Friday, June 12, 2015

I Love Summer Break (and Might Be Nuts)

As I type this, my two kids are fighting. One stole something from the other (a fuzzy from her pants?) and the other is passively-aggressively retaliating in the hopes I won't realize what she is doing. This morning they argued about cereal. Later, the smaller one got kicked in the face by the older one who was "just dancing, mom!"

This is the way it is with those two girls. It just goes on...and on....and on....each time they are together and I can't regulate their interactions, arguments quite often ensue.

So you'd think the thought of spending an entire summer with both kids at home all day would make me want to invent a Mom Ship capable of blasting me into the next universe and replacing myself with a robot that sings and can cook dinner.

But that's not the case. I am so, so excited for my big girl to be home from school. I am honestly ecstatic about this summer. Yep. I might be nuts. But hear me out.

Older Kid Help
My big girl is 9. She washes things, can carry things, clean things, read things, make things, replace things, feed things, entertain things, and pretty much care for herself. She is an immense help. I don't get this kinda help when she's in school all day. No, during the school year I get a tired kid at the end of the day with piles of homework and not enough time in the day to complete her schoolwork and chores. It's exhausting to her and to me. Having her home frees up her time so she spends only a little bit of time working and the rest of the time being a kid. It's glorious. I get my help and she gets her relaxation. Win-win. Her help allows me to find the time to do stuff like this with my lawn mower:

Oh yeah, I'm going there. I get school. I love school. I feel blessed to have the educational resources we have in this country. But some stuff, some stuff I truly value, isn't taught in school. I am an art-biology-music person. School these days is a bit more math-and-technology focused. I get it. I support it. But you know what I'd support more? A school that allowed my kid to take some time at the end of her long school day to be focused on home, family, and freedom. She is gone from 8:20AM to 4:00PM Monday through Friday. When she gets home she's obligated to complete at least another hour's worth of homework. In 3rd grade.

So what does that mean for me? It means I can't have her learn how to cook during the school year because she needs that hour after school before dinner to do more schoolwork. It means I can't show her how to cage up the chickens at the end of the night because she's in the shower early so she can get up early and head back to school. It means I choose not to give her as much responsibility because I'd rather she take the 60 minutes leftover between dinner and shower time to go outside and .... I dunno.... play.

Now again, I am thankful for her public school. But I am also thankful for the opportunity each summer to teach her how to plant her own food.

I am thankful for the opportunity to teach her how to wash dishes, do the laundry, make a meal, clean the chicken coop, identify edible weeds, and learn more about actual living.

I love summer because I finally have the excuse to go to museums, the library, botanical gardens, arboretums, and any freakin festival I want.

I don't need to feel like I'm breaking routine, or worry about getting home in time for the bus, or freak out if I serve dinner late. It's all good - no school tomorrow. Might as well stay at the museum a little longer - no school tomorrow. Might as well let them stay up a little later - no school tomorrow. It's great to have the excuse to be childish and semi-irresponsible for a couple months.

My First Time
This is the very first summer I've personally been able to experience my two kiddos without work or school. Don't get me wrong, I am still working at night, on the weekends, and for 11-12 hours a day 3 days a week, but those other 2 days of the week? Glorious. I look forward to them with the brilliance of a thousand suns. I am gloriously happy to have those 2 days each week to love on my kids. I'm overwhelmingly grateful to even have the chance to experience them like this.

Book and Movie Days
It rains a lot here in the early summer. Nothing is better than waking up to two sleepy-eyed kids who want nothing more than to stay under blankets all day to read books and watch movies. It's a dream come true, people...especially for those of us who write for a living. Best of both worlds - happy kids and the ability to work? Fantastic.

Endless Possibility
I thrive on my imagination. For a while there, when things got truly rough for me, I went on AirBnB and just scanned thousands upon thousands of places I could potentially someday go. It's calming for me to think of the future, dream of the possibilities. I wake up each day with this huge sense of "maybe" in, maybe we'll go to the park today...or maybe we'll have an adventure in a new town....or maybe today will be the day I get an email from someone who wants to give me a book deal to write things like this (I'm tellin' ya, imagination rules).

These thoughts are lovely and comforting and help me realize there is more to life than just sitting around, doing the same thing every day. There is more to life than a job that keeps you from the things that in life that really matter to you. There is more to life than worrying about your kids arguments for the nineteenth time today. There is more to life...and since I'm in charge of my life, I can make this life whatever the hell I please. The freedom is exhilarating and motivating....even if nothing actually changes because of these early-morning summer thoughts. It's a beautiful way to start the day nonetheless.

So yes, the arguing sucks. The vast amount of yard work sucks. The bored whining sucks. The fact that the best weather days never seem to happen on the weekends sucks. But there are many more amazing things about summer break that can transform it into a time of renewal and learning for you and yours.

And what about you guys? Do you love summer break? Hate it? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below! Thank you very much for reading and I hope you each have an amazing weekend :)


  1. This sounds glorious. When your kids are all grown up I bet they will look back and talk about this summer when their mom was home. Have a great one.

    p.s. Love the I was "just dancing, mom!" So true and being the oldest of six can relate.

    1. Aww thanks Savvy :) I certainly hope so....although I'm sure they'll remember the screaming mommy, too.....I'm a huge yeller. Hoping the good outweighs the bad haha!

      And I only wish I loved the dancing kick in the face as much as you do! That kid got grounded from electronics for the rest of the day!

  2. Did my comment go through? This is awesome! I am so happy you are thriving and able to just bask in the gloriousness of summer. I am doing the same for the first time ever and it ROCKS. Even though they are total jerkfaces to each other!

    1. HAHA Isn't it glorious!!?!?! I am so happy to even have the opportunity, seriously. What a blessing.

  3. Yes! I agree it's nice to be able to relax a bit and not be on such a stringent schedule like the school year enforces. It'll be nice to go to the pool and visit the library during the middle of the week. Museums I still reserve for the weekends since i work during the workday and it's a pain in the hoo-ha sometimes going during the week. It's OK because there's still lots of fun local stuff to do. My kiddo is 8 and hes' going to be in a recreational program having a blast so he won't be stuck on a tablet all day. That's the thing technology dominates these kids - at least mine and those I know here Lol. It's nice to be able to change the pace a bit even though I"m just as guilty of being on a laptop ALL DAMN DAY. Hope the summer is all those things and then some for you and your two little girls Jen! :) This is the last week of school and thank you for reminding me indirectly - need to get the teacher something - she's AWESOME! Have a great one Jen :) -Iva

  4. I love the movie days. So fun.

    But I do miss my quiet a lot.