We Need To Discuss Your Summer Plans

“Summer plans,” or – as I like to call them – “just another group of months with the same old shit only hotter” are steadfastly approaching, and I feel like we need to discuss them.

We were at the doctor the other day, my 15 year old was having her yearly physical. The doctor asked what our summer plans are and the crickets chirped. Summer plans? The concept is lost on me.

It’s been in conversation for about two months now.

It’s a woefully tiresome topic, because – inevitably – it becomes one of those instances in which I feel like I have to explain myself to people. Twenty minutes into it, I’ve gotten nowhere. Usually this is evidenced by whomever I am talking with clearly not understanding what I’m saying, and changing the subject with something like “well there’s always room for spontaneous summer plans!”

And herein lies the first problem I have any time people ask me questions: I can never just give simple answers. Somewhere along the line, I conditioned myself to always justify what I am saying. In reality, I don’t have to explain my or my family’s reasons behind what we do, or in this case don’t do, to anyone.

We don’t have summer plans. Why not? Because we don’t want to.

Because we homeschool, we might be a little unique. My kids are around all the time during the school year, so I can’t exactly identify with the whole you-people-are-driving-Mom-crazy-for-these-two-months-every-year thing.

My kids drive me crazy all year long.

So in terms of camps or classes, or special outings: there’s really no need for it. Why would I put my children in a day camp that is the older-kid-equivalent to daycare when there is literally no need for me to do so whatsoever? It isn’t like they’re getting bored and need to be kept entertained. Or they are driving me batty and I need them out of the house. Summer for other people is our lives, every day of the year (except there’s schoolwork in there).

This is the second problem, although I wouldn’t call it a “problem,” so much as a circumstance. Our circumstance, because we homeschool, is that my kids are around all the time. I don’t need to keep them entertained, or do all kinds of extra activities because they are driving me crazy in the house. These things (the stuff we do, including the fun stuff) is peppered here and there through the entire year, because we aren’t beholden to a school district calendar.

That’s just the way it is, and yet no one (and I mean no one) can seem to grasp that concept.

The third thing worth mentioning is my husband’s work schedule. One of the reasons we homeschool is to accommodate his career in film. It’s hectic, it’s unpredictable, and it’s overnight. Anyone that’s ever worked in the film industry knows that summer and holidays are the busiest times for them, so vacations around then are not always in the cards.

If I’m being entirely honest, vacation isn’t really something we normally do at any time of the year, either. He’s just usually too busy, and when he’s not busy he’s catching up on sleep. What kind of a vacation involves Dad sleeping half the day, and keeping everyone up all night because he can’t (and shouldn’t) change his sleep schedule for the couple of days?

(And also, if we’re being REALLY HONEST… film work doesn’t exactly cover the cost of exotic cruises and trips to Hawaii for 5 + my dad.)

At a tennis match the other day, the mother of a couple kids my kids play with told me that she’s decided since her husband is working a lot this summer, she’s going to maybe just do the craziest thing ever and take the kids somewhere on her own! Can you imagine?

I take my kids places on our own all the time. If we waited for my husband to be available, we would be waiting years behind our graves.

This, I think, is a suburban thing: that families should do it all together, and if they don’t there’s something crazy or exotic or weird about it. The reality of it is that there is absolutely nothing unique about our situation at all. So many people have so many different circumstances to their jobs/homes/lives, it just is what it is.

And yet… this is the fourth thing. I waffle back and forth between wanting to live my life and let my kids live theirs; and feeling the guilting and the pressures that our culture has me conditioned to believe, which is that we should all be patiently waiting to live our own lives with our hands folded neatly in our laps for my husband to be available.

Except that he’s living his life by working in his dream career. This is literally what he dreamed about in childhood, went to college for, and has worked all these years to achieve. So we should not live while he… lives?

Why do we worry so much about summer plans anyway? Maybe this is just some weird stage of life I am in, where your plans end up largely dictated by your children’s plans, forcing everyone into these specific time frames to create family memories and – oh I don’t know – live life.

Or maybe it’s something bigger. Like a status thing. I remember a movie once where the guy says in a snooty voice: “where do you summer… I SAID WHERE do you summer?” The concept is lost on me.

My summer plans are the same as my every day plans. My kids do schoolwork. They do chores. They play tennis. The baby and I watch Story Bots and play with blocks. I cook. I clean. Sometimes we go to museums and libraries, some days we binge watch Supernatural.

And I think I’m much happier and more content than a lot of people. We don’t save life’s moments for special occasions or the summer months, when conditions are perfect. We live them every day.

