|7 Reasons I’m Ready for Summer to be Over|
I have wonderful memories of summer. Family vacations, watching “CHiPS” and “The Love Boat” in the morning, riding my bike out front with my neighborhood friends. My fondest memory is the year my parents picked us up on the last day, saying we were headed for ice cream. Unbeknownst to me and my brother, they had packed the car for our family trip to Phoenix. Arizona that wasn’t supposed to take place until the following day. We drove away from school and East toward our vacation destination.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why in God’s name a family would travel to Arizona in the summer. Sure, it’s 118 degrees during the day, but it cools down to a crisp 96 in the evening, so what’s there to complain about? And when you’re a kid spending her days swimming in the hotel pool while snacking on nachos and ordering Shirley Temples at the swim-up bar all the while signing your name on the receipt with a flurry and saying, “charge it to the room” when you’re too young to realize this means it goes on the room tab and is not, in fact, included with the room… It suddenly doesn’t seem as if you are vacationing on the surface of the sun. My parents were smart. They chose a place that was off-season during summer break, allowing us a long vacation at a reasonable price. So reasonable we often got to bring along a friend. It can’t get much better than that.
My mom had a slightly different view of summer. Her refusal to let us sleep past 8:00 and insisting we take summer classes through the library or Scripps Aquarium because we were “not going to waste away the summer laying in bed, watching t.v. or just hanging around” was a pretty big indicator of how she viewed summer. We could have fun, of course, but it had to be balanced with a healthy dose of summer school and productivity. It used to drive me crazy. Now I totally get it. I’m a mom, I totally get it. And I’m sure she was as anxious for the first day of school as I am at this very moment.
It some ways it’s sacrilegious living in Southern California- San Diego, to be exact- and waiting anxiously for summer’s end. (Calm down, Mom. I’m not giving out my address.) Loving summer is almost a requirement for residency here. I’m only 15 minutes from the beach and we have lots of friends with pools. Our perpetually awesome weather with only a few rainy days sprinkled in for good measure and an excuse to wear Uggs without sweating, perpetuates the notion that it’s summer most of the time here. I won’t even mention being surrounded by people who look like they grace the cover of every piece of marketing material put out by the Tourism Department. These are the people that make the rest of us want to shove funnel cake in our faces. Given all those facts, funnel cake aside, there isn’t much to dislike about a San Diego Summer.
But I’ve come up with a few….
1. My kids are home. ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve always loved my kids and now that they are getting older I seem to love them even more because they are growing into really awesome people. They’re funny, they’re smart, and the help me see the world in different ways. Simply put- they’re awesome. But I don’t care if Edward Cullen himself took up residency in my home- if he spent 15 hours a day with me, I’d want to dismember his sparkly body and burn the pieces. Though I don’t want to got to that extreme with my kids, I’d be willing to do an awful lot to get just a smidgen of a break from them. Oh, and did I mention I work 25-30 hours a week- FROM HOME!? Yes, from home. So having my little angels at home with me while working has been, um, a harrowing growing experience and the ultimate test in not bursting into tears at seemingly random times patience and multitasking.
2. Mother Nature likes to screw with me. The average temperatures in San Diego hovers somewhere close to 70 degrees. We have almost 300 sunny or partly sunny days. You really can’t beat that. However, you can pay for it. And I could swear that’s just what we do with the amount of taxes we pay here in California. However, no matter what the weatherman says, I swear we have two different climates going on here. One at my house and the other at the beach. When the daily morning gloom fades from the windows, it’s clear skies and warm sunshine for the remaining 10 hours of the day. Perfect conditions for the beach, right? WRONG! Without fail, if it’s sunny at my house, the lunches are packed and the boogie boards are in the car… it is foggy and cold at the beach. And while my children enjoy frolicking in the water regardless of the 3 foot visibility, I am huddled in my beach chair beneath 5 towels wishing I’d worn my Ugg boots.
3. Keeping kids entertained is expensive. Please don’t send me Free Family Fun- The San Diego Edition. I know there’s lots to do here that is free. I’ve lived here all my life and raised kids here for the last 9+ years. If it’s free and fun, we’ve done it. Twice. We save money all year for the Summer Camp Fund in order to provide a few weeks of adventurous fun, but man that stuff’s expensive! With two kids, it’s doubly expensive. Even with snacks and lunches brought from home and bypassing all gift shops and trinket kiosks, it all adds up- and fast! I don’t know how families with more than 2 kids do it!
4. Although I can’t seem to get more than 6 uninterrupted minutes to myself, summer can be extremely isolating and lonely. Sure, we are all free from homework and projects and most sports activities; and meeting up at the beach to huddle under a mountain of towels to catch up sounds fun but it isn’t easy to do. Between my work schedule and your kid’s camps and my family vacation and your annual trip to Iowa and my kid’s camps and your child’s dentist appointment and my kid’s… it can be pretty tough to meet up. Suddenly phone calls to clients about resumes and job searches are my only contact to the outside world and the few grown up conversations I have in a day. My kids are having the time of their lives at whatever camp we’ve sold blood to pay for, but I am really really lonely.
5. I miss the comfort of my routine. As much as I complain about motherhood feeling like a Perpetual Tuesday I find a certain amount of comfort in the routine and monotony of it. Groundhog Day syndrome can certainly get a mom down, but there is some relief in knowing you won’t wake up facing 15 hours to fill because they are filled to capacity from the moment your feet hit the ground. Filling those long hours feels like herding cats. Scheduling something fun for us to do, navigating my work schedule to accommodate that fun activity, staying on top of the house and the laundry, cooking meals, disciplining and trying to get a workout in there somewhere is difficult for even the most expert multitasker like me. I find myself feeling like I haven’t done a good job at any of those things because I can never focus on any of them for very long. I just gain momentum before my attention is called elsewhere- usually toward my kids.
6. I freaking hate sunscreen. I know this is really a stupid thing to be annoyed with, but it’s true nonetheless. As parents we spend an insane amount of time having seemingly pointless conversations over and over. However there are some that are relegated to certain seasons. In winter I have to answer the following questions 837 times: “Do I have to wear a jacket?” I’ve decided that my answer will just be no from now on. I’m not the one who’s going to be cold so why am I worried. And let’s be honest, they are not going to wear the jacket and chances are it will be left on the playground anyway, so why bother. And it doesn’t get much below 60 on most days so it’s not like I’m sending them off into the harsh winters of Alaska for 7 hours a day. Our summer question de jour is: “Do I have to wear sunscreen?” Really? We are at the beach- yes I know it’s so foggy you can’t see me in front of your face, but for some reason that still escapes me, you will still get sunburned, so of course you have to wear sunscreen! (It really does escape me, by the way. How is it the sun isn’t strong enough to bust through the clouds and warm up the air but it can still burn my kids?) As if my answer is a complete surprise or they were somehow expecting that today of all days was the miraculous day the sun won’t burn them, they huff and they puff and they grumble and ask me ad nauseum “Are you done? Can I go in the water now?” My other summer response is: “Sure, we can skip sunscreen. But when you’re lying in your bed writhing in pain all lobster-like or you’re in the hospital following skin cancer removal, I won’t visit you.” That’s not overly dramatic is it?
7. And finally… We’ve been on summer break since before Memorial Day. BEFORE. MEMORIAL. DAY! That’s 14 weeks of summer, people. I don’t care how fun and carefree you are- that’s a lot of freaking summer.
|Why so smiley, Mr. The Joker?
Your kids are going back to school soon?
I feel ya man, I feel ya.
I think even DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince would agree there’s only so much summer–summer-summertime a mom can take.
That’s just my normal.