If you look at the glossy magazines by the checkout aisle in the grocery store, usually around April or May, you'd think summer was the best time in the world to have kids. Excuse me while I fall down on the floor, laugh-sobbing at that fictitious assumption. I truly wish it were the best time ever, but there are far more reasons summer is the worst when you're a parent, than there are reasons why it's the best.
Each year, as my kids have gotten older, I've headed into the season armed with ways to make this their best summer yet, only to disappoint myself (and them) when I'm not able to live up to my high and unrealistic expectations. The reality is, both of my kids are perfectly happy to continue with our "normal" activities during the summer. Seriously, they couldn't care less. Alas, not adding to our already full schedule in the name of all that is sunshine gives me, yet again, another opportunity to be hard on myself. Yay, parenthood.
The truth is, for me and so many other parents I know, summer is a season of survival. I know many of us would love to be the Pinterest moms who throw backyard crafting parties with homemade popsicles, but it can be really hard to make that actually happen. So, if you're feeling disappointed in yourself and you'er super bummed that the summer isn't going as you'd planned, rejoice in the fact that you're not alone in feeling this way. Seriously, here are 11 reasons summer is the absolute worst when you're a parent:
It Doesn't Get Dark Until Way Past Bedtime
It doesn't matter how many days in a row I try to get my kids on the 7:30pm routine for bedtime, they still fall asleep at 8:50pm. Every. Single. Night. Then, of course, they complain about being tired the next day, because young children are apparently physically incapable of sleeping in.
There's No Routine
So far this summer, my family has been camping twice and to our cottage once. We haven't been at home for more than a full week, and while that may be OK for older kids, the younger ones actually thrive on a routine, and just end up confused when they're in and out of camp or daycare all the time.
The Ongoing Sunscreen Battle
Raise your hand if you've had trouble getting sunscreen on your kid in the past week. I'm pretty sure the only people who didn't raise their hands, are the ones who sent their kids to daycare or camp.
All The Bug Bites
We all try to prevent our kids from being bitten by black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, and oh god, what else? Oh, we can't forget wasps and bees. It's inevitable, though, if your kid spends any time outside. It's also scary, if you happen to live in an area that has Zika mosquitoes. The scratching and complaining that ensues will test the patience of even the saintliest parent.
14 Snacks A Day, But No Actual Meals
I honestly have no idea how daycares and schools can prevent kids from constantly asking for food and, instead, administering them regular, scheduled meals. My current favorite activity is feeding my kids carrots, hot dogs, crackers, seaweed, and cheese for two straight hours, between 4:30 and 6:30pm, and then listening to my daughter complain at 7:10pm that I never fed her dinner.
The Lure Of Screen Time
Who hasn't set their kids down in front of the television for an hour, in order to get some work done, only to allow one hour to turn into three or four? Or five? Asking for a friend, of course.
The Need To Befriend Someone With A Swimming Pool, If You Don't Have One
Because if your kid is old enough to talk, they have likely asked you several times already if you can take them swimming. I'm convinced that, right now, my kids think that the ownership of a swimming pool is the only requirement someone should have, in order to be your friend. Then, of course, there are the public swimming pools are nasty, and require you to get wet, as well. Ugh.
Becoming Everyone's Best Friend, When You Have A Swimming Pool
You might have thought, when you bought your home, that the swimming pool in the backyard was an asset. If you have kids old enough to swim now, though, you are fully aware that it's actually a detriment, because you have to spend the entire summer lifeguarding for the neighborhood.
Sweaty Baby Naps
Sure, they look cute when they wake up with their hair plastered to their necks and faces, but they are also generally cranky when they wake up all sweaty like that. Who the hell loves post-nap cranky babies? No one, that's who.
Too Much To Do
The cottage, the pool, camping, that BBQ your friends invited you to, the family reunion you said you'd attend on the opposite coast; it's never ending. Social engagements are great to fill the long summer days, except when there are too many and you don't get any time to just decompress and you're spending a bunch of money and you'er exhausted. Then you need a vacation from your vacation.
Not Enough To Do
On the flip side, if you're a stay-at-home-mom who maybe doesn't have a ton of options (not everyone lives in the city, has the extra money for vacations, or has ready access to a car), having the kids home can feel interminable. When you hear the dreaded phrases, "I'm bored," or "I don't know what to play with," every single day for nine weeks, you may find yourself pushing happy hour up a few, um, hours early.