They say if you love something, let it go...so it’s been swell, summer, but I’m ready to say goodbye.
We had some good times: weekends at the cottage, family hikes, backyard barbecues with friends, outdoor concerts, ice cream cones on a hot day. We were loose about bedtime and meal times and honestly, I’m not sure when my kids last had a proper bath (we’ve been swimming a lot and I have decided that’s close enough).
But it’s also been a hot, sweaty mess and I’m over it.
I’m craving routine - sleep patterns I’m not ashamed of, a consistent daytime schedule, 5pm weeknight family dinners followed by homework and showers and a few stories before bed. Swimming lessons every Tuesday and weekends that are jammed with all the quality time we can handle. That predictable, boring, suburban family life stuff that’s as comforting as it is mundane.
I’m ready to know what’s happening from week to week without checking my calendar three hundred times. Are the kids in camp? Do we have a babysitter? Do my husband and I have any days off, and if so, what are we going to do because THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY DAYS OFF, Lord knows, so we’d better make it count. Is that peach festival happening? Or apple fest? Or maybe the butter tart festival? So many damn festivals, and we didn’t go to any of them. Are those friends visiting from out of town? Is there a wedding or a baby shower or a family barbecue we’re supposed to be at this weekend? (Summer is the height of event season, even when you’re a 35-year-old mom with a limited social calendar.)
I’m also done with paying for childcare. My kids are 6 and 8 years old, so I’ve become very accustomed to the public school system taking them out of the house all day while I work. In the summer, we choose between day camps and a patchwork of babysitters, both of which cost an arm and a leg. Come September, my bank account will be a little bit happier (until Christmastime, at least).
I’m ready for my kids to learn something new from someone other than me because I’m told them all the things I know and now my brain is horribly, blissfully empty. We’ve done all the crafts. We’ve baked all the things. I’ve answered SO MANY QUESTIONS and they’ve watched like 25 episodes of Nailed It! on Netflix because damn, Summer 2019, you were very thunderstorm-y. We may have started out with very little screen time but it’s late August and I’ve given up. Nicole Byers is now raising my children. I trust this will end well.
Finally, I’m ready for the great equalizer that back to school provides for all parents. Summer is super hectic for stay-at-home moms who have to act as parent, housekeeper, camp counsellor, Jurassic Park-style raptor tamer and snack-bitch to her beloved offspring, who will be home all day long for two whole months. This is a big job (I’ve been there) but the upside is that you get to spend a lot of time with your kids. (Similarly, the downside is that you spend SO MUCH TIME with your kids.)
As a working mom, summer means extra layers of mom guilt because instead of doing all of the above, you’re...working. Your kids are with someone else. Which shouldn’t make you feel guilty, but it does. I often find myself making mental lists of all the things I want to do with my kids - day trips to the beach, berry picking at a local farm, checking out that field of sunflowers nearby, finally visiting the children’s museum a few towns over - and instead, I just work every day. My kids are perfectly happy running through the sprinkler with their babysitter, of course, but personally, I can’t shake that summer pressure and guilt (and I know I’m not alone).
So, thank you, summer, for all the good times we had - there genuinely were a lot. I enjoyed the fireworks and the long weekends and all those awesome, warm nights when I let the kids stay up waaaaay too late eating far too many popsicles because why the hell not. But like a summer fling in college that was never meant to last, this season is over and I’m not particularly sad about it. I’ll remember the good times fondly, but I’ll also breathe a sigh of relief because change is good. Fall is good, routine is good, and I need this. A lot of us do. In a few short weeks, I’ll be drinking a fall-themed latte while wearing my favourite boots again and summer will be nothing but a pleasant scene in my rear view mirror - and I’m really, really okay with that.