When Summer’s Not Always So Fun

All we did was go to the park. 

I mean, it's the park

And yet it involved at least an hour of preparation, one massive diaper change right when I tried to walk out the door, two kids falling down and breaking into tears, many attempts at packing a lunch everyone would eat, sunscreen application, keys located, mediation over the “good” seat in the car, and, oh my goodness, by the time we got there, I was already exhausted. 

I want summer to be fun for my kids, I really do. 

But sometimes, I have to admit: summer's not always so fun.  

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Image via j&j brusie photography

Maybe it's the fact that I seem to always be pregnant in the summer, but in some ways, summer seems like a lot of work, doesn't it?

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Our kids these days are a bit ridiculous. They demand to be entertained, and then there's the lunchtime negotiations that surely they don't do at school, and if someone asks me one more time to watch TV all day, I might explode.

And then probably give in.

Because the truth is, I want my kids to have a happy, lazy, carefree, adventurous summer —

But I don't necessarily want to be the one to give it to them.

Do I sound like a horrible parent?

Well, maybe I am, but I am sticking soundly to my guns as a full-fledged grown-up when I say things aren't like they used to be. As a kid, I wandered the woods and camped in the backyard and spent afternoons reading book after book, not because it was on my mother's Pinterest-ready “summer bucket list,” but because they were the things I wanted to do—and thought of entirely on my own. 

Sometimes, it feels like so much work to not only want my kids to have the same kind of magical childhood that most of us got to experience, but to take away all the modern parenting habits that threaten to squash it: the screens everywhere, the exhaustion from our 24/7 hands-on parenting styles, the environments where kids expect to be entertained all.the.time. 

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It's almost twice as much work to first strip away all of the distractions and then try to open my kid's eye to the wonder of independence and playing outside and not relying on Mom and Dad to provide the fun.

The long, lazy days of summer are nice in so many ways (no, your kids slept in until 9:30 today!), but in other ways, it feels dangerously like a whole lot of pressure on Dear Old Mom to provide the perfect summer experience. 

So, no, this summer, I'm trying to prod my kids in the direction of a magical summer experience, sans the pressure, guilt, and huge amounts of work on my shoulders. Which means:

Saying ‘no' to TV demands. And meaning it. 

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Insisting on free play. Or chores. Take your pick. 

Signing up for all the free library activities we can stomach. Because, free. 

Enjoying a schedule-free week. For now. 

Throwing away the bucket list and letting the kids take the lead. 

And let's face it—

Ice cream helps. 

Ice cream helps a lot. 

Do you ever find the summer months to be hard with kids? 

What do you think?

When Summer’s Not Always So Fun

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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1 comment

  1. Grace says:

    Outside free play my children are good at. But inside it is like pulling teeth to get them to read, play for more than 30 minutes, or do homework. They want TV or games on my phone. So encouraged that I am not the only one going through this

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