Advertisements

My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell – Day One

Today began another two weeks in hell. I know what you faithful blog followers are all thinking: don’t you think every week is a week in hell, B(itch)? Well, yes; but this is two weeks in an especially hellish hell. This is two weeks in “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell.”

It just so happens that all of the extra, summer activities I wanted to piggyback our homeschooling on this year landed during this week and next. So whereas during the regular school year activities are spread out; this two weeks every day is like a long, death march of kid-related sports and recreational activities stacked one on top of another. What does that mean? More activities and being out of my apartment cave means more exposure to assholes. And it seems like everyone is out to prove that their kid is better than everyone else’s.

Being summer, the coups de grâce of the assholes in my community are out in full force: the Summertime Over-Achieving Parents (hereafter referred to as SOAPs). After ten months of ditching parent-teacher conferences, shirking out on volunteer requirements, and generally ignoring their children’s’ school and otherwise needs, SOAPs now have exactly two months of summer vacation to prove to themselves that they are the best parents on the planet.

(No, this is not one of the SOAPs’ kids hitting the ball … it’s a miniature me in the making.)

So on this, the first day of “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell,” two SOAPs at this evening’s group tennis lesson pitted themselves against each other to such a degree that a fight almost broke out. There were a number of reasons this was a recipe for disaster from the get-go.

Recipe for disaster, reason #1: Both SOAPs were clearly yuppies. They both drove these terribly pretentious-looking SUVs with movies constantly playing in the backseat so the kids will stay shut the fuck up. One talked on the phone for the first 20 minutes of class, only on his blue tooth – blowing niceties and canned, corporate euphemisms up the ass of whomever was on the other end of the line the entire time.

The point is that yuppies always have something to prove; their status as yuppies depends on it.

Recipe for disaster, reason #2: Both SOAPs were men.

Need I say anymore really? This little “my kid is better than yours” argument between the two guys was not really about their kids. No, no, faithful blog followers – it was totally about the size of their dicks. Had I a ruler in the backseat of my car, I would have been the hero of the day by just getting it out and settling the whole thing without the need for 40 minutes of arguing that came to near-blows (over who’s little bastard enjoyed Wimbledon more).

Recipe for disaster, reason #3: Both SOAPs’ daughters sucked terribly at tennis. Yes, I did say they sucked at tennis, which could ironically point the “my kid is better than yours” finger at me. But seriously, as a tennis player myself and someone that can simply observe what is going on, I can say with absolute certainty that those two little girls are just not into it. Neither one gives a fuck about tennis one iota. One kept letting the ball whiz past her head without even caring whether she swung or stood there. The other kept trying to just launch the ball over the fence, rather than actually learn the fundamentals.

This is two-fold. First, because their daughters suck, the SOAPs had to argue more to cover up that fact. Second, because their daughters don’t give a shit, it’s obvious the SOAPs put them in tennis just to prove something. What? Who knows; or cares for that matter?

Recipe for disaster, reason #4: The tennis pro utilizes parent pressure. I already knew this because it is our second group session with him. He’s actually pretty awesome. He always seems to roll out of bed about 15 minutes before the evening class; sometimes smelling like whiskey. He drives this crazy, old van that I imagine him saying “if this van’s a rockin’ don’t come a knockin'” about twenty or so years ago. The first time we met him, he opened the door of his van and a ton of tennis balls and cans came tumbling out – perhaps the most hilarious thing I have seen in a while. He’s very serious about the sport, though, and is an amazing player through all this nonsense, so we have decided to stick with him for the long term.

One of his teaching paradigms is parent pressure. He reminds the parents each week that if the kids are serious they should be practicing daily. It seems only right, actually – I mean, unless you live next to those very tennis courts, chances are your kid needs a ride to practice every day, making it the SOAPs’ responsibility. And today he inquired on who had their kids watch some of Wimbeldon. One of the SOAP daughters raised her hand, prompting the other SOAP to yell “why aren’t you raising your hand honey?” And here is where the fight ensued. These two doucheblazoons proceeded then to argue about who’s kid was more interested in watching Wimbeldon. “Well Katelynn was glued to the TV the entire time.” “Oh yeah, well we nicknamed Amanda ‘AK’ after Kerber.” It got worse and worse until finally the two SOAPs stood up with that yuppy, machismo, puffed chest “you want to go” look and – fortunately – class adjourned just at that very moment.

So today was “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell” because these two pompous, yuppy assholes subjected us all to their verbal pissing contest. Tomorrow is day 2 and I can see that we are off to a roaring start. On the docket is: swimming class, zoo animal science camp, homeschooling, and t-ball. I wonder what hellish things are in store for us through all of that?