It’s summertime! Children everywhere are happy and free. Oh yes, the little people of the world are running, playing, splashing in pools – and loving life. And, then there are the mamas. The ones who must keep said children from running into traffic, fighting with their siblings and uttering the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored!” every three minutes… for the next two-plus months.
Let’s be real: Along with sun, family memories and carefree kids, most of my summers as a parent have involved varying degrees of panic and exhaustion. While I don’t want to take away from the wonder of summer vacation, I know you’re hearing me. Summer can be HARD.
But, before we band together and revolt against summer break entirely, let’s acknowledge that in the midst of seemingly non-existent bedtimes, a steep incline in the grocery bill, and a whole lot of togetherness, there are some perks to this time of year for us moms, too.
The jam-packed schedule goes bye-bye.
If you ask me what day of the week it is during the summer, there is a 50/50 chance that I will give you the right answer. And, there is beauty in that. My color-coded calendar looks like a rainbow threw up on it for at least seven months out of the year. The fact that I have the freedom to kick my regular schedule to the curb during the months of June and July is… exhilarating. Sure, kids thrive with structure and routine, but it is also good for their little souls to take a break and just be. And, admit it – you’re ready to say goodbye to early wake-ups, homework charts and rushing home from work to make soccer practice, too!
Traffic is light.
This is a game changer, especially for any mom who works outside of the house. With scores of school buses and carpooling parents out of the equation, the morning roadways in Atlanta are actually, dare I say – moving – right now! And, that doesn’t even account for all of the commuters who are working a scaled-back schedule or are off to the beach for vacation. If you or your spouse’s commute adds a level of stress to your family’s life during the school year, summertime is a welcome change.
It’s vacation time!
I know what you’re thinking: “Vacation? Have you ever traveled with a toddler?” Let me remind you that I am the mother of four children. I promise that there’s no one who understands better than me how challenging it can be to road trip it with kids. But, there is also something to be said for getting away from the daily grind and unplugging, even with little ones in tow. Am I the only one who thinks temper tantrums are easier to handle when I have the sound of breaking waves as my backdrop? And, let’s not forget what vacations are really for – making memories. Whether that means that your kids get to reunite with their cousins or meet Mickey Mouse for the first time, most summer trips are well worth the effort.
You get a chance to BREATHE.
This will mean something different for everyone. For me, breathing is just staying in my pajamas a few hours longer if I want to, and finally having my neighbors over for dinner because we both have room in our schedules to make it happen. What does it look like for you? Is it finishing that book that you’ve been putting off, staying up late to catch a movie that your family has been wanting to see, or simply watching your kids hunt for fireflies in the backyard after dinner? Summer may be just the time for you revisit some things you’ve been longing to do for months.
So, the next time you look at the clock to see if it’s close to bedtime and it’s only 3 p.m., just remember, the leaves will be changing and the kids will be back in school before you know it. But, for now, just hold on to the bright side of summer and let that help you through.