Saturday, August 11, 2018

Summertime, and the livin's... not easy

Ah, summertime. 

The long, warm days. The endless hours with nothing to do except lounge in a hammock...strolling to a neighborhood pub in the evening to enjoy a mojito during the last light of day... yeah right.

I suppose there is a brief time in our lives when summer feels just like that. Elementary school, middle school (without the pub), college summers-- the times before you have a hardcore summer job or are working full-time, and especially before you have kids of your own.

I enjoy summer, I promise I do: I love warm, sunny weather, of course, and I love that it stays light longer. I love going to eat outside and dragging my husband to at least one big outdoor concert. I even love baseball games. I love that I can get my kids outside to play as much as possible. Being able to go to a park, go on a bike ride, play in the yard-- all of those things help the kids and I stay somewhat sane during the summer months.

But by August, this is pretty much what I look like:

Actually, she looks better than I do. She has real pants on.

By August, I miss being ALONE. I know everyone needs alone time, but if you are introverted (meaning your energy is restored by being alone for a significant period of time), then you really start to miss connecting to your inner life and attending to the things that bring you joy as an individual.

Plus, I now officially work part-time, freelance writing and tutoring kids with special needs. I work as much as I can in the summer, but believe it or not, I actually miss working my normal hours in the summer (namely, when my kids are in school/preschool). I love what I do, and it's extremely trying to get work done with two young kids underfoot, as you can imagine.

So yeah, I'm more than a little ready for the yellow buses to make a stop at our driveway...

But in Minnesota, schools don't start back until...wait for it... after Labor Day! We kick it old school here because everyone has to go to "the cabin" for one last hoorah.

All that said, I work hard to create a happy summer for my son, daughter, and me. I don't just stick them in front of the t.v.  or set my son up with the Xbox (though those tools do come in handy when I'm about to lose my sh*t.).

My favorite thing to do is head out after breakfast-- when I still have some energy and coffee in my system-- and take the kids to a new place. Nothing too far, and nothing too crowded (introverted, remember?). Bathrooms with running water are a real plus.

Just look at this cute gazebo we stumbled upon after I made them go to a Farmer's Market with me on Friday:

They even kind of let me take a photo of them-- together!

We also [attempt] to grow 'stuff' every summer. This year, my daughter was desperate to plant veggies from seeds. It was worth a shot. We planted cucumbers, radish, watermelon (yeah right!), and carrots from seeds.

Here's what we got:

Yes, carrots. Two of them. The tiniest ones of all time. And yes, we ate them.

And check this out! We even did the whole 'making s'mores in the fire pit' thing!

I'll keep this for proof that we did outdoorsy things!

I'm not perfect. Obviously. These are just a few Facebook-worthy snapshots of some fun things we did. 

This summer, I also raised my voice more than I would have liked. The kids tortured one too many babysitters while I was tutoring or attempting to enjoy a date night. The kids never slept past 6:30 a.m. all summer. Sadly, I don't think I got in a pool with them at all, not even once. Trust me, we haven't had a 'perfect' summer, and it's more than okay if you didn't either. 

In fact, there's nothing that bugs me more than moms feeling like they have to pretend, all Pollyanna-like, that the summer months are the Best Thing Ever. They can be great, yes, and they can also challenging, no matter what your work/home balance is. Life with kids is full of these so good/so hard periods. 

As always, I push myself to keep it real. That's the whole point of Frantic Mama, and it has been since the beginning, in 2011, when I decided to let it all hang out and connect with other moms who loved their children but certainly didn't love every second of Motherhood.

So here's to all the moms (and dads) keeping it real this summer. Cheers. You deserve it.

My friend gave me this delicious beer. It's friends like her who remind me why I like people.

What are you looking forward to this September? And yes, it's okay to admit it!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama