Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to survive the summer with your kids

This is the first in a series of "how-to" blog posts I'll be writing this week. Why? Because Annie from PhD in Parenting (who's brain I have a crush on) wrote an informative article on blog stats, and it made me realize that I need to write something people actually search for. If you own a blog - especially a parenting-oriented one - you should definitely read her article. Anyway, apparently a lot of people end up searching for how to do things, and I'm missing out on all that great traffic. So I decided I should write my own, Maven style. Feel free to find them through Google so I can feel like I've accomplished something.


They have screamed. They have cried. You have cried. There are mystery stains on the couch and sunscreen art sinking into your drywall. You just found the meatloaf lovingly baked during yesterday's sweltering temperatures fed to the dog and brought back up - on your bed.

And it's not even August.

Unless your offspring are ushered off to daycamp or daycare or into the care of long-distance relatives for several weeks (and if they are, I'm very jealous and we can never be friends), you probably have your hands full during the warmer months of the year.

You might feel like you're losing your mind right about now. It's okay, I'm here for you. Here are some tricks I've learned in the last few years:

This seasonal method of keeping children still does not work work.
They eventually want you to uncover them.
Even when you're not done reading your magazine yet.
Children are SO selfish.

1. Don't worry about losing your mind. Good news: If you deliberately stay home with young children then you are already clinically insane. Stop telling yourself it's because of unconditional love or what's best for your family or what you've always wanted to do; denial is a major symptom of ones solar panels facing north. Just own it like I did. It's very liberating.

2. Try to get out more. You know, by yourself. If you can't do that, then take your kids to the park and pretend they're someone else's. This is where you get to use that newly-admitted crazy of yours. See that mom over on the bench who looks like she has her act together? They're her kids for now. She's doing a great job parenting them, being all calm and stuff - not even watching them, really, which is totally free-range parenting and all the rage. You can plop your childless ass under that tree and read your now-overdue library book. If the Individuals Formally Known as Your Children come by to ask for a snack, just point at her picnic basket. It's not like she can't feed her own kids. There are rules against that sort of thing.

3. It's absolutely okay to Google - and perhaps loosely relate to - "why mammals eat their young." Just do it. You'll feel so much better*.

4. Just. Chill. Out. You know those parents who only give their kids, like, 18.4 minutes of screen time a day - even during those impossibly long summer days - and leave you with that gnawing "I'm doing something terribly wrong" feeling? They are more insane than you are. Or they're picking special mushrooms every time they take the kids out for "nature walks". Or they have the best behaved, self-amusing children ever, which CLEARLY means the kids are half-alien. Hey, when daddy comes from the Gamma-Granola quadrant and met mommy when he crash-landed on Hempseed Hill, those offspring will be too advanced for television. The rest of us can loosen up and let our average human children watch reruns of Sponge-Bob if it means they're not pulling each others hair for a morning.

5. It'll be over before you know it. In the blink of an eye school will be back in session. Playgroup registration will be in full swing. Or, if you took the summer off because you thought it would be "relaxing" (yes, I'm laughing at you), you'll be back at work and having adult conversation before you can say "I already told you that can't be flushed down the toilet" again. Soon you'll be trading in last minute library trips for lunch-making, and hour-long hikes for homework. And the worst part? By November you'll probably be missing the summer terribly. You sick individual, you.

*By "Just do it. You'll feel so much better" I do not mean you should actually eat your young. As tempting as that might sound after you discover they've been using your car as a scooter ramp, you'll likely wind up with bad indigestion and a side of remorse - after the scratches are buffed out, anyway. Also, you can only take the clinically insane defence so far.

Any other advice you'd give overwhelmed parental units of young humans? I know I'd love to hear it. We still have a month go to over here.


  1. causing the kids to go into a sugar-induced coma is one of my favorite ways to have a quiet afternoon. i kid you not. :)
    - i haven't once thought of eating them, i swear.

  2. My kid is a tough little guy... too tough to chew anyway. Besides, after all that mud he's been playing in and who-knows-what he's been eating out in the yard, I'm sure he'd taste funny.

  3. I have a good friend whose mother used to take her and her brother to a remote cabin in the woods for ALL of July and August each year. We're talking no running water and no electricity, and plenty of bugs for company. I don't know whether she's truly insane, or just learned a really great secret :)

  4. I guess we cant be friends anymore, I ship my kids to Newfoundland every summer!!!

  5. Hey Maven,
    I have only recently been introduced to your Blog by way of Porkrotica and have been hooked ever since. I have been reading back through archived blogs. I can't get enough. I too live in Ottawa and you seem familiar to me but that might just be because I feel like you are my "soul sista". We might be sharing a brain when it comes to a lot of your blogs. Sadly I fear you got the whitty half and for that I say "Damn you"


Go ahead: feed the attention whore (just don't tell the zookeeper).