The teacher in me – and let’s face it, the kid in me too – loves the countdown to summer vacation. The last month in school is enough to make anyone a little bat s#%t crazy. It’s hot, the kids are off the chain, and the teachers are in desperate need of Bailey’s in their iced coffee just to make it through the morning. School becomes less of a learning environment and more like a Chuck E Cheese (only without the ball pit or prizes). So, the glorious countdown to freedom provides a glimmer of hope.
As a mom who will now have to entertain two wild monkeys during this summer break, the countdown feels less like a New Year’s Eve party and more like a stick of dynamite ready to explode in the last few minutes of a MacGyver episode. Moms and Dads out there, get ready to break up squabbles over whose turn it is with what toy only 20 minutes in to a new day. Prepare for the litany of: “What are we doing today?” “I’m bored.” “I’m hungry.” “He started it.” “I swallowed a penny.” Wait, what?
My original thought was to write about both the fun crafts you could do this summer with your kids, and the educational field trips you can strap your fanny pack on for…but the truth is there are approximately seven days left until Alice Cooper belts out “School’s Out for Summer” and I am afraid, very afraid. I plan on preparing for the worst, hoping for the best, and expecting some madness.
Here are some survival tips I would recommend to get you through the “dog days” of summer.
- Stock up on wine, Xanax, or a punch card for power yoga. Whatever will keep your breathing controlled, your patience in check, and a smile on your face.
- Let the kids run amok outside and deal with being hot. See what they can find in this magical world known as nature. They will surprise themselves with what they can come up with – worm cities, mud pies, pet rocks, etc. Of course, they’re also bound to come home with poison ivy and mosquito bites, so keep the Calamine and Benadryl on tap.
- That being said, find a camp to send the kids to for at least some of the time. Little people need other little people to run crazy with. They are kind of like chickens.
- Get yourself a good book. You probably will never have time to open it, but the thought of it will make you temporarily happy. Plus, it could make for a good coaster for your margarita.
- Get comfortable with sunblock encrusted sand just about everywhere. Seriously, don’t try to fight it. It will be gone come October in time for dried brown leaves to follow your children inside every time they burst through the door.
- Plan to visit friends you don’t always get to see with the rigid school schedules. Blast some summer jams on the way. Throw the windows down, put your shades on, and pretend that you are not driving a family friendly motor vehicle. See if you can get there before you have to threaten to “turn this car around!” Like that ever works. These idle threats are lost on kids today. We are not nearly as badass as our parents were back in the day. My dad legit pulled the car over and had my brother walk home. Back seat was silent after that.
- Make s’mores over a bonfire and tell your kids scary stories of the olden days when there was no such thing as day camps or swim clubs. When summer fun was riding bikes with no helmets and baseball cards in the spokes to make it sound like a motorcycle. Where the only relief from the non air-conditioned heat was when your neighbor bought a sprinkler and the small blast of water against your knees when it swung back over to your side was a simple joy in life.
- Picnic outside as much as possible. You don’t even need to make it Pinterest worthy with fruit in the shapes of cute sailboats or sandwiches made to look like puppies. You could just cut a wedge of watermelon for your kid (old school). Trust me, they will not need therapy in 12 years because Mommy didn’t make their food cute enough. Note to self: Delete pin board on cute summer treats, take own advice.
- Come to grips with the sad reality of the mom-tan. It’s not hot. There is no bikini strap line. Your neck will not tan because you are constantly looking down at your kids. You will have a flip flop tan on your feet from sitting at one too many lacrosse games. Brace yourself to be mortified when you put on a cute sundress for a night out and notice that only your lower calves and back of your shoulders have any color. Invest in a sunless tanner or give up the dream, girl.
- Let your hair down. (Side note – this will help to hide the no neck tan). But I also mean, don’t be too uptight about maintaining a schedule. Go to the beach on a whim, have a water balloon fight, and watch a lot of sunsets and fireworks together. Remember how fun summer vacation was for you as a kid!
P.S. Come July 1st feel free to start your own private “Countdown to School” chart. No judgment here.