It’s that time again, guys. Within a few weeks all of our kids will be home for summer break, annoying us between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. If we work at home or stay at home and don’t get credit for our work, we’ll be busy at a time when we are normally freed from the chains of whining, fighting, making unreasonable requests and expecting some sort entertainment every fucking second of the day. If you’re working, you’ll pay a hell of a lot more for some other poor sucker at a daycare or summer camp to deal with this shit but either way – it’s coming.
Meredith, over at That’s Inappropriate, published a video this week that really tugged at my heartstrings. It brought tears to my eyes and left me with a panic attack for the remainder of the afternoon. That’s right, her manifesto on Summer Vacation struck fear in the hearts of parents across the country. But it’s time to gird our loins and prepare, guys, because SUMMER IS COMING.
Yes, that first coffee of the day we enjoy in absolute serenity and quiet, feeling like we’re one with the universe will now be choked down over our kids yapping about Pokémon while eating two bowls of Cocoa Krispies, despite our plans to make healthy breakfasts all summer. And if you’ve got your own little litter, they’ll inevitably be fighting while doing this. Singletons will fight with the dog. Our time at the computer working, writing, shopping or whatever we all do at home will be interrupted every few seconds with a request that involves YOU.
“Can you make me popcorn?”
“Can we go to the pool?”
“I want to go to Toys R Us and get a toy.”
“Mom, the dog is eating a brick.”
“I can’t get the TV to work.”
“Mommy, can you come look at this poop?”
I don’t know about you but my brain doesn’t work like this in my old age. I can’t get shit done without complete silence. How the hell do teenagers do homework with music blasting in their ear, anyway?
And they expect ACTIVITIES. They’ll want to make edible slime that they saw crafted by some adult woman with the voice of a four-year-old on Youtube. They’ll get the great idea to spend $10 per head on admission to some inflatable jump place that makes you consider putting Visine in your own coffee so that you get the runs and are forced to stay home. Does going to the zoo in 100-degree temperatures sound like win time for you? No? Well prepare yourselves because these are the types of requests that are bound to come up in the first week of “vacation.”
As we usher in June we’re also expected to have an endless supply of money. In between wanting toys they don’t need and overpriced iPad apps, kids will expect things like food. No problem, you say, I’ve been making my kids a healthy lunch all year and sending it with them in a cute, little bento box. Or you’ve been throwing large deposits on their lunch accounts. $2.20 a day isn’t bad but that’s before they add on the ice cream, Doritos, upcharge for some strange fruit juice or a bottle of water and buy all of the same for their friends. Everyone’s bitching about Michelle Obama and her cafeteria rules but unless I militantly check the account the one time per week I let me kid buy her lunch at school, she sure is still getting a lot of junk food. I see you, kid; I see you.
BUT – That’s what they consume when they’re at school. You see, at school, there are rules. There is structure and times to start, eat, play, and stop. At home, they’ll rise at 5 a.m. or 11 a.m; whatever is least convenient for you on any given day. They’ll expect meals or snacks every 15 minutes and they will literally eat you out of house and home. They’ll stay up until past midnight (or until A.M. as my kid says) and learn to do hoodrat stuff with their friends while they’re out running the neighborhood all day long.
Three weeks out and it’s already overwhelming. But I’m going to help you out. Because I’m a real friend, I’ve put together a little Cheat Sheet to help you survive summer and get us to that fourth Monday in August.
Cheat Sheet to Surviving Summer Break With Kids:
1. Invest in some really great earplugs so that you can tune that shit out whenever you need to. Or maybe some drugs. Sure, see if your doctor will hook you up. I’ve never been medicated but Spring Break made the idea sound awesome. Train your brain to not hear anything uttered in that whiney, high-pitched register that they revert to when they don’t get what they want. Remain calm and focused in the face of total horse shit. The ear plugs or drugs will help with this. Or some vodka poured into your Diet Cherry Limeaide if you’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon at home. Do what you need to do.
2. Give up on the idea of organized activities. Look, you can’t amuse them everyday. There are only so many cheap summer matinees you can attend at the local movie theatre. There’s a finite number of Pinterest crafts you can muster up the energy to orchestrate. Resolve yourself to the fact that many days will be you pointing to the front door and sending their asses outside to amuse themselves.
3. Consider another income stream. Between the food, activities and “fun summer crafts” that you are loftily pinning on Pinterest, your bank account’s already got agita. Freelancer or truck stop hooker? Start a life coaching business or sell your dirty underwear on the internet? It’s up to you but you’re definitely going to need more moola to keep up during the summer months.
4. Set a fucking bedtime. It’s nice to say that you’re doing this for their benefit and adding structure will help them all summer but let’s be honest – you really need them in bed by 9 p.m. so that you can detox for two hours before you completely crash. You need time to tap into your DVR and watch last week’s Leftovers or do all of the things that you normally do during the day that they interrupt. Quiet time is a necessity and a right. Send their asses up to bed!
5. Be a part of a village. Those seven hours that they’re normally following the school schedule and cared for by their amazing teachers just became your responsibility again and you can’t do it alone. Help a friend out. Trade off keeping an eye on the little vultures. If you see my kid doing something stupid somewhere in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll scream at her or smack her depending on how stupid whatever she just did was and probably text me so that I can scream at her again when she gets home. Help your brothers and sisters out by feeding a few kids popsicles if they’re sitting in your garage. It’ll pay off in the end, per the laws of Parenting Karma.
Yes, summer is coming but we can do this. We’re all in this together guys. Let’s band together like the real patriots we are and make the next twelve weeks work. Got any suggestions for getting through the summer? Comment and let people know!