Lazy, lazy summer daze. Why they are so important and why I’m so lucky.
There are many a day that I wish I could go back in time and choose another career path. But summertime, especially when I started having my boys, I realized that despite how completely exhausted and sometimes worthless I feel during the school year, I am so fortunate to have so much time to spend with my kids. I’m not a huge fan of those Facebook posts that tend to circulate around each summer about how we only have 18 summers with our kids so make them memorable. First of all, that implies our kids will never be around the summer they’re 18 and graduate from high school. If my kids are anything like me, they’ll be around plenty to work or to eat or do laundry. And second of all, why do family vacations have to stop once your children turn 18? That’s just silly. I’m 40 years old and have several planned family days with my parents and siblings each summer. Now, granted, my parents really only want to see their grandchildren during these visits, but I’m not too proud to mooch food off of my parents. I’ve even brought laundry to my parents house as a full grown adult with my own kids. I am telling you my dad must have been a dry cleaner in a past life, he can get a stain out of almost anything.
My point is, each time I see one of those posts, I feel a twinge of guilt. They make me pause and question if I should be doing more and planning out each and every summer day with my kids so we get the most of these 18 years. They make me feel like I am just not a good enough Mom. But then I come to my senses and think, Shut up stupid Facebook post. I’ll do what I want, and we’ll have a grand ole summer even if we are lazy. There are some days we sit around in our pajamas and binge watch TV together. Just yesterday I was able to watch Baby Mama with my 13 year old while the younger two were downstairs playing video games. Don’t judge. It was fun laughing at potty jokes with my teenage son. Would I have watched that if my 8 and 4 year old were upstairs with us? Probably not. But that is only because they would have been too loud for us to enjoy it. Before the movie was over, we decided to use the M&Ms I had bought to make cupcakes for my 4 year old’s birthday, but then decided against it because we still had leftover cupcakes from a small celebration with family, so we made cookie bars instead. None of this was planned out or involved us having to go somewhere to have fun. It was just us being lazy and enjoying each other’s company.
When things aren’t planned, impromptu trips to a hobby shop to find rock polishing supplies and then to not find any, but instead find weird little cheap treasures that cause the youngest to have a complete meltdown in the car of which we can laugh and make jokes about are able to happen. Such as, “Mom, Dominic should be the town’s tornado siren, he’s so loud.” Giggle giggle giggle. This is why I am so lucky. I can have lazy, relaxed days with my sons during the summer. These days may not produce vivid memories that will stay with them forever, but they will provide a sense of love and belonging and knowing they always have a relaxed, inviting place to come home to no matter what is going on in their life. Just like I still do with my parents. That to me is much more important than planned out events that I can post on my social media sites to make myself look like a good Mom. Now I just need to remember these relaxing, enjoyable days while I am in the thick of it during the school year…
Update on these July thoughts now that is in January.
I still believe strongly in the benefit of having a lazy, relaxed vacation schedule now that my winter break is coming to a close. And I discovered another thing that bothers me about those “You only have 18 summers with your children posts.” What about the parents that have to work all summer? Does that mean their children are having a worse summer or a bad childhood because they’re in daycare most of the summer? I was fortunate enough to have my dad home with us during my summers as a kid because he was a teacher, and my mom was able to take more days off so she was home more too. But aside from a few family adventures each summer, we didn’t go do something every single day. My dad didn’t have a planned schedule complete with arts and craft activities. Nope, we were told to go play, and we did, and I have nothing my squishy lovey feelings about my childhood. OK, rant over, I’m sure you get my point.