The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Summer Break – A Nervous Breakdown in Four Acts

Summer Break – Act 1 (The First Day)

Mom (eyelids popping open at 5AM on the dot with terror at the realization): THE KIDS ARE OUT OF SCHOOL!!! Shitshitshit. I need a plan. It’s going to be ok. Everything will be ok with a plan. And plans start with lists. I just need to make a list.

*Gets out paper and pen and writes Things to accomplish this summer at the top.*

First needs to be ‘Go to the Dentist’ because that’s one of those things you do in the summer to get it over with, right? Although we didn’t go last summer… or the summer before. So the point is, we really, really need to go to the dentist this summer.

Also, the little one still isn’t swimming by himself. And he is definitely too old for that shit. But every time I put him in lessons he screws around and snows the teacher and learns nothing. So I pay $175 for a month of bullshit. OK, I’m taking this into my own hands. I taught swim lessons for years in high school and college, there’s no reason I can’t teach my own kid how to swim, right? We’ll just go to the pool every day until he can swim across the pool. NBD.

What else? The middle one needs tutoring for reading and writing, so I need to get that set up and confirmed. And they each need a regular physical activity and a creative one. There’s a skateboarding/parkour gym not to far from us. I’ll look into classes there. And Mesa Center for the Arts has ceramics classes for all ages. That should work.

We also need a family “Summer Project”. I know! We’ll make a Lego/origami stop-motion movie together! It will be so fun! We’ll probably get famous after it’s done and have our own reality show about how we make movies together as a family, each using our own individual creativity and skills to create great collaborative works of art.

And of course we need to clean out and reorganize their bedrooms. Plus there will be absolutely no TV or video games until after 4PM and we are definitely not eating out. I’m going to plan all of our meals for the week and grocery shop on Mondays so we can have wholesome, inexpensive meals all summer.

I think that’s it!

  • Go to the dentist
  • Teach the youngest to swim
  • Reading tutoring for the middle
  • Parkour classes for the oldest
  • Skateboarding lessons for the other two
  • Ceramics class for all
  • Family Lego/origami stop-motion movie
  • Clean out and reorganize bedrooms
  • No TV/video games until after 4PM
  • No eating out

I don’t know what I was freaking out about, this summer is going to be great! If I just calendar everything out and allot the appropriate amount of time for each activity, we’ll be able to enjoy the summer in a fun, creatively stimulated, healthy way. This is going to be the best summer ever.

Act 2 (The end of week 1.):

Mom: Huh. So going to the pool every day is not only exhausting and time-consuming, but creates more laundry than Lindsay Lohan on a press-junket for an ill-fated made for TV Movie. And now I don’t have time to do any laundry because when I’m not driving one kid to an activity, I’m entertaining the others because I won’t let them watch TV or play video games. AND THE FEEDING. My god, the feeding. I get up and make breakfast. Once that is all picked up it’s roughly 19 minutes before it’s time to start lunch. And before I can even think about walking away from the kitchen the fruit needs to be cut up for snacks and it’s time to start dinner.

So far the skateboarding and parkour is going pretty well, but those classes are in direct conflict with my workout schedule, so that’s out the window.

Oh shit, and we haven’t worked on the stop-motion movie in days. In fact, we haven’t gotten past setting up the camera and the lights. Fuckfuckfuck. I’m instilling in my children the habit of starting projects that never get finished. I’m raising failures right now. That’s what I’m doing.

Can’t forget to clean their rooms. When will I have time to do that?? We don’t even have time for the tutoring homework!

And I haven’t made the dentist appointment yet.

I need to redouble my efforts.

Act 3 (Three weeks in.)

Mom: OK, guys, I’m going to swing through In and Out Burger and get food for lunch. You can eat it in the car if you promise you won’t spill on the upholstery. You need to pause your video games and look at the menu to tell me what you want me to order. I need to run into Walgreens on the way home really quick so I can get more wine.

When we get home you can watch TV if you want. I think there’s a Dirty Jobs marathon on. I just need you to leave me alone for a few hours. I have to send some emails and then I really need to take a nap. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from you people and fulfilling your wants and needs every moment of every day. It’s summer, right? Naps are ok. I think naps are a summer thing. Please just don’t talk to me until it’s time to get ready to go to ceramics class. Please?

Act 4 (The end of summer.)

Mom: I’mneveraloneI’mneveraloneI’mneveralone. I just want to be alone. Like more than I want to breathe. I’m being crushed to death under the warm, suffocating weight of family-togetherness. It’s almost over, right? I think it’s almost over. I looked at the calendar and I’m pretty sure they go back to school soon. Even though we didn’t finish the stop-motion movie, they ate more fast food than pregnant Britney Spears and no one in our family has qualified for the XGames yet, I haven’t murdered any of them, so I’m pretty sure if I can just finish this out, I win at summer. Winning is what I’m doing right now. Winning in the non-homicide sense. And what more, really, can be expected of a parent?

… oh shit. We never went to the dentist.




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