If you're from the south, you understand that there's truly no place quite like it. From the antebellum homes to the picturesque scenes of nature to the amazingly friendly people, it's a wonderful place to be. I was born and raised in the south and though I've tossed around the idea of relocating, my heart will always consider the south "home." Now, having said that, I feel comfortable telling you that there are things every southern mom absolutely hates about summer; things that even the wonder and whimsy of the south cannot erase. I mean, I've established that I absolutely love it here, so don't judge me when I say that, sometimes, summer in the south can be the freakin' worst.
Truth be told (and probably true of any place anyone decided to live) there are things that southern moms understand that don't make sense to anyone else, but we're totally okay with that. The south is one of the few places on earth where you can wear flip flops and a scarf simultaneously without it being considered "ironic," because it's actually quite necessary thanks to our always-changing weather. It's not unheard of for southerners to experience snow, hail, tornadoes, and beautiful spring-like weather all within the span of one week. The weather is unpredictable that is, of course, until summer hits. In other words, the need for that meteorologist we all can't stand during the rest of the year, becomes obsolete during the summer months. We all know the only word we're going to say is: hot.
Summers are supposed to be filled with fun activities for kids, but southern mothers have got to jump through a few hoops in order to achieve said fun in a safe way that won't end with heat exhaustion or a nasty sunburn or dehydration. Many southerner mothers will vow their eternal love and devotion to the land they call home, but most of them will also attest that they hate the following 15 things about southern summers.
It's not just hot in the south, it's so freaking humid. Good hair days are few and far between during southern summers, as the moisture in the air essentially laughs in your face and at the hours you spent "doing" your hair. Aside from our hair, our kids probably have a hard time breathing while running and jumping and playing. I mean, the air is just thick. It's gross, you guys.
Cicadas are one of the most annoying and borderline terrifying looking creatures that southern moms have to deal with. They're loud and obnoxious and emerge from the ground every 13-17 years (some species emerge every year in smaller numbers) to terrorize the south for a few irritating (and fear-filled if you're one of those that are terrified of bugs) weeks. Thankfully, their lives are short but that doesn't negate the annoyance of constantly dodging those suckers from flying into your face or cleaning them off of the car windshield.
When they do emerge, they are everywhere. Sometimes you'll get your kids loaded into the car and assume that you've managed to avoid any cicada-related incidents, but there's a good chance that one is still lurking somewhere on you or your kids without you knowing, and you better believe that their loud and creepy buzz is going to drive you insane and/or cause you to pull over on the interstate and look like a crazy person as you try to swat it off of you. They're sneaky like that.
Mosquittos pretty much suck no matter where you are, but they're abundant in the south with all of the lakes, rivers, and creeks giving them refuge. It's especially concerning now that the Zika virus has been discovered in the U.S.
Yeah, so pretty much all of the bugs in the south serve the sole purpose of annoying and/or grossing all of us out (and other important nature-related things, of course, but they're still unpleasant to live with). The thing about having kids roaming around outside during southern summers, is that they have yet to develop an irrational fear of all things with more than four legs, so they're entertained by said terrifying bugs. This wouldn't be so bad if they didn't want to hunt them down and then hand them to us as gifts. Gag.
Or more. The air is thick and hot, and it's often unbearable to be outside unless you're around some body of water that you can jump into once your face begins to melt. Kids constantly want to be outside to run and play, but in the south that means that they'll have to endure ungodly temperatures while hunting down those disgusting cicadas.
The heat doesn't just scorch our skin when we're outside, it scorches our bank accounts when it comes time to pay the utility bill. Keeping the house cool during a southern summer is not cheap.
So remember that body of water I said we needed in order to keep cool? Well, everyone gets the same brilliant idea to show up to the local pool or lake in order to keep cool. Basically, every cool swimming pool or nice lake is constantly filled with sweating humans.
There's a reason that southern babies are often pictured in the nearly nude during the summer time; it's just way too hot for clothes and we're more concerned with our kids not having heat strokes than we are with them looking cute in their romper. (You know, now that I think about it, having to live sans-pants for the majority of the summer isn't a bad thing. Like, at all.)
Are you sensing a theme when it comes to southerners keeping cool in the summer? Going to the lake or the river is just part of summer living in the south. Many of us grew up fishing or canoeing or boating, and weekends at the river or the lake are something that we look forward to year around. The problem, though, is that if you have kids and want a little adult time at the river, there are virtually no sitters available. Why? Because they're all at the river.
If you live in the south and have ever spent any time outside, there's a good chance that you've had a run-in with a snake. While most of them are small and harmless, there's also snakes lurking in the water or the woods somewhere that you definitely don't want to mess with because they will bite you (and some of them are venomous). Keeping kids away from snakes is especially terrifying because, well, they see them as this super cool animal and not a potentially life-threatening species that they should actively try to avoid.
It's pretty here, sure, but the allergies that accompany all the flowers and trees are basically the bane of our outside existence.
The sun is no joke down here. If we aren't vigilant with our sunscreen, we'll end up looking like lobsters no matter how well we tan. Let's just say that sunscreen is a very real part of our summer budget.
Literally, always. Have I mentioned how hot it is?
Waterproof everything is the only way to not look like a bad representation of "The Joker" if you're stepping outside with a face-full of makeup.
Between the humidity constantly making them sticky, sweaty messes, and the mud they play in on the river bank, the puddles they jump in, the bugs they domesticate, and the exploring that they do outside, keeping our kids clean during the summer is a full time job. But as long as we've got enough clorox wipes and anti-bacterial soap on hand, we are more than happy to let them explore.
Summers in the south can sometimes be rough, sure, but they're also pretty incredible. One of the best parts of being here, especially in the summer, is the freedom to roam and the many, many incredible memories that can be made in the wide open spaces. Money can't buy the kind of playground that nature gave the south.