The Reality of Summer With Kids

It’s the last day of school. My last day of a quiet house. Nothing but the noise of the refrigerator running. Me sitting here writing in peace, watching mysterious white vans drive by and making note of it in my dossier. Me contemplating motherhood, life, and what I’ve mucked up recently.

The last day of school fills everyone with high hopes around here. We gear up for adventure and lazy days. Having nowhere we have to be sounds so utterly amazing, I can’t stand it.

This is how I view the summer ahead:

1. Sitting around the kitchen table doing one of the many crafts I’ve picked out, the kids and I laugh, joke, and bond as we cut, glue, and toss dashes of glitter over our magical creations. They look like something Martha Stewart made herself. Heck, they look better.

sequins ready for crafting

Who wouldn’t want to create with this rainbow of shimmering inspiration?

2. Sitting poolside, I watch my kids frolic and play while I read a book, crunch a snack, or dip my toes in for refreshment. I put my time in for many years of having the kids hang on my every limb. We can enjoy a game of catch or I can relax on a noodle and bob around.

3. Thinking a lazy day is in order, I make plans to cook a delicious snack. Cake pops sound fun. They turn out beautifully. I think we could sell them. We eat them as we lounge in our pajamas, snuggle in beanbags, and watch movies all afternoon.

4. I need to get some work done in the office. The kids quietly play so I can edit or write. When I’m done, I reward them with a trip to the park.

In reality:

1. The kids never want to make the cool crafts I suggest, the ones I’ve been clipping from magazines for years. They have “better” ideas. They don’t like my suggestions on how to embellish them. In the end, they look like something Martha Stewart’s dogs made. After the seemingly ten hours it takes me to set up, it takes my kids 3.4 minutes to slap some glue on their craft and say, “I’m done. Can we go play?” Then it takes another ten hours for me to scrape the glue off the chairs and get every speck of glitter off the floor.

sequin collage

I give him five minutes, tops. A piece of art that will never be complete.

2. The minute I sit in a lounge chair, the kids ask me every five minutes when I’m getting in the pool. The minute I get near the water, the kids still hang on my limbs. At least once a season I see a kid puke something into the pool and his mother swish it out. That kind of ruins the rest of it for me. Thanks, rule-breaking mother.

3. The recipe takes way more time than I imagine. The kids fight over whose turn it is for each step. Having the kids help makes the process go twenty times longer than it should. And when it’s all over, the kids don’t even like them. “Can we have popcorn?” “When can we start the movie?”

4. The moment I get on the computer, the kids sit in the office chair behind me and start to wrestle. Someone gets hurt. I send them upstairs. They go upstairs and continue to fight. I still haven’t gotten any work done. I send them to their rooms. Doors slam. I am mad. Tears. Yelling. I haven’t managed to get any paying work done, but I probably got a post out of it.

Summer: The reality is, I look forward to it every year and I still miss it when it’s gone.

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27 Comments

Filed under About Mom, Everyday Life

27 responses to “The Reality of Summer With Kids

  1. My eyelid started twitching as I read this.

  2. Its funny how we have a beautiful plan in our heads and then reality sets in and nothing goes as fast or as exciting as we wish it had. As for the cake pops, I really want your recipe. Every time I hear someone speak of them it sounds like the whole recipe was a disaster. As always, I love your post! Thanks for sharing!;)

    • I know someone who used a machine and boy, those were amazing. My problem is that I struggle with dipping anything in melted chocolate or candy coating. You want to see something that looks like Martha Stewart’s dogs made it.

      A friend gave me the cake pops recipe from the cake pops book (I think). Finding recipes around here is like finding a piece of glitter at the beach.

  3. My four-year-old has only four days left of preschool and he keeps reminding me of it. I think he is a little apprehensive about the summer too – the lack of routine is a little scary for us all! Hopefully we’ll be able to embrace it. If not, maybe I’ll put on a little Phineas and Ferb for him so I can do some writing while he watches some pretend kids do really creative things on their summer vacation. Then we’ll make some bad banana bread and go to the park and run around with sticks.

    Nevertheless, I agree – it will be a little chaotic, but I’ll miss the summer when it’s gone. Good luck, everyone!

  4. Ha! As I was first reading it I thought what you envisioned was actually what you thought would happen. I was about to die from sweetness. Thanks for that dose of reality!!!

  5. I was feeling like a really bad mom when I read the first part of this post. Thanks for adding the dose of reality!

  6. Ahhhh, the realities of summer vaca! LOL I remember those days of lounging (fighting) at the pool, baking (flopping) cakes, going for walks (drags) in the park, and frolicking (staying in the a/c all day because it’s 110 degrees) in the backyard. Now, my 19 year old works full time as a mechanic so I never even see him and my 15 year old will be working again as a camp counselor so she won’t be home either. As a school bus driver, I am home in the summer time and the past few years I’ve been home alone. The silence can be deafening. Hug those kids a little tighter today. They grow up so fast… XOXOXOXOXO

  7. Ha, this is great! Summer, I always imagine it to be so much warmer, lazier, mellower, and wonderful than it actually is. The reality you painted is about what my summer reality will be, I am quite sure.

  8. “something Martha Stewart’s dogs made”… LOL.

    These vignettes sound depressingly familiar. Yay summer break.

  9. love this, every work could have been taken out of my house.

  10. This post cracks me up! I can totally relate to the Martha Stewart crafts that you swear your kids will love and will do just like the pictures. Most of the time my kid will participate, maaaayybe for 30 seconds if it’s not something he’s interested in haha.

  11. Love it! Yes, my reality resembles your SECOND list, except I don’t do crafts of any kind that involve glue or glitter, and my kitchen has only enough room for one person at a time, so any baking project (that involves kids) it out-of-the-question.

    BUT…things appear to be working here, so far. No crazy, only SANITY!! Way better than the last 12 weeks of school (which was non-stop). I might actually get some real things (a/k/a/ my to-do list) done this summer.

  12. Suzy Lake

    Yes yes yes…exactly the same here!! Too funny!

  13. Yep, this sounds familiar…the second list that is. Please tell me you’re kidding about #2? We don’t do the pool quite yet so I am really worried now.

  14. Oh, I love this! I’m working a similar Summer themed post and have had these experiences, especially with the damn craft projects. They always end up in an argument, a sibling battle and/or more anxiety for me. I’ve been missing your posts and wondering why I wasn’t getting them. Thanks for the heads up at top of your blog. I’m grateful I stopped by to see what you’ve been up to. Great stuff!

  15. I love this, especially the pool part. I learned my lesson about my summer fantasy – spend the money and send my son to summer camp. And viola – hours of peace and work that gets done 🙂

  16. Pingback: It’s Them vs. Me…and Me Always Wins « dirt n kids

  17. I love this! It sounds like we have had the same summers. 🙂 This year I have spread a couple of day camps through the weeks to break it up.

  18. I can’t explain why, but this post had me laughing AND tearing up…

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