I am convinced that summer for moms with school-age children is pretty much just like pregnancy.
You start the first trimester all full of hope, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. How exciting! You’ll get to wake up whenever you want and not spend your precious time arguing about homework. Your rose-tinted glasses have seen the beauty of days by the pool, park trips, vacations, and playdates galore. You don’t think about the downsides… It will be so fun that the endless amount of laundry will be totally worth it. The schedules and routines are thrown out the window- it’s summer! Let the kids do what they want! Eat what they want! Play when they want!
The second trimester is awesome, but you feel some things start to change. Like kicking in the womb, you notice that the kids having no routine has turned them into sweet little lawless goblins. Fighting begins and echoes of “I’m bored” ring through the house. Sure you could let them watch television for hours on end, but you did that yesterday and the mom guilt is creeping in. You watch your toddler throw herself kamikaze-style out of the wagon, screaming at yet another “fun” activity. You and your husband start to ask questions about your parenting. Are we spoiling them? Are they doing too much fun stuff? How much fun stuff is too much fun stuff? Maybe the fact that they ask every morning “what fun thing are we going to do today?” is a bad sign. This seems akin to when expectant mothers everywhere question whether their baby is going to be an athlete or a sadist when the sweet little kicks turn into painful jabs that seem aimed right at her vital organs.
But here’s the real kicker. You know that transition that happens in the third trimester, where you no longer feel any fear of giving birth? Pregnancy has made you so miserable that you would do anything to get that baby out of you; you spend hours walking and googling wives’ tales, eating spicy food, and really considering castor oil, even though you know it would make you have a diarrhea storm that probably wouldn’t even work… I am there with my sweet children. I loved having them in my home this summer but I’m done. I am tired. I need structure. I need homework, and I need another adult telling me that my child is not in fact a goblin, but a super sweet little darling who they love having in class. I mean, God Bless the homeschooling moms. I love my children with every fiber of my being, but I’m ready to birth them into the school system. I’m ready to give them to other trusted adults. And as soon as they go, I’m going to miss them so terribly that by the time March rolls around, I’ll be as moony-eyed over summer as a mom who is ready for her next child.
And the cycle will repeat over and over. 13 years of pregnant summers, and then they’ll be gone for good, and I will miss it all, all the time. So I’m glad for pregnant summers, and I’m glad for the newborn phase of school years with waking up early and fits over homework. I’m grateful for every minute, the beautiful and the ugly with my wonderful children.
Bless the teachers too. Oh, bless those sweet angels.