We’ve hit the exact middle of summer, as I write this. July is coming to a close, and August is ready to pounce, and all I can think right now is, “what the hell happened?” My children have disappeared. They’ve been replaced by little monsters with their faces and voices, and I’m about to lose my mind because of it.
The summer started off in typical fashion: we went on our annual camping trip with friends, which was a success despite the rain. I managed to be June Cleaver for a short while, making popsicles my kids adored, begged for, even. My kids have spent time doing nothing at our cottage, gotten together with family and friends, had some structured daycare (for the younger) and day camp (for the older), and watched some TV. About a week ago, however, they just turned ornery.
Now? Nothing is good enough.
Scheduled play date? Great! When it ends, there’s screaming and anger that we don’t have another one scheduled right away. They fight like cats and dogs over everything, from toys to who gets to colour what page in the colouring book, to not staying in the backyard to play. They complain about everything, from the food they’re offered to the park I take them to. Every single day, I start with my Mary Poppins voice and end with my raging Cruella De Vil voice. It’s exhausting.
Maybe it’s all the rain. Maybe it’s the later nights with unchanged early mornings. Maybe it’s the inconsistent schedule. All I know is that I find myself longing for the routine of the school year, which is the one thing I was happy to walk away from by the end of June.
Am I alone in these feelings? Are my kids the only ones going crazy? Probably not.
In fact, it’s possible I was feeling the same way, exactly one year ago.
This is the midsummer meltdown. It’s not just your kids having the meltdown, it’s you. You’re in panic mode, feeling around blindly for your glass of rosé or your pint of ice cream, trying to numb the pain of kids who won’t stop whining, of the feelings of inadequacy when you hear all the things your mom friends are doing with their kids. They can only use their devices after completing two pages from the homework book and reading a chapter. Where the hell do you even buy homework books?! They’re spending the day at the Aquarium and then going for a picnic dinner by the water. Who can afford the price of admission for an entire family at some of these places?
The truth is, some days I feel like I’m killing it with this summertime mom thing. Today, we are taking the kids to go hiking and exploring at a provincial park an hour away, along with some friends. Totally killing it. And then some days, I feel like a complete mom failure, despite my most valiant efforts. Yesterday was a playdate that ended in screaming, headaches, and me wondering why I even bother to do anything besides turn on the television for them.
It’s all about balance, I guess. And a little bit of self-kindness. One more month, mamas. We got this.