It’s that time of year. Social media is flooded with pictures of kids going back to school. And usually there is at least one viral picture or video of a mom dancing gleefully or lounging with a cocktail beside the pool while the kids are off to school.
I get it, I do. I’m not passing judgment on these moms or any parent who feels tremendous relief that their time with their kids (and so much of their time!) is done for the summer.
But I’m the mom who misses my kids once summer is over. I’m the mom who is sad they aren’t around anymore and that they went back to school.
There are a variety of reasons I feel this way.
First, I work outside the home. The pressure of being a working mom in the summer is nonexistent compared to the school year when I rush home for my second shift of practices, forms to sign, items to buy or make sure we have, concerts and games to attend, etc.
Yes, we have some sporting activities in the summer, but they don’t really matter. They are summer leagues so I could care less how my kids perform or who wins. I’m all “Just get out there and have fun!” Once the real season kicks in during the school year, well, yes, I have to take it more seriously.
The second reason I miss my kids once summer is over is that they are older now. Thus, on the summer days that I don’t work outside the home I’m not in charge of entertaining them or keeping them safe from electrical outlets or stairs. They’ve got it under control.
So, days home with my kids in the summer can be relaxing and easy. It brings me joy just to know we are all under the same roof, whether or not we are interacting every minute. Sometimes we go out for ice cream. Sometimes we go swimming. Sometimes we watch different shows on different devices in different rooms and it’s all good.
The third reason I don’t want summer to end is the pressure my kids feel at school. I know, I know: some stress is good for them. But it seems to me like neither of my kids (one is in high school, the other is in middle school) has a good amount of stress. Rather, they both have tremendous stress. The schools, their teachers, and their coaches all want the best from them at all times.
Meanwhile, summer seems to be a time when they aren’t under a microscope of doing their best. Or it’s at a manageable level.
Do I want them to do their best at unloading the dishwasher and making their beds? Yes. But that’s about it during the summer.
So summer I will miss you. Your long days with your low expectations. Your days where I get to slow down and savor small moments. Your days when my kids are mine and I don’t have have to share them.
’til next year, my friend.