I have fond memories of summer vacation as a kid. I recall playing in the sprinkler, riding my bike to the pool, going to camp, and taking family road trips, stopping at every historical site along the way. As a teen summer vacation meant getting sun burnt while trying to get a perfect tan and bleach blonde hair, watching endless hours of MTV, and getting kissed at band camp. Now that I'm a parent, though, summer vacation is a tad different. In fact, it's not fun at all. There are so many reasons every parent loathes summer vacation, because it totally sucks.
Things weren't that bad when I worked full-time and my kids went to daycare. Summer was just like any other time of year, honestly. Everyone enjoyed going to the pool or hiking on Saturdays, or camping with my parents on the weekend. Then my daughter started elementary school and I realized, far too late, that in order to get her into a good summer camp program I needed to have enrolled her (apparently) before she was even born. When I finally found one that would take her, they accidentally gave her food she was allergic to not once, but twice. (I mean, how were they supposed to know that nacho cheese Doritos and hot Cheetos had peppers in them? It is, like, the fifth ingredient on the label).
So last summer I decided to try working from home, because camp for four kids is ridiculously if not criminally expensive. Why did I think that would work? I didn't get much work done, especially while trying to resolve conflicts every 15 minutes and failing to find a happy balance between letting my kids zone out on screens and making them play outside all day. Don't even get me started on long road trips and beach vacations, which seem more like work (read: torture) than they do "vacation." I was so glad when school started up again, because, honestly, I like my kids so much more when I get breaks from them.
So yeah, when you have school-aged kids summer vacation is seriously for the birds.
Because The Kids Are Home From School All Damn Day Long
OMG I am so tired, and it's only been a week. Only 11 weeks to go, people, not that I'm counting or anything.
Between my kids not wanting to go to bed at a reasonable hour because "it is still light outside," their endless fighting, constant complaining, and relentless mess-making, I am so done. The good news is that we decided to hire a nanny to help me at home, so I can get actually some work done this summer.
Because Reliable Childcare Is Hard To Find & Expensive
While we love the preschool my son attends during the school year (it has a summer program for school-aged kids) since we have five kids it would actually cost us more to send even the oldest four there than I make each week. So, we decided to hire a part time nanny. We placed an ad and found some great candidates right away. The first one we hired quit (by freaking text) the night before she was supposed to start. The next one stopped responding to messages when we said that she needed to come meet the kids before we could make a decision. We are now on round two of nanny interviews.
I don't pray, but seriously, please send me good vibes of all kinds, you guys.
Because Kids Constantly Say "I'm Bored"
We live in a small town and have a huge back yard, a trampoline, a pool, a play structure, 1000 books, art supplies, two video gaming systems, three televisions, a family computer, three tablets, a sprinkler, board games, bikes, and enough toys to open our own toy store. Still, somehow and some way, our kids are always "bored."
Because Kids Forget Any Semblance Of A Routine
Because The House Is Constantly A Mess
The first day of summer break I traded my kids screen time for minutes of cleaning up, dolled out in 15 minute increments. I thought it was a brilliant plan, but it only lasted two mornings before they lost interest. I hate trying to keep the house clean without help, and this summer I have already started to resent their mess.
Because Apparently You Need To Register Kids For Camp When They're Still In The Womb
There are so many waiting lists, deadlines, and schedules one has to navigate to find and get your kids into a good summer camp program. We got lucky and got our oldest three into the school's enrichment program, even though I totally missed the deadline. One benefit of living in a small town.
Because Kids Will Inevitably Complain It's Too Hot To Play Outside
Some days it is too hot, but most of the time they are just being stubborn or whiny about not wanting to go outside. Did I mention we have a pool, and a spray ground just five blocks away? In another six months they will start complaining that it's too cold. Go outside!
Because The Kids Keep Leaving The Damn Door Open
We don't have a screen on our back door, so my days are literally spent yelling, "Shut the door," and then, "but don't slam it, please!" all day long.
Because It Doesn't Feel Like A Vacation At All
Traveling with kids is stressful. I used to love the beach, but now "the beach" means constant sunblock application, a looming sense of fear, and sand in your kids', well, everywhere. The mountains are beautiful, but they typically mean carsick kids. Hotels are fun, but with a family as large as ours, we have to get a suite and it's it's freaking expensive. Vacations used to be like the song Margaritaville. Now they are more like Stressed Out.
Because Kids Lose Interest In Any Fun Activity You Plan After About 15 Minutes
I am totally not a "Pinterest mom." I'm just not. So, when I try to come up art projects or activities for my kids, they laugh, say no, or roll their eyes at my ideas. It's so discouraging.
Because Long Car Rides Are The Worst
Car trips mean hearing things like, "Are we there, yet?" and, "I have to go potty," and the quintessential, "She's touching me," and the always great "He's looking at me," on repeat for hours. On our last trip, my husband and I contemplated buying an old school bus and converting it into spaces where the kids can rest and leave each other (and us) alone to enjoy the ride. Maybe, just maybe, summer vacation will be more bearable as a result.