and left it all too long, and now we’re all screwed.
I’m pretty sure that’s not an answer they’re prepared for.
The truth is I am kind of looking forward to the summer. This morning, I spent a wonderful ten minutes cuddling my little kids very early in the morning, watching Curious George and sipping coffee, and wishing it were summer so I wouldn’t have to get up and fuss at everyone to get dressed and eat breakfast and blah blah blah. School ends and the amount of turtle herding I am required to do is drastically reduced. Things are pretty hectic around here, and I’m ready for them to sloooowwww down. Less to do and more time to do it in. That’s what we need. “Summer is nearly here,” I thought dreamily…
Oh snap. Memorial Day was last weekend.
“SUMMER IS HERE!” I think frantically.
Honestly, there’s about a fifty percent chance that this summer will be great, and a fifty percent chance that it’ll be a gigantic cluster of not fun or enriching in the slightest. But to be honest, I think I’m ok with those odds. That’s pretty much all the time around here. If every other day this summer is great – then I’m doing fine. I feel better. I’m glad we had this talk.
The next time someone asks me what we’re doing this summer, I won’t even flinch or feel my blood pressure rise. I’ll probably say:
“It depends on if I ever get my schmidt together. Or how much money I can convince my husband to spend on activities and camp registrations. Possibly we may do nothing. Maybe we will just kick it old school. Maybe we will just kick it pre-school. Doing tons of stuff while spending no money because I am the queen of free fun so can I get a WOOT?!”
Then they will look at me with concern and pity (I actually get that a lot) and be totally sorry they even asked. So that’s even awesomer.
Julianna Miner and Kristin Wilson Keppler write daily humor blog Rants from Mommyland. They also write for The Huffington Post’s Comedy Page and Nickelodeon’s ParentsConnect.com. Read more Maternal Ammunition in the Communities at the Washington Times. This post was originally run on Rants from Mommyland but has been spiffed up and made more awesome, just for you.
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