Summer has been officially kicked off, and to be honest I’m not quite sure how I feel. Due to choices 90% of my own making, I am a Consult From Home Mommy, which either means I have the perfect life for me, or am letting down pretty much everyone who comes in contact with me depending on the day and the state of my hormones. As much as my arrangement allows me time with my kids, time to use my grown-up skills (note I did not say adulting. I will not say adulting), and the ability to earn that stuff which we need to pay bills, my arrangement also often puts me in the predicament of experiencing the worst aspects of the stay at home mom and the work outside the home mom situation. And as if I didn’t need help in the angsting department, social media has kindly decided to remind me of all the things I should be worrying about this time of year.
The stay at home mom part of me is absolutely thrilled that summer is here because it means I get to hang out outside with my kids, go to the park, look for ants (don’t actually need to look too hard), stay up late, and play, play, play. That is also kind of the bad part. Not the stuff, just the expectation of doing so much of the stuff. I’m as bad as they are in that if it’s sunny I want to go outside and play in the sprinkler. But unlike them, I also have to clean the mud off of EVERYTHING, clean up picnic crumbs before the stupid ants overrun us, make sure no one gets food poisoning, and deal with the extra energy mixed with partial sleep deprivation. Oy!
But that’s only part of the story! There’s also a need to keep up on my consulting assignments and that side of my business is continuing to grow. Not only that, GRACE GROUP IS GETTING RELEASED—-EEEEEEEE (sorry, can’t help it) mid-June and that is requiring some time and energy as well. And inconveniently, the kids are on school break at that exact same time. Now we are very blessed because we have an angel who comes and helps with our kids for most of the day, but it’s going to shake up everyone’s schedule to have them home All. The. Time. And even though I want to be spending time playing and all that, whenever I can’t, there are always the sad looks and ‘Mommy, do you HAVE to work’ stabs that make it so hard.
And then there’s social media who makes sure I know at any given time that my parenting decisions are turning my kids into sociopaths at best and may be actually killing them worst case scenario. Not to mention the general expectations of Moms in general. Used to be, a woman of 45 years of age who had had babies (twins no less), had very low expectations of physical perfection to live up to. Well thanks a lot Beyonce, but that’s just not the case anymore.
So now, in addition to the usual dangers, there is an additional list of things to worry about, summer edition:
- Sunscreen or not to sunscreen (not a huge concern as my kids transition from light brown to dark brown in minutes and have never burned).
- Displaying the correct body-positive message to my daughter by ‘wearing the bathing suit’ as I’ve been admonished by social media, while still living with the reality that the expanse of oh-so-white exposed flesh is more vast and wobbly than ever before.
- Battling the intense desire to sit outside and read a book with the slightly less intense desire to keep my kids from disturbing the neighbors – all the neighbors – with the heated battle that inevitably ensues about which way the sprinkler is pointing.
- Should I give them popsicles (which I’m pretty sure make #NoBen loony due to the dye), ice cream (which besides not being cheap, is a little calorie-dense for as much as they want to eat it), or should I pop organic fruit into the freezer for natural treats? HAHAHAHAHAHA – just kidding on that last one.
- Trying to decide on almost a minute-by-minute basis if I should just drop everything to play, because they’re only this little once, or if I should put some limits on that $hi+ because a) it increases expectations that I can play ALL the time and b) could cause us to have no home or things if carried out to an extreme.
- Coming to terms with the fact that with three little kids, every adventure is going to be fraught with peril…or at least, fraught with arguments because everyone wants to do something different.
- Reaching a level of acceptance that when we DO hit the parental lottery of finding something that everyone likes to do, it’s almost worse due to the UNSPEAKABLE DRAMA of it having to end. Ugh. Just Ugh.
- Do I let them stay up late and watch sunsets and enjoy my favorite time of day with me, or do I reserve that for myself, as the fantasy of sharing my special time usually is dampened by the 2o minutes it takes to find shoes, and then water, and then ask why we’re going outside, and then playing in the dirt instead of watching the sunset, and then wanting to walk instead of sit, and then wanting to sit instead of walk, and then screaming at the top of their lungs when it’s time to go inside (our neighbors LOATHE us, I’m sure).
Despite the admittedly first world nature of ALL my summer problems, I’m still glad it’s here. At least, I thought it was here. After all, this is the PNW and just because it was summer over the weekend does NOT mean winter weather is a thing of the past!
What are your favorite summer activities?