People: There are only FIVE MORE WEEKS of summer vacation where I live. For some, this may be a proclamation of impending freedom and relief, but not me. I am not even close to being tired of summer. I am a happier person in the summer. Like, significantly happier. And because I feel so happy, I genuinely believe I am a better mom and wife during the summer. Of course, there are also a handful of things I am decidedly NOT better at in the summer, including cooking, exercising, writing, and being organized and productive in general. However, some of those deficiencies may actually contribute to my overall happiness, so let me break it down. Here’s why I love the hell out of summertime.
1. More sleep!
I have reached the blissful stage of parenting where my children, regardless of what time they actually wake up, allow ME to sleep in, due to the fact that at least one of them can operate all of the TV remotes and navigate the Apple TV, thus allowing them to creep downstairs when they wake up and leave me, wait for it, still sleeping. I swear I am not making this up. Parents of toddlers and babies, take heart: this will happen to you one day!! And crazily enough, my kids have actually been sleeping in until 8:00 or even 9:00 (!) in the morning this summer. My middle of the night nursing karma has come back to smile upon me, and it feels good, people. It feels good.
2. Family mealtime is a bit more, um, flexible
I have a complex relationship with my kitchen in the summer months. I would really rather stand in front of my bathroom mirror wrestling with a stubborn chin hair than plan and execute dinner. So many days, I don’t really do it. We have a vegetable garden, which makes me feel like a super badass earth mama, and many nights I make us a salad and my husband grills. Kick ass. Some days we have cold sandwiches. Occasionally I’ll use the crockpot to make pulled pork or chicken (thanks to the multi-packs at Costco–woot!) and make tacos or sandwiches. I make pasta salad every freaking week, just dumping in whatever we happen to have lying around or growing in the garden. Leftover bacon, shelled snap peas, shredded carrot, whatevs. As for the rest of the meals, my kids eat cereal, bagels, yogurt, cheese, granola bars, yogurt, fruit, yogurt, and did I mention every Friday is (thank god) pizza night? Summer cooking is my super favorite.
3. NO. RUSHING.
I occasionally fantasize about home-schooling my kids so we never have to rush out of the door on school days with me screaming and swearing and all of our blood pressure rising. Then I remember that I would probably super suck at that and my kids wouldn’t like me anymore. But still, the idea of never having to scramble out of the house with backpacks, shoes on, coats, completed homework, lunchboxes, signed permission slips, and the goddamn Friday folder ever again sounds pretty amazing. Sigh. But seriously, we are lazy and chill in the summer, and rarely do we have to leave the house before 9:00 am. And it’s heaven.
4. Fewer activities in general
I know this isn’t for everyone, but as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, the 1980s Summer is my family’s personal vacation style. Each child has one weekly activity and that’s it. We swim, we catch the weekly $1 family movie, we play with friends, and did I mention sleeping in? Come fall we will resume music lessons, dance classes, and all that other crap but summer is a beautiful change of pace. Fortunately for me, my kids and I share a style of preferring unstructured summer days (read: we are all lazy AF) and don’t need the outlet of organized sports or camps. And bonus! It’s cheaper too so we can save our money for traveling.
5. No school lunches to pack!
I hate packing school lunches. It makes me feel like a crappy, lazy mom-fraud. Do the teachers patrol the tables, noting which kids have Noosa yogurt, cucumber slices, a Cutie orange, and veggie straws every single day, with the rare exception of Babybel cheese, bananas, or squeezey applesauce making an appearance? Shudder. I hope not. Summertime lets me off the hook; my kids can concoct that exact same lunch for themselves while I, guilt-free, swing in my hammock chair and read a novel. No more night-before scramble packing lunch (and snacks, too, ugh) and organizing backpacks. 9:00 pm now exclusively belongs to Netflix.
6. My Summer Motto
Some moms proudly proclaim that they are #OutsideEveryDay, or perhaps are rocking their #YogaEveryDay practice but as for me, it’s #IceCreamEveryDay. I love ice cream. Sure, this may be a poor combo with the fact that I’m not hitting the gym or yoga class as often with my two kids in tow, but there’s also this:
7. Getting a Tan Is the New Physically Fit
I try to work out a few times a week and grab a weekly yoga class, but exercise and fitness is way harder in the summer and I have to get creative. Fortunately this lack of ass-kicking calorie burning is balanced out by the fact that I’m in the sun a few times a week (obsessively wearing 30-50 SPF, obvs) and let’s face it, flabby abs look way better with just a hint of tan, yes? As do side-butts, hips, and thighs. Not to mention the helpful Vitamin D boost, further enhancing my happy summer vibe. Score!
8. No homework
Praise the sweet baby Jesus, I’m not signing any Mother Gothel reading logs this summer! Those math worksheets can suck it! We read during the summer. We practice random math skills when we’re out and about. But no more dreaded kitchen table hell after school. So bye-bye, busywork: Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!
9. My To-Do List can suck it, too.
You guys, our giant dry-erase family calendar is still on May. May! That busy, ridiculously marked-up month of band concerts, choir concerts, lessons, practices, end of year parties and performances. I didn’t even bother with June, and it’s likely that the night before school starts on August 17th I’ll be wiping May off the calendar and weeping. I’m not writing my daily to-do list, and I don’t give two shits about the fact that I have barely accomplished anything aside from teaching my 5-year-old the meaning of “hangry” in the past six weeks. C’est la vie. The busy-ness will still be there in another 5.5 weeks. It can wait.
10. Bathing the kids is more of a “suggestion” than a rule.
Bathing my five-year-old in particular seems to be an exercise in futility during the summer. Approximately ten minutes after her post-riding-lesson-bath, she was covered in paint from a homemade sword and shield project. Including her freshly washed hair. Say it with me: “Why do we even bother??” Along with regular mealtimes, personal hygiene becomes a bit more avant garde in the summer. I completely lose track of bath night, but I’m assuming it all comes out in the, heh heh, wash, since I’m usually pretty good about bathing and at least rinsing hair after the pool.
But you know what? The kids are sticky, sun-kissed, tangly-haired, and perhaps less teeth-brushed than usual this summer. They fit right in with me, sporting the 3-4 day hair wash cycle, tank tops, yoga capris, and same sun-kissed, make-up free look myself. I think we’ll all survive.
So lay it on me: Does summer make you sigh with happiness or tear your hair out while you count down to back-to-school?
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