How to Survive Summer Break

by Abby on June 18, 2014

boys on a hammock, reading

The expectations will kill you. The expectation that, for example, on summer vacation the days will unfold at a relaxed pace, sun-soaked and languorous, breezy and balmy, a lemonade-and-coconut-oil-scented respite from the hustle and bustle of the school year.

In reality, I am awakened on Day 1 of summer vacation like this: “Mom! Mommy! MOMMM!! Can I play my DS? Daddy said no but I want to play that new game I got for my birthday and I already watched 2 shows and I know you said we only get 1 hour of screen time but they were really short shows and Riley made me watch and I didn’t want to use up my screen time on that so can I play my DS, Mom? Can I? Can I? Why NOT, Mommy?! No fair! I’m bored! Waaahhhhhh!!!”

Meanwhile, I have not pried my eyes open yet. He is arguing with an unconscious person. My husband starts the coffee, kisses us all goodbye, and dashes out the door. Traitor. I see it’s going to be up to me to fill these long, languorous days of summer. A friend sent me this link, which perfectly sums up my feelings: Dear Children, Let Me Explain this Thing Called Summer.

Remember when I quit summer? I’m trying to avoid that this year. I am setting the bar low. SUPER low. Too-low-to-limbo low. Boredom is a good thing. I am not responsible for other people’s happiness. My mantras are “figure it out,” “find something to do,” “that’s not my problem,” and “you’ll survive.”

This is what’s happening this summer at my house: the kids are going to camp and the sitter’s while I work. They are having an hour of quiet time every day after lunch, and no more than an hour of screen time per day. We are going to the pool and some parks and maybe a museum or the zoo a few afternoons a week. We are going to the library and the gym frequently. We are going to the beach for a week. And that’s it.

Repeat after me: boredom is good. Downtime is healthy. Independence should be encouraged. Mom is not the cruise director. Summer should be fun for everyone, including parents.

What are your plans for surviving summer break?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kathleen Basi June 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

HA! I haven’t really started summer break yet, because two of them are in summer school. This may be me in three weeks. Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I’m the one getting up at 5:30 a.m.!


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