A Woo-Hoo Mom’s Favorite Time of the Year

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A few years ago the office supply store Staples ran what is my favorite back-to-school ad. Andy Williams sang his famous Christmas song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and the adults participated in a synchronized dance of sorts. Parents breezed through Staples happily tossing school supplies into their carts. Some glided through the store, riding on the cart with one leg in the air and joyous expressions on their faces like children on a scooter riding down a hill. Although there was no breeze (because it is Staples), the wind-in-my-hair effect shone in their faces. Behind each blissful parent was a child or two with folded arms and pouty faces.

The reason I love that commercial is because I can identify with those cart-gliding parents. I am not one of those parents who is sad to see summer go. Don’t get me wrong, I love the first couple of weeks when the kids sleep late, laze around on the couch catching up on Disney, and when bored go outside to play with the neighbors. I seem to have more energy at this juncture and may even play a board game, bake some cookies, and set up a craft for the kids.  I have been known to take a bike ride or two. And, of course, I enjoy any type of vacation we can get even if it is a “stay-cation.” More than anything I just enjoy the peace–that is, not fighting with kids over homework, uniforms, haircuts, showers, tests, teeth brushing, and getting out the door before the late bell rings at their school.

Just leaving behind those pressures changes my entire demeanor. Suddenly, Mom doesn’t look all pinched and angry. I can say my eldest child’s name in a normal decibel. And, the dog doesn’t run under the bed every time I grab the car keys fearing a panicked stampede to the garage. So, yes, I am a nicer person during summer—that is, for the first two weeks or so…Then, it feels as if all three kids are break dancing on every one of my nerves.

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Guilt of a Slacker Summer Mama

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I was raised a Catholic, so I am an expert in guilt. Plus, I am a mother, which means everyday I find a thousand reasons to feel guilty about my mothering skills. I am also an Educational academic by trade—someone who knows how to research, someone who should know the right way to do things, which I rarely do because of “Momnesia,” which in turn makes me feel guilty because I am not using my brain, and not using it to better the lives of my children.

That very messy prelude is leading up to a guilt-ridden confession: I have done NOTHING educational with my children this summer. Well, that is not entirely true because I have yelled up to the kids to read a book before going to bed. I am pretty sure one does, one braids her hair, and the other is up there building a Minecraft village with Legos.

  • Have I run through the times tables with my soon-to-be 4th grader?
  • Have I made my soon-to-be-6th and 7th graders read their three summer reading books?
  • Have I even bothered to buy a workbook of some kind so they can keep up with their skills?

The answer to all of these questions is NO! In fact, I have not even insisted that the kids play educational video games.

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