We're 2 weeks into summer break, and to be honest, I'm tired already. We've had daily play dates, swim lessons, and lots of kid requests for more activities. I've run through my usual toolbox of entertainment ideas, and it's time to get some new ideas. When your 7-year-old, who spent the first month of the school year crying about having to go to school, tells you she misses school, it's a clue that you aren't keeping her busy enough, even though we haven't stopped moving since school got out.
Last summer the girls were in summer school for six weeks, and it's a luxury I'm missing this time around. This summer we're living on a tight budget, which means free activities and no childcare for me. Having kids with me all day every day means they get to help me squeeze in all of those boring and practical errands around the park trips and visits to friends' houses, and I can tell you they aren't a fan of watching me clean the house or try to fix the broken clothes dryer or trim the dog's nails. I'm not sure what kind of parties they thought I was throwing when they were at school, but they seem disappointed by the lackluster quality of my days.
"Is this what you do all day?" my 5-year-old asked. The answer is yes and no. I had a lot more free time when they were in school all day. And only half as much housework. It's amazing how much harder it is to keep a house clean when there are two kids in it all day. You never catch up!
"Well, this and writing," I told her. They also promised me writing time. Then interrupted me every three minutes with questions and demands and fights I had to break up. So, the writing is mostly in my head these days, stored up until my precious few hours when their grandpa and step-grandma have them and I can rush to get it all down on paper before it evaporates.
Next week we have our first summer trip planned. Well, our only summer trip. Just a three-day getaway with my mom, sister, and niece, to a big hotel/casino with a bunch of pools. The girls can't wait. Three days of swimming! An arcade! An ice cream stand in the lobby of the hotel! My sister and I are looking forward to some sisterly bonding time while grandma watches the girls. And I'm looking forward to three days of not hearing the words "I'm bored" or "what else are we going to do today?"
After that, who knows? I have 9 more weeks to fill. That's a lot of play dates to schedule. A lot of messes to clean up. A lot more errands to drag kids around on. It's also a lot more afternoons of chatting with friends while our kids play together. More hot afternoons sitting in the shade attempting to write while my girls splash in their kiddie pools out back. More experimenting with making snow cones in the blender. More family hikes where the girls search for unicorn hoof prints while the dog runs his endless energy out. More puppet shows to put on with them. More memories to make so that when they are back in school I can miss them and their silly jokes and crazy antics and impatient morning wake-up kisses like crazy. Because that's how it is being a mom. When the school grind is 8 months old you can't wait for summer to get a break from it. And when summer is dragging on you start to wonder how you'll survive until school rolls around again.