A Few Good Moms: Can you handle the truth about the “lazy days” of summer?

Summer, essentially, is forty-two weekends strung together.
Summer, essentially, is forty-two weekends strung together. Getty Images

The mom trips over a muddy pair of Crocs on her way to unload the groceries from the car, reminding her that it is past time to do the laundry. The kids have shed their PJs in the family room and sit in their underwear, in order to make the argument that they can’t help unload because they are naked. The mom realizes that even if she gets the groceries inside there won’t be enough time to prepare a meal and eat before she has to drive the boys to the pool for their swimming lessons.

You want the truth about the not-so-lazy days of summer? I think you can handle it.

When summer vacation comes, everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief. This is because Maycember rivals the holiday season for events, activities, academic trials, concerts, planning, and expense. So much to do, so little time. Everyone keeps her eyes on the prize of the morning when you don’t have to set the alarm clock with the school bell in mind.

If you are a mom counting the days until the stress of the school year ends, consider how your weekends go. For many moms, weekends are twice as hectic as the rest of the week because there are a million balls in the air, and kids and spouses are around constantly. Summer, essentially, is forty-two weekends strung together.

Assuming you like your family, this is not terrible news. But it can be a surprisingly busy time. There are fun things to do. Social Secretary Mom better sync that schedule into her iPhone. There are places to go, people to see. Chauffer Mom better gas up the car. Of course, there is no law that says you have to do anything in particular. Summer can also be full of down time. In our family, the “down” in down time is short for “doubling down” as in poker, “pinning down” as in wrestling, and “smacking down” as in smacking down. Referee Mom might want to consider investing in a whistle this summer. And a red card.

I have noticed that when we are out of school for an extended amount of time, even if we are really busy, once we are out of our usual routine everything seems to fall apart. I look around and see that my son is playing a game on his iPad, and after a moment’s reflection realize he has been on his iPad for a couple of hours. Don’t we have limits on that kind of thing around here? Or we’ll be engrossed in a movie and I’ll start feeling really sleepy and realize it’s after eleven and we are ALL still awake. It’s a little hazy but I think I recall something called a “bedtime” and it’s supposed to be a whole lot earlier. Wait, is that my son slurping down a soda that we don’t drink? What in the world is going on around here?

Clearly, all good parenting at the Kercher household occurs between the months of September and May and my sons’ kindly teachers do it. The rest of the time I feel like I am working hard, but my attempts to successfully lead the family are hardly working. So while I will raise a glass with a little umbrella in it for the season, the truth is, summer is like pregnancy: a happy miracle that increases in unwieldiness until we are all anxiously counting the days until our back-to-school due date arrives.

Want to get a better handle on summer with your kids? Sing along with the family at Pops in the Park, consider these retro activities for the kids from This is 40, or enjoy a chuckle with this Onion essay that reminds us moms, wherever you go . . . there you are.