By Ruthie Prasil
I survived summer and I’m here to tell the tale. School ended June 6th and the heat arrived a couple weeks later. I’m barely here, wearing my maternity uniform of the same 4 rotating dresses and tops, each getting just a bit smaller each week.
I’m sitting right at the midpoint of routine and chaos. I’ve managed to maintain an electronic-free Monday through Friday and a freshly vacuumed living space each day. But I’ve also fed my children too many grilled cheese sandwiches (is it still cheese if you have to peel it off of the plastic wrap?) and entering my laundry room is always a risk. One I’m not always willing to take.
We’ve visited the library, written stories with cute illustrations, picked tomatoes from our garden and arranged happy playdates with friends. But don’t be fooled. That was only done after threats of all-day time outs if rooms weren’t cleaned and meltdowns over getting the “wrong” fruit snacks at the store. I’ve taken away hundreds of privileges and said, “Just leave me alone!” more times than I can count on both hands. I’ve had too much caffeine (I swear, this baby loves it) and I’ve driven through way too many fast food restaurants for it to ever be called a nutritious summer.
But not only did I survive…we all did. All 5 (6 if you count this 30 week baby belly) of the kids and my husband and I. Between dirty clothes and grocery trips and swims and lunches and pet bunny deaths, we remembered to survive. And here’s what I learned:
1) It’s okay to say, “No.” You don’t have to accept every play date and get together. You don’t have to play every game of pretend with your five year old or complete that puzzle with the big kids. Telling your kids no every now and then is good. You don’t live to make sure every minute of their day is entertaining. Make sure they are safe and healthy and be kind to them…and every once in a while play that game. You’re golden.
2) Even if your kids aren’t allowed to watch tv or play video games or get on the computer during the week, that doesn’t mean you can’t. Adults have different rules than children, and this is okay. “Fair” isn’t everyone getting the same. It’s everyone getting what they need. And, sometimes, Mama needs Orange is the New Black.
3) While not exactly the healthiest option, grabbing your kids a cheese quesadilla on the way home from swimming lessons for lunch is okay now and then.
4) If you’re behind on laundry, swimsuits are a perfect substitute for actual clothes. This is true! “Hey, you guys, put your swimsuits on, we’re running to the store. Girls, pull on your gym shorts and boys, throw a shirt on.” It works. Pretend you were just at the beach.
5) Sometimes you don’t leave your house during the day. Or really get dressed. And lots of times you might not shower. And it’s okay.
Summer can be rough on stay at home moms. It can be rough on working moms. It’s rough on dads and babysitters, too. Why anyone decided to call it “Summer Vacation” is beyond me. Any time I have to schedule sports camps and swimming lessons and play dates and then also referee fights among kids all day, it’s not called vacation. It’s called hard work. But I survived.