Wednesday, May 27, 2009

T-Minus Three Weeks...

Am I the only parent out there panicking at the thought of summer vacation? Every year around this time, I start hearing all these other parents talk about how they can "hardly wait" for summer vacation and I just nod and smile and think to myself, "YOU ARE DERANGED, happy-for-school-to-let-out person." It's kind of twisted, because my innate nature is to hate routines and schedules and regimentation of any sort. You would think I would LOVE summer, right? I don't though, because it's when I most need to step up my parenting game. The kids still need a routine and instead of the demands of the school days dictating what we need to do, it's all up to me. And that's hard for a day-dreamy, need-my-alone-time type, yo. Over the years, I've come to realize that my parenting style is best (or at least most kindly) described as "flexible." I would even go so far as to state that I am the Anti-Kate (Gosselin, of course - gotta stay topical, right?) It's just the way it is for us - take a mom who is easily distracted and needs peace and quiet to think about anything deeper than a shopping list. Add in the super emotional, needy-but-knows-it-all tween plus a child on the autistic spectrum plus a wonderful-but-not-around much dad, and you know - skipping the vitamins for a day isn't going to kill them. Wearing a paint splattered t-shirt isn't going to kill them either, even if I'm the only one who knows it's clean. Eating pizza two nights in a row? Not deadly. Not combing the hair if we aren't going anywhere? Stepping over toys for two days instead of cleaning it up for them? Hours of "screen" time? Not ideal, but when the schedule is tight, you do what you can do and shrug off the rest. For me, the arrival of months of unscheduled summer days means the arrival of a new load of guilt that I'm not doing all this parenting stuff a little better. However, the deal breaker for me on summer vacation is the loss of solitude. During the school year, I love getting the kids out the door and then having a huge chunk of time to myself. Sure, a lot of that time is spent in mundane tasks, but the freedom to do whatever *I* decide to do is glorious. Summer steals that away from me - there is always someone here, needing something from me, and even when I have a babysitter come... well, they are all still here, aren't they? There is still the possibility that Mommy will need to be consulted if some big issue comes up. If I'm nearby, it feels like I'm still on the clock. Let's face it - babysitter or not, I can still hear them screaming about who gets the yellow chalk, and that means I'm thinking about buying more chalk and wishing they would pipe down instead of writing a good blog post that will be personally fulfilling in a way that yelling at my children about fighting over chalk is not. (Plus, I would have more time to edit myself, instead of having to go settle the Great Chalk Dispute of Aught Nine.) (As an example, I mean.)

5 comments:

  1. I am SO glad I am not the only one who is dreading summer and the loss of my ME time (even if it has only 2 mornings a week this year).
    I was just about to blog about the upcoming summer dread as well...ACK.

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  2. Is this one of those things you can only understand if you're a parent?

    As a kid I was out of the house for camp each day all summer, then I'd come home and after dinner go ride my bike, play basketball, go play at the park or go swimming at the Y. I was gone like 10-11 hours each day. What am I missing?

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  3. LOL! Why, dear - that was OUR generation... don't you know that today's kids have to be monitored constantly, for fear that they be snatched away if we close our eyes long enough to sneeze?

    Actually, I do love to read about the "free range kids" movement. I would probably need a new set of kids to successfully implement it, though - my kids are apparently genetically programmed for "Anxiety" and "Approval-Seeking" rather than "Independence" and "Common Sense."

    ;)
    V

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  4. flexible is the best! I am going to try and be more flexible this summer! xoxo

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