I feel so incredibly lucky to have married into a family that has a cottage. I mean, I’m lucky to have married into my husband’s family for other reasons, but now that it’s summer? I’m definitely feeling the luck. That said, the difference between my days at the cottage before having kids and my days at the cottage now are…substantial.
I remember waking up around 9am, making coffee, getting on my swimsuit, and going down to the dock to drink it in the morning sun. When the sun and coffee made me too hot, I’d dive into the water to cool off. There were late nights filled with gazing at the stars and trips to the farmer’s market to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables for dinner.
Let me give you the schedule these days.
5:25am Get woken up by one or both children asking for breakfast. Pretend not to hear them.
5:28am Get smacked in the face by youngest child, who thought it would be funny. Awake now.
5:35am Sneak back into bed while kids get dressed and hope they forget they were hungry.
5:36am Well, it was worth a shot.
5:41 am Get up with kids, curse husband for pretending to still be asleep, get kids breakfast. Curl up on the couch and try to fall back asleep.
5:59 am Kids begin to beg to go down to the dock to swim. Try to answer all of the “Why?” questions that ensue after telling them, “No, not yet.”
6:15 am Continue explaining why they can’t yet go down to the dock to swim.
6:16 am Kids ask for lunch. Roll eyes and tell them there’s still six more hours until lunchtime. Kids disagree.
6:20 am Make kids “lunch.”
6:45 am Kids have finished their “lunch” and would now like to go swimming, since it is the afternoon. Patiently explain that lunchtime does not make the afternoon happen, the clock makes afternoon happen.
6:47 am Kids are bored. More eye rolling ensues. Set kids up with colouring books and (washable) markers. Go make coffee, because clearly, you’re not going back to sleep.
6:51 am Kids are bored again, asking whether it’s actual lunchtime yet. Ignore.
7:01 am It’s the magical moment when Nana has said it’s okay to send the kids into her bedroom!!! Send kids, crawl back to bed.
7:26 am How can they be done visiting her already? Send husband out with them. Put in ear plugs.
8:52 am Husband stomping into room to change kid #1’s pee accident indicates that no further sleep is allowed without dire marital consequences.
8:58 am What number snack is this?
9:12 am Kids are officially allowed to go down to the dock. Never have they moved so fast to get dressed into bathing suits and apply sunscreen. It’s a goddamn miracle.
12:45 pm Of course now that the kids are in the water, no one can get them to eat anything. They keep yelling that they ate lunch earlier, not realizing “earlier” was six hours ago.
1:00 pm Kids are hangry and freaking out because they haven’t eaten in five hours now and everyone is crying. Everyone.
1:30 pm Crisis averted: managed to get food into everyone. Kids are quietly reading on the couch. In their damp bathing suits. Oops.
1:31 pm Kids are bored. Imagine that. They pull out a 30 year old board game no one knows how to play and asks everyone to play it with them.
1:44 pm Kids hate the game because they don’t understand it. No one else does either, but that doesn’t stop the kids from being angry about it. Game and playing pieces are thrown across the cottage. Ask kids nicely to clean up the game and put it away.
1:52 pm Clean up game and put it away, just to stop the screaming.
2:01 pm Back down to swim? Absolutely!
2:55 pm Kids ask why they can’t have a fun poop emoji blow up floatie like the neighbouring cottage does. Start to make a joke about useless crap and realize it’ll go over their heads. Say the joke anyway and chuckle. Kids scream “WHAT? WHAT MAMA? WHAT’S CRAP?” at the top of their lungs.
3:15 pm Get pushed in the lake. By brother-in-law, not kids. A**hole.
4:30 pm Trade off with husband on dock duty to go prep dinner. Realize you don’t want to make dinner yet. Make a drink instead. Hang out on the upper deck, enjoying solitude.
6:30 pm Crap, dinner needs to be made now.
7:00 pm Kids come back into the cottage soaking wet and starving. Dinner is nowhere near ready. Give them chips and vegetables with dip. Kids eat an entire family size bag of chips and one slice of cucumber each.
7:35 pm Dinner is finally ready, but kids say they’re “full” and ask for dessert. Make them eat two bites of hamburger each and give up, because this isn’t the hill you’re going to die fighting on.
7:45 pm Let them have Nana’s special brownies with ice cream, because of course. Sigh. Watch the sugar rush kick in and go to happy place.
8:45pm Peel children off the ceiling to get ready for bed.
9:04 pm Let children go to sleep in their clothes because again, not the hill to die on.
9:15 pm Shut the door to the kids’ room and creep silently down the stairs to join the rest of the adults. Quickly down a full glass of wine.
9:45 pm Fall asleep while sitting up with everyone talking.
9:48 pm Husband finishes laughing at you, then gently guides you to the bedroom, where you drop into a dreamless sleep.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.