Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I'm in a complete panic over summer. I can't afford for my kids to go to these fancy expensive camps, and I think we will all go insane if we hang out all summer. My husband is away traveling a lot. What should I do? Please answer before I have a nervous breakdown.
Dear Summer Panic,
Oh, here we go again. You know it’s late spring when the mommies start whining about the summer.
Let me guess: You looked at your calendar, saw that school is about to end and started to hyperventilate at the thought of spending 24 hours a day with your kids? Because we all know that even though childhood is fleeting and the kids grow up too fast, those truisms are suspended during the summer where time stands still. So the prospect of long summer days bleeding into one another, week after month was a bit too much on the ole nervous system, wasn’t it? You’ve looked into the future, and you see considerably fewer latte dates for you and your friends. And it’s going to be hard to squeeze in that yoga class when the kids are whining that they’re bored, hot and hate everyone. Boy, do I remember those days. They last for years.
Oh, I know you love your kids and cherish the time you spend together. I know that like most of us, you don’t wish your children’s youth away and that you will miss these carefree days once they’re gone. The reality, however, is that summer is long. And summer with bored kids is long to the nth power, where n equals “excuse me, is this Purgatory?” You are smart to want a plan.
And fortunately there is hope. (But don’t worry about those super-expensive camps, because any camps worth its salt, which is how I like to measure worth, obviously, has been booked for months. Sometimes waiting until the last minute is really a huge savings!) The hope that I am referring to is in the shape of the affordable local YMCA, the local public pool and the local Dear Lord, Where Can I Find a Mother’s Helper help wanted ads.
Seriously, check those out. Or better yet, look for a teenager at a local school (maybe contact the guidance counselor’s office for a recommendation of a student that is looking for part-time work rather than sit in a van and watch the students walk by). You won’t even need to hire anyone full-time, just a few hours a day to give you a break and remind you of the days that the kids are blissfully occupied in school.
And don’t forget to have some unstructured time for you and the kids. We parents so often plan activities for our children that there is little opportunity for the children to get really old-fashioned bored. Which sometimes leads to great creativity and inner strength. Or so I’ve heard. I have WiFi, so I don’t know from boredom.
Between that and the local Y, you should be all set. Let me know when’s a good time to meet for lattes.
More from parenting