I filmed a meltdown my child had the other day. Literally filmed it. I was at such a loss for what to do that I did the only logical thing I could do . . . preserve it to the memory of my phone so I could show my husband and make him realize how hard summers at home with kids can be.
We have done so many fun things this summer, but friends, I’m tired. I’m tired of drinking my coffee on my patio at 8:00 a.m. and it already being 90 degrees outside. I am tired of my little ones getting tired of the water table exactly six minutes after I fill it up. I am tired of my kids whining because the van is too hot.
“The A/C is coming, y’all! It’s coming! Just give it a minute!”
Summer has worn me down. It has exhausted me. I am sweaty and grouchy, and I need fall. So on the days when a good 50 percent of my body needs to be covered in antiperspirant, I remind myself of all of the ways I am not failing. Because the truth is, I am a great mom.
I’m not perfect. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes my kids have totally carbohydrate dinners. But I am a seriously good mom. And it’s likely that you are, too. So I made a list of ways you and I are rocking this motherhood thing this summer, even on the days our kids are jerks.
- We feed them. This is a full-time job, especially in the summer when the
piranhasbig kids are out of school. We breastfeed babies even when their little bodies feel like furnaces next to ours. We cater to our toddlers’ personal preferences and texture aversions and food allergies and dear-Lord-in-heaven-you-liked-this-yesterday-so-why-are-you-not-eating-it-now! We cut sandwiches into triangles instead of rectangles, and we remove crusts. We plan and shop and read labels. We buy snacks, snacks, and more snacks. We cut plasticky ends of of ice pops and teach kids how to eat them without getting a brain freeze. We are culinary superheroes.
- We clean up their messes. Ideally, they should be cleaning their own messes at some point, but let’s face it, if we leave it to our offspring to clean up everything, we’d all be living in filth. Laundry (because summer requires eight outfit changes per day), dirty dishes, sticky hands and faces, slime projects, glitter. We do it all.
- We clothe them. My kids never have to go anywhere naked. Sometimes they may wear pajamas all day. Some days they wear mismatched clothes. But they don’t have to wear winter boots and sweaters, although sometimes the little weirdos want to. If your kids wear clothes during the summer, even part time, give yourself a high five.
- We bathe them. Our summertime bath schedule is . . . ahem, relaxed. But mama, if you have bathed that kid in the last two weeks (or let him or her run through the sprinkler!), you can add this to your list of successes. We don’t let their smell become so offensive they have no friends. We make sure their faces are Instagram-photo-clean.
- We walk down toy aisles, even when we don’t want to. We aren’t going to buy anything. We aren’t making a list for Santa. But we let our kids wander down the aisles of Target, push buttons, and dream. We are awesome.
- We go outside. It’s 107 degrees, but we still go. We go the splash pad, the pool, the zoo. We pack snacks (see #1) and water bottles and changes of clothing (see #3). We do these things in triple-digit weather because we want to make memories. We want our kids to have fun. We want them to have something to write in their “What I did this summer” journal come September. We are sweaty, sunscreen-slathering warrior women.
- We make sure their brains don’t turn to mush. We went to the library once this summer, y’all. Once. I checked out books, and then decided that listening to my kids fight over the computers was too much. But they checked out books once! And we read a few! And I bought some magnetic letters at the dollar spot at Target. We will probably never use them, but I like the thought of practicing spelling with them. But if you did anything even slightly educational (followed a slime recipe), you get points here!
- We plan and execute vacations. We know they may argue. We may, at some point along the way, wish we had left them at home with grandma. But man, we do our best to plan a fun journey, complete with vacation travel bags, with an equally fun destination. We deal with annoying questions, the constant flossing (and I don’t mean teeth), endless bathroom breaks, and YouTube video watching so we can have memories! So many summer memories! Whether it’s a trip to Disney World or an overnight stay at grandma’s house, these things don’t happen without us!
So go ahead, add up your score! How many did you get? I say if you could check off four or more, you are excelling at motherhood this summer. Keep dreaming of school supplies, boots, and pumpkin spice everything. We deserve a cold drink, a thumbs up (no hugs because of summer back sweat), and knowledge that we are heading towards fall. But really, are we there yet?