Longer days and warm weather can only mean one thing – the end of school is right around the corner. And I know some people who are pretty excited about that.
And those people are moms.
As stoked as our little ones may be for summer, I breathe a huge sigh of “get that dirty f#@* backpack out of my face” relief when the school year is done. You’re probably thinking that’s crazy. You hate when your kids don’t have school. But there are real parenting advantages to summer break. Summer may mean our kids get to run and play all day, but this is why mama’s the real winner here.
For school I have to make my kids look somewhat respectable, but for summer? All bets are off. Toothpaste on your face and breakfast on your shirt? No worries, you’ll be swimming in an hour. Brushing your hair? You’re just gonna sweat anyway. Summer’s a time for stained shirts and ripped shorts! At least that’s what I tell myself.
For school I spend the morning and afternoon sitting in a carpool line, sometimes for longer than I consider acceptable. And while I totally love my minivan (obviously) and get tons of useful stuff done while I’m waiting (like catch up on my “90s on 9” and check Instagram) I’d rather peek out the window for that little yellow bus and then scurry the kids out the door. And 8 hours later I welcome them home with a big (wait for it…) open garage door. And let’s not even talk about the moms who drop their kids off at the beginning of the summer and go get them at the end! Ahhhhhh!
Sure, the end of school means kids don’t have to do any homework. Well guess what - neither do I. Because their homework is my homework, and not in that loving “their joy is my joy” kind of way. I mean their homework is literally my damn homework. It means I’m standing over them hollering “do your homework!! Answer the friggin’ question! Didn’t you learn this in class??” until the homework is done. It’s not fun for any of us. But it’s less fun for me.
Finally, during the school year my day is always in jeopardy of being upended by a call from the school nurse. “Johnny’s tummy hurts” or “Johnny has a headache.” But when camp is a wee bit too far away for mom to hop on over, kids usually hang in the infirmary until they feel better. Which means no more cancelled trainer appointments because my daughter would rather poop at home.
I know come late August I’ll be counting down the hours until school starts again. But on the last day of classes, when everyone’s posting their teary Facebook pictures of their kids leaving school, my posts will be all “doesn’t this cloud look like it has a face?”
But even with all of these perks, the best thing about summer break for me is this…with no crazy mornings, carpools, homework or kids around, I’m actually the awesome parent I always knew I would be!
Jacqueline Goldschneider is a freelance writer and a mother of four living in Bergen County