Summer break is quickly approaching. It’s coming like a hurricane, swirling and whirling as it looms ominously in the sky, threatening destruction in its wake.
Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. But if you’ve ever spent an entire summer break entertaining children who are constantly “bored,” you know it’s not for the faint of heart. In most cases it’s a two-and-a-half-month hiatus from all structure (and sanity). TWO AND A HALF MONTHS. You could travel around the world in that time. Or hike the Himalayas. Or cross off most of the items on your bucket list. We’re talking serious time. The kids will be home around the clock, begging to be entertained or pathetically moping around lamenting their summertime predicament. They will spend a fair amount of their days being lazy and bickering with their siblings over who ate all the cereal or whose turn it is to use the (insert whatever electronic device you own). It can be a total shit show at times.
There are some positives, too, if I’m being 100-percent honest. No more setting your jarringly loud alarm clock so you can wake up smaller and angrier versions of yourself and then nag them to get dressed over and over again. No more rushing to make a healthy and balanced breakfast so they can’t blame their low grades on lack of nutrition. No more sitting in the godforsaken car line for what feels like hours on end while you wait for your child to mosey on out of school at the speed of a sloth. No more pleading with your kids to stop whatever fun activity is occupying them in order to complete whatever pointless homework assignment they’ve been given, only to realize they didn’t pay attention in class and they need you to explain it to them. Now that I think about it, there are actually a lot of items in the pro column. And for the first seven days, not having to do any of these things will feel amazing. But then you’ll forget about how annoying these things really were once you’ve heard “There’s nothing for me to do!” over and over again like it’s the chorus to a really catchy and super annoying song that everyone in your house is singing.
Thankfully, wine exists. We’ve already written about the importance of wine to being a good mother. I wrote about how I, like a lot of mothers I know, consume that glass of wine at the end of the day because it’s one of the rare moments I get to relish my own existence uninterrupted. And over summer break, no matter what your kids are doing, this becomes exponentially more true.
Some moms cope with this special extended break by sticking their restless creatures in every summer camp option that’s available. General camp, sports camp, art camp, science camp, “you’re-getting-on-my-nerves-and-you-gotta-go-somewhere” camp, and a variety of others. These camps are designed to entertain your children and expose them to friends and fun and keep you from having a complete emotional breakdown. While they’re at camp, you can enjoy all the same aspects of life that you did before your kids’ school let out for summer break, minus all the incessant whining about homework, of course.
If your kids are in camp, you are going to have a great day. Make a batch of sangria, a summertime favorite, and head out to sit poolside until it’s time to sober up and pick up your sweaty and sufficiently exhausted children from camp. It seems like a great way to preserve what’s left of your sanity.
Other moms survive the summer struggle by opening up the front door at some point after breakfast and shoeing their children out to play and explore until lunchtime, when they rush back inside to devour whatever you’ve made and hydrate. After they’ve had a few minutes to rest, you can send them back out for the second half of their day. Your kids will enjoy biking, climbing trees, running through hoses and just generally occupying themselves while not destroying the interior of your home.
Meanwhile, you can opt to sit in the air-conditioned comfort of your quiet home while periodically checking on your wild creatures or venture outside to enjoy the warm weather and soak up some vitamin D while keeping a closer eye on your hooligans. Again, sangria is a great accompaniment for either of these indoor or outdoor options.
A third option, albeit the least fun of them all, is to have a worksheet available for every time your child utters the word “bored” in your presence. That’s right. You’re going to give them a Pavlovian reaction. They will eventually stifle the urge to speak the forbidden word and find a way to entertain themselves, because honestly, what child wants to do a worksheet during summer break? With this method, you will be establishing dominance, which is important to your summer-break survival. If your kids sense weakness in you, then they will break your will by week two, and good luck making it through the remaining two months. If this is your life for the next two months, a perfectly chilled Riesling is a great choice — really anytime throughout the day.
Whichever option you choose, just know you’re not alone as we head into the summer break season. Moms everywhere are currently stressing over the best ways to entertain their perpetually unimpressed children while not going broke or losing their minds. Thankfully, there’s wine.