5 Reasons Summer Is Way Better For Moms

During the school year, I try to take the same approach, but it's impossible to live as slowly and simply when most of your day has a timeline. My favorite part about summer is the ability, for three short months, to stop looking at the clock or calendar and to start enjoying the present.

Every year, as summer approaches and the school year begins to wind down, I find myself getting a little... panicky. Part of the reason is that by June I've lost all the fucks I once had to give about my kids' schooling ("Are you at least passing? Well, community college will still take you!") and schools insist on scheduling massive projects and events when the rest of us are completely over it ("You need to dress up like a pioneer to walk the fucking Oregon Trail? What?"). But mostly, it's the prospect of spending three months completely alone with my children that gets my heart racing.

I love my kids, don't get me wrong. All seven of them. Yes, seven. Including three sets of twins. But I also love having time to think in complete sentences and poop alone. School gives me that blessed gift, and for that I am eternally grateful. Plus, my kids attend pretty awesome schools, so I can even feel good about their time there. It's a win-win!

When that little bastion of school sanity is suddenly ripped away from me, I get extremely a little afraid of how I'm going to survive the next few months. But, as the years have gone by, and now that I've managed to successfully get one child nearly to adulthood, I've learned that summer, while anxiety-inducing, can actually be really fucking awesome — with the right mindset.

1. No more school lunches

Can I get a hallelujah for this? Every goddamn day of the school year, I got up and made breakfast for my little ones. Then, while they ate to the sound of me yelling, "Where are your shoes? Go feed the dogs! Brush your teeth! Wait, no, oh my God, get in the car, we are going to be late!" I got to pack their lunches. And snacks. Great. 

My kids have special dietary needs and I have this annoying passion for food. So every godforsaken thing in their lunches is an organic whole food, packed bento-style. Times two. Because WHY THE FUCK NOT? On our first day of summer, I woke up, looked at the clock, and went back to sleep. "Lunch" was the same bento-style shit thrown into one large bag and shared at the park. No school lunches is reason alone to celebrate! 

2. Routine? What routine?

I used to be a big organizer and planner. I also used to be kind of an asshole. These days, I just don't give a fuck. I mean, sure, I have various things I have to do, but I avoid creating strict routines as much as possible. Public school is basically my ruination. My kids have to be up, dressed, fed, and relatively presentable at the exact same time every day. And it sucks.

Summer gives us the freedom to eat dinner at 8 p.m., eat s'mores in the backyard over a fire at 9 p.m., and sleep in the next day! We can eat breakfast when we are hungry instead of at the ass-crack of dawn, and we actually have time to just...be. While a return to routine will be welcome come fall, for now I will embrace every last unscripted spontaneous moment.

3. More chores means a sparkling house!

Kids are fucking filthy, don't get me wrong. But if you make them do chores, you can really leverage their slave labor to enjoy a clean house. My kids always do one chore per day. According to them, this rule is oppressive and is infringing upon their right to...something. But it's definitely against their freedom. 

Violations of their civil rights aside, chores are a good thing. I'm not talking about intense cleaning here, but each child will vacuum or clean a bathroom — simple stuff like that. During the summer, I increase their chores to two per day, and that's when my house begins to sparkle. Eventually, because I have so many kids, my house is clean enough that I make them start organizing closets and doing my clearly quite belated "spring" cleaning. And my inner clean freak rejoices. 

4. BBQing is a thing

Since I'm a foodie, I try to eat interesting foods. But sometimes I would rather have my eyes pecked out by birds than make another meal, much less do any meal planning or grocery shopping. My teens each cook one dinner per week, which is fabulous, but I still have to come up with foods to eat. And my kids are almost as annoyingly food snobby as I am. One of my sons told me last week that our spaghetti dinner was really the "bare minimum" he could tolerate because he doesn't like processed foods. Get a job and buy us some fucking steaks then, kid.

Anyway, during the summer I don't even have to think about it. I can just grill everything. We have almost no prep, quick and easy cooking, and minimal dishes (but the kids do those, anyway, muahaha!). Summer grilling is basically the best thing ever. 

5. Time is a gift 

Okay, it's cheesy, but it's true. As much time as I spend with my kids during the school year –– and trust me, it's a lot — there is something different about the pace of summer. Time slows down, the days lengthen, and we make memories in some of the most unexpected moments. 

While I love to travel and see the world, the years have taught me that landmarks become blurred memories, and trying to do everything makes us all tired and cranky. And you do NOT want to see seven kids simultaneously go to the cranky place, believe me. My favorite moments are often very simple ones, and years later my kids' memories are of the small things, too. My teenagers barely remember the whirlwind of activities we once engaged in, but fondly recall a day I let them have ice cream for dinner. 

There is so much less pressure now. I finally recognize that moments always trump milestones, and it's impossible to predict when those special memories will happen. Instead of trying to force it, I've learned to just give myself and my kids the time and space for them to happen organically. That means slow and simple road trips, weeks spent camping, lazy beach days, endless afternoons chasing chickens in the backyard, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, and hours upon hours without any plan at all.

During the school year, I try to take the same approach, but it's impossible to live as slowly and simply when most of your day has a timeline. My favorite part about summer is the ability, for three short months, to stop looking at the clock or calendar and to start enjoying the present.

Especially now that my teenagers are old enough to babysit!

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