You can feel the excitement in the air. Kids are euphoric, parents are relieved and teachers are downright giddy these days. Summertime is here, and while most of parentdom breathes a sigh of relief, I am wringing my hands with anxiety. I know it makes me sound like a fun-hating shrew, but I can’t help it; this momma doesn’t dig summer. Here’s why:
I do not get summers off from work, so my kindergartener spends full days at daycare with his little brother. Of course this costs more. Although I understand the reasons why, the bottom line makes it hard to be excited about summer. After insurance and taxes, 73.5% of my take-home pay goes to daycare. Every week of summer. (And nope, they are not at an elite school preparing for the Ivy League. Just normal daycare.) So yes, kids, I am super stoked that you get to have water gun fights and learn to make balloon animals – mommy is just too tired to seem excited for you. I spent my lunch break selling plasma to help cover bills.
I live in southeast Texas. My children and I have very fair skin. So of course we go outside, but we’re sweating in less than 5 minutes, and after half an hour I’m pushing fluids and reapplying sunscreen. And now that there’s Zika to worry about, bugspray has been added into the mix. They are squirmy and greasy and sweating SPF into their eyes. I am panting in the shade and holding the running water hose over my head. Fun right?
All the summer trip invites
My sisters and many of my friends are teachers who (deservedly) get the summers off. So every few weeks of my summer go something like this:
“Hey! Why don’t you bring the kids up this week? We’re going to barbeque Monday afternoon!”
“Well, um, I have to work Monday, so…”
“Oh that’s right! I always forget not everyone gets summer off!! Maybe next time!”
Yeah. Maybe next time. Right now I gotta go iron my slacks. Grr.
Ok I’m happy for you guys who get to really enjoy and savor your summers. I really am! But when I look at my social media feed, sometimes it’s hard not to feel like the grounded kid stuck at home while everyone else gets to play. I love seeing your pictures of your day at the lake, or your excursion to the National Parks. But when I’m still in my work clothes, turning on the sprinklers at 6pm so my kids can at least splash around before bedtime, I don’t want to read about your week at the beach. I can’t help it – I get a little jealous.
FOMKMO (fear of my kids missing out) is what happens when FOMO (fear of missing out) is attacked my mommy guilt. I have fond memories of my own carefree summers. I remember hanging out around the house and swimming every day until my toes pruned. Not once in these memories was I being shuttled from daycare to home and then rushed through a bedtime routine. Time slowed down in the summer and everything was just chill, man. I worry that my kids are missing out on a fundamental part of childhood by missing these lazy summer days. It makes me a little sad for them.
Now, before you unload annoyance or judgment upon me, I know that this is a first world problem – actually more like a first world pout. I understand that my husband and I are lucky to be employed and have quality childcare. I don’t spend my nights crying myself to sleep while looking at pictures of beach houses or anything ridiculous like that. I remind my kids how lucky we are every day, and we just keep on keepin’ on.
Just please understand – if you call and invite me to a Sunday evening party, I might scream into the phone or we might “accidentally” get disconnected. No hard feelings. You enjoy your summer momma. We’ll do our best to get through ours.