As a parent, I always look forward to summer break! Spending time with the kids playing with chalk on the driveway or heading for amazing days at the beach is what I look forward to every time. I just know it will so much fun! The kids will behave, we will have so many joyous moments of happiness that I won’t know what to do with myself all accompanied by the sound track of children’s uninhibited laugher.
HA! HA! HA!
Nope, that was NOT the laughter of joyous kids right there. That was mine, and it was SARCASTIC AF!
While I have this beautiful vision of what summer break is SUPPOSED to look like to me, it usually ends up shattered within the first week. I would like to think I am not the only one dealing with the “What the fuck kids summer blues.” I am sure there are many parents out there that realize that summer break isn’t all sunshine lollipops and rainbows everything every friggin day, and many are just trying to figure out how to cope.
Good news… There are ways to make it better and it doesn’t involve overburdening yourself with beach expeditions, cute food or even Pinterest tutorials on how to make that fucking stupid slime everyone is making right now. That’s right. I said it. Fuck you slime. Fuck. You.
Rule #1 – Don’t be an Overachiever
Just because Susan from spin class (who am I kidding I don’t go to spin class) has all these wonderful plans with her kids for summer break, most of which include intense planning and exercise every single freaking day, doesn’t mean you have to. Seriously fuck Susan and her overachieving ass, if she wants to do all those crazy things with her kids that’s entirely up to her but don’t let her make you feel bad that you don’t.
You don’t need to set up a playdate with every kid on your street for your children every day of the week, you don’t have to be an expert at building pallet sandboxes and you sure as shit don’t have to cut your kids lunches into creative god damned shapes every single day.
Nope. Trust me, the kids won’t remember every single experience they had this summer and even if they do, chances are they would be just as happy sitting in their underpants, watching a movie and eating Cheetos while you stare off in the distance and wonder when the last time your showered was. Forget the craziness of a jam-packed schedule. FORGET IT. You will be happier for it and I promise, your kids won’t even care.
Rule #2 – Be Stocked up On Easy Snacks
Kids are god damned garbage disposals. Well, mine are. They could quite literally eat every hour on the hour and still complain that they are hungry. Hearing the dreaded: “Can I have a SNAAAACK?” Has never made my skin crawl more. Like these kids go to school and eat at 2 structured times a day and usually bring their lunches home half eaten but while they are here they need to eat like they have never seen food. LOVELY.
I am going to be honest here, I don’t want to have to stop what I am doing every hour to get up and make them a freaking snack. I just don’t. It would be like being a freaking jack-in-the-box and let’s face it, my life doesn’t need that stupid fucking song as it’s soundtrack.
Instead of getting up every hour to cut up peaches, or make cheese into cute little shapes I like to make sure that I have a shit tonne of healthy and easily accessible snacks ready for them to grab and go.
I wash and cut up fruit and vegetables for the day so it’s already in the fridge for them to grab and if I am feeling exponentially lazy that day I don’t even do that, I just make sure that I have things like grapes or baby carrots they can just devour.
I have snack bins segregated in the cupboards that have easy to access things like apple sauce, granola bars and crackers. Guess what? I never hear about how hungry they are in between meals anymore, and I don’t have to move. WIN. SUMMER TIME FUCKING WIN.
Rule #3 – Stop the “I’m Bored” Bullshit
The “I’mmmm booooored” complaint is almost as annoying as the “I’m hungry” crap. Almost. We have a rule in our house though. If they are bored, there are lots of chores they can do.
Want to know how fast you can put a stop to hearing boredom complaints? Set a timer, wait for them to complain, tell them to do a chore… wait. I am serious. There are probably boat loads of towels, bathing suits and sandy drawers that need washing or a mountain of dishes that needs cleaning, or a sand filled toilet that could use a scrub down.
Either they find something to do without complaining, or you will find them something to do and what they choose is going to be a lot less crappy than the chores.
Rule #4 – Nobody Fights
I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids. When they start fighting it sounds like fucking nails on a chalkboard and I would rather be anywhere but around them. It’s the sad truth. I hate listening to them fight about the fucking colour of the sky, who farted, or which kid is going to eat which grape first.
Make a “but did you die” rule. I am serious. My kids are at an age where they need to learn to navigate their own conflicts and when I am on a work call, it’s not the time for my 10 year old son to come tell me that his 7 year old sister thinks the sky is purple with unicorns floating around it and when he told her it wasn’t she threw a chip in his direction. I am not exaggerating either, this has ACTUALLY happened.
So, what did I do? I told the kids not to tell on each other unless it’s harmful to their health, someone got hurt or someone was doing something incredibly dangerous. I told them to learn to figure it out for themselves and every time after that when someone started a fight about the size of a particle of sand, and they came to tell me about it, I asked them… “Is this SERIOUSLY going to hurt either one of you? What does it change if either of you is right or wrong? IS IT IMPORTANT? BUT DID. YOU. DIE? They got the point. Sort of. They still talk to me about everything, but at this point they don’t feel the need to come to me if they disagree over the colour of their shoelaces, because at the end of the day what am I supposed to do about it anyways? Don’t STRESS.
If all else fails. Noise cancelling headphones and some really good tunes help to drown out the sounds of the ridiculous arguments.
Rule #5 – Just Have Fun
Forget the planning! You know what is more fun than anything? Surprise adventures. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself this summer. Seriously. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING SPECTACULAR EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Focus on doing simple activities together. Play chalk on the driveway, jump on the backyard trampoline, have a picnic in the living room fort. Do things you all enjoy doing and don’t feel god damned bad that you aren’t making slime, having insane micromanaged adventures or being that helicopter mom that needs to be involved in every aspect of their day. You will end up enjoying summer break with your kids that much more. In fact, you may even end up dreading the day it comes to an end for back to school.
If all else fails just remember, there is really only a few months of them being home before back to school and if you can deal with 9 months of them jumping on your bladder, 36 hours of labour and potty training, 2 months is a walk in the park.
Jen is a 32 year old work at home mother of two wonderful little cherubs age 7 and 10. She writes for ninjamommers.com with a 7 year old on her head, a dog barking at nothing and a 10 year old making weird noises in her ear. Send Wine.