Summer Lessons


As an educator I have always worked summer school. While summer school was less hours than my normal work day it still required getting up, getting dressed, and spending a large chunk of my day involved with work. Last summer was the first summer, ever, that I decided not to work. My oldest daughter was recovering from spinal surgery, however, so while I thoroughly enjoyed the time off from work it was definitely not what I would call a “normal” summer. This summer, however, has been pure freedom. I am not working, we have very little planned and scheduled, and no really important commitments. My girls and I can do whatever we want. It’s been lovely. I’ve also learned a few things.

My almost four-year-old never stops talking. As a working mother I truly treasure almost every minute I get to spend with my youngest baby. I hang on her every word. I try to grant every wish she has. We spend entire evenings snuggled in a chair together. I miss her when I’m at work—a down into the gut longing. This summer my older girls are spending most mornings at a recreational sports camp. The baby, however, is my constant companion. From the second she wakes up until the time I put her to bed she is in my shadow–talking. She asks questions. She tells me stories. She makes jokes. She begs for food. She asks me to play games. She insists that I examine her newest “masterpiece”. She speaks so, so many words. I actually said to my mother last week, in a guilty whisper, “I think I need a break from the baby”. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I ever think I would need a break from my baby.

If I had the opportunity I would be the laziest person on the planet. I apparently have two speeds: 1. I am in constant motion from the time I wake until the time I crash for the night taking care of my kids, my job, and my house. 2. I do nothing at all. This summer I’ve been late to pick my kids up from camp. I’m RARELY late for anything and if I am I have an excuse (like my job). I have NO EXCUSE for being late for camp pickup except I had one more life to use in Candy Crush and I wasn’t looking at the clock. When I’m working, house chores are completed on a semi-scheduled basis and my house is mostly presentable. As I write this I’m staring at a basket of unfolded clothes, a thick layer of dust on an end table, and I can smell the garbage in my kitchen that really needs to be taken out. While I’m working I can schedule volunteer commitments, work commitments, or child commitments every afternoon and evening of the week and still not complain that I’m too busy or too tired. I’ve actually complained about “being busy” one week this summer because we had two doctor appointments and I had a hair appointment. Why? Because this summer I have turned into the laziest person on the planet.

I could never work from home. Just writing these posts this summer has been TORTURE. I cannot sit in my comfortable chair, in my comfortable clothes, surrounded by food, children, TVs, Candy Crush, books, magazines, dusty tables, unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes and get any work done. I just can’t do it. Excuse me for a minute while I succumb to the distraction of Facebook, Twitter, and ooooh my lives have refreshed on Candy Crush…

My two older girls will never really get along and I need to stop trying. After spending half of the summer trying very hard to change this I may need to lower my expectations if we are to spend the second half of the summer more in harmony. My girls are so different. I was watching an old episode of Roseanne the other day (while doing that whole bunch of nothing I spoke of above) and I came to the sudden realization that my girls are very much like the characters of Becky and Darlene. On the show, the two sisters teased and insulted each other and rarely got along—until they had to. I need to help my girls find a way to tolerate each other most of the time and support each other when necessary. I also may need to invest in some noise-canceling headphones for the rest of the time and remind myself that their relationship is much better once school is in session and they are back to their own routines and activities and not in each other’s space as much.

I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mother.  I’m pretty sure I’ve always known this which is why I’ve never even considered it.  I now have some pretty good evidence to support this conclusion. First, the above-mentioned laziness would be chronic if I stayed home, I’m sure of it. Also, I really do not like spending time at home. I want to be out doing things and interacting with people and, in the summer, that means spending money.  I have such a hard time spending money when I’m not making any. I miss the intellectual stimulation of doing my job, talking about my job, and, yes, stressing about my job. I do not like home-related projects and I’m not good at them. At. All. I really need to print out pictures and either put them in scrapbooks or albums. Not going to happen.  I was determined to redecorate and freshen the paint color in the master bedroom.  I have one wall painted and I’m not sure if I like the color so I’ve gone no further. I just need to go back to work because honestly the thought of trying to complete those two items on my summer bucket list is beginning to stress me out more than the thought of going back to work.

I am blessed. I think this picture sums this one up:

We love our beach town and peaceful summer mornings. Photo credit: S. Orris

So here we are at the summer halfway point. It has been fun, relaxing, and enlightening. I’m thrilled that we still have another half to enjoy…but first I must post this (I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to write these few paragraphs) and empty that disgusting garbage. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll paint another wall in my bedroom. No promises.


6 comments on “Summer Lessons”

  1. I just put a comment up and don’t understand why it was deleted. I wanted to give my opinion but I guess someone did not like it.

  2. I know this lady, she seems like she is into everything, but she is a only friend to her closes friend. When I have seen her and she knows me, I find it very rude when you bump into her and she cannot say hello. This has happened on several occasions that I have bumped into her and she looks the other way and other people I know feels the same way. If you consider yourself a professional person you should be able to say hello to everyone not only to your closes pals, special if you are involved in the community. On the other hand, I do like you articles.

  3. Haha I see many similarities to my own summer! It is amazing to me how productive I am when I’m busy and how lazy I am without a schedule. It’s really good that we educators get a summer vacation – it allows us to no only recharge but remind ourselves why we work! I, too, would be a terrible stay-at-home mom.

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