The Wild West of Summer Parenting

Ah, yes. June.

I look forward to it every year, and I stand my ground on that thought.

Summer in childhood is magical. I want to make it magical-er, but summer in parenthood is (choose an adjective, literally ANY adjective is applicable).

There is this natural order of summer I never recognized until I was an adult. An inescapable part of life’s summer break continuum. It’s the progression from being thrilled for summer to being a little ready for school. (I truly NEVER thought I’d say that.) Listen, we can agree; the parent you were in May is not the parent you erode to by August.

You know how it goes. Summertime starts out amazing, and then, within a few weeks of bright-eyed June days and Martha Washingtons in the pool, your kids start asking questions.


 Questions like, “Why isn’t there anything to eat?” or, “What are we doing today?” at 3:30 PM, after you’ve spent 6 hours and a half tank of gas being the family’s social concierge.

And your closet becomes a hidden oasis.

And you begin to be supportive of the idea that in the year of our Lord 2024, we, in our social reform era, can consider a 3PM kitchen floor a charcuterie board of sorts. Because 2024 is progressive, and so are your snack presentations.

And you start reading books with splashy promises, like “mastering my emotions and understanding my child.”

Yes, that is a sunscreen handprint on my leg.

This is where we are currently. Smackdab midsummer. Still happy, before we turn the corner to the banned-in-my-house “b word,” bored. The pool floaties are still inflated, but I gave up on cleaning up every day. In fact, I’m currently taking the L on finishing (jk, starting) laundry tonight so I can just sit with a midnight bowl of cereal. Procrastinate. Take a knee for the drywall damage incurred in the name of “summer fun without screens.”

Also, to pause and give an honorable mention the ingenuity of my boys in subcontracting their room cleaning to their sister, for the cost of two seashells.

We’re enjoying slower paced days, now that we’ve acclimated from our 100 mph May whiplash. Some summer days are reminiscent of my brand-new mom life having toddlers at home. Heart! I remember not really knowing how to entertain between naptimes. We took a lot of baths, recreationally. I will always ache for that time in my life, and although that thought is generally squashed by 4PM, it makes these summer days a little sweeter. (Again, pre-4PM thoughts. I can’t emphasize that enough.)

I’m doing my best to soak it all in before the second part of summer, which begins on an ambiguous day in July. It is clearly marked by some level of storming around your kids with an empty trash bag, threatening minimalism, and a sharp parenting bipolarity begins to manifest between Morning Mom and Late Afternoon Mom. You’ll know the July date when you arrive.

Until then, happy slow days and sticky fingers to all…while I just sit down for a minute and ignore what’s going on with the hose out back.