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August 16, 2013 |

Worst End of Summer Mom Ever: A Sequel

BY Jen Hatmaker

Oh, don’t even say it. I already know. This Mama is singing a different tune and JUST WHATEVER ABOUT IT. Yes, the girl who bemoaned homework folders and daily school requirements and reading minutes and All The Things is now on her knees, begging the teachers to take these children back.

You understand this, right? We had the fun. We surely did. We did the swimming and the vacations and the sleeping in and the loosey-goosey living, and now ladies and gentlemen, I am very much over it. Back me up: summer is too freaking long. Twelve weeks of this is unreasonable. What does summer think we are? Machines? Excuse me, but I’ve never done anything well for twelve straight weeks in my life.

I can’t help you process why my kids can’t make normal faces for pictures.
0 for 5 in this gem.
Sixteen hours a day for infinity days without the helpful scaffolding of school or clubs or teams has pushed me to the point where I recently told my children: “I’m so sorry. I see your mouths moving but all I can hear is BLAH BLAH BLAH. Your needs are probably real, but I am unable to attend to them at this time. If you cannot make a sandwich or solve this particular problem, whatever it is that your moving mouths are trying to assault me with, then you will either starve or bludgeon one another or fight to the death and die, and I want you to know that I will miss you.”Gentle reader, we traveled with our cherubs for almost a solid month. That’s precious! you say. The family memories and such. How lovely for the childhood experiences and bonding and the darling things. Yes, that, but also, not. There was a moment driving home from Colorado (after driving TO Colorado in one car with five children then spending two weeks together for all the minutes of all the days) when the plan was to fight through the fatigue and just drive all the way back to Austin, but somewhere in Lubbock, we dumped our family in a hotel, because I was afraid for their actual lives. I assessed our driver Brandon and concluded their continued existence was at genuine risk. The good feelings were gone.

This space became God’s tool for our sanctification.
Also? There is no stupider place than Texas in August. I.Cannot.Even. We can’t be outside (unless we hate ourselves) and our neighborhood pool feels like a bathtub. The children should be in school already, sitting in air conditioning and learning something, instead of wasting their lives on video games and TV because the outdoors have ceased being an option and their mother has lost the will to live. In the midst of this oppression, the air conditioning in my Suburban went out, so my innards slowly melt every time I drive and ooze out in attractive back and butt sweat. The only adjective to describe the effect on me is homicidal, especially when the youngins are saying things like, “Mom? Why does your arm fat swing like that when you turn?”My Beginning of Summer Attack Plan has atrophied. We are no longer cooking delicious new recipes together. Caleb had Lays potato chips for breakfast yesterday. At the crack of 11:15. The wheels have come off, dear ones. I did my part: the fun camps, the trips, the pool, the lake, the snow cones, the Good Times, and now it is all dead to me. I’ve reached to the outer limits of my capabilities, and we are now in the black hole of what I call “the screw-its.”

This summer was packed with awesomeness, but we need structure back. We need routine. We need kids to go the freak to bed. Sure, we will soon put them down while the sun is still blazing, but that is what blackout blinds are for. It is time to restore our home to a nurturing environment for children instead of the frat house it currently resembles. Will I struggle to manage the early hours with five uncooperative sloths? Sure, but then they will all leave.

What will I do? I will think my thoughts, which I haven’t heard since June 5th. I miss my thoughts and I look forward to seeing what they’ve been doing. For all I know they could’ve been curing cancer, but they’ve been stamped out by missives like He won’t quit touching my game/remote control/Afro and Could you make me a sandwich/pizza/taco and I am bored/hot/hungry and When are we going to leave/eat/bathe again? My thoughts have done all they can do for these people, and they’ve put in their notice.

So Teachers, I sincerely hope you enjoyed your well-deserved summer. I hope you actually frolicked. I imagine it took exactly this long to recharge after teaching our children for a year, and I’ve told you how much I love you for that. Here is the good news: you’re about to have a bevy of fresh-faced, chipper, super-charged Mamas in a couple of weeks. We will cheerfully volunteer for Class Moms and parties and Friday Folders. We will sign those daily reading minutes LIKE A BOSS. Our children will be at school on time for tens of days.

Disclosure: This will be our best selves. You will temporarily enjoy the fruits of our highest levels. Exploit it, Teachers, because it will slowly erode. We aren’t as efficient as the vibe we’ll be putting out. But for awhile, when you’ve taken our kids’ brains back into your capable hands and it appears they have the capacity to learn again, our gratitude will manifest as proficiency.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

How did you fare, Mamas and Daddies? Are you finishing summer with a bang, a tear, or whatever sound it is when your awesomeness fizzles?