Alt-Parenting: Farewell Summer … Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Ass

There are many realities no one mentions to parents before they have kids: sleepless nights last well past the newborn phase; the words “carefree” and “relaxing” drop from your vocabulary, and, upon birth, your sex life suffers an instantaneous demise. There’s one truth, however, that’s been the most shocking of all: SUMMER IS HELL!!!

I started off this summer with so much optimism. I booked a few weeks of half-day camps. I had a calendar filled with activities and plans with friends, both near and far. I even gathered some recipes for healthy on-the-go food options: salads filled with bulgur wheat and quinoa for me; freshly cut fruit kabobs for the kids. I felt ready, almost excited, for summer 2014.

The first few weeks were glorious. We visited family in New Hampshire and Vermont. We spent long days at the beach, having chowder and clamcakes for dinner. We made frequent trips to Brickley’s for homemade ice cream. We hung out at friends’ pools, watching the kids do endless cannonballs while sipping gin and tonics. Bedtimes and boring routines became a thing of the past. By the end of July, however, I was spent … and fat, and broke, and in serious need of detox.


I tried staying home to catch a break. Also, I wanted my kids to experience the summer of my youth: an entire day outdoors with no planned activities. Yet unlike my youth, no other kids were hanging around the hood ready to play, so my kids had only one another to torture. Within minutes fists were in the air, blood was drawn, and my 4-year-old had launched into a blood-curdling scream. Time to call some friends and get the hell out of the house – again. Bank account be damned!

Being constantly on the go wouldn’t have been so bad if not for those pesky tasks like paying bills, doing laundry and cooking – all of which I abandoned completely. My house therefore resembled the “before” photos of a major Pinterest project; the kids wore dirty clothes, and we ate burgers or take-out for dinner most nights. Meanwhile the fresh fruit and veggies I kept buying in moments of delusional enthusiasm turned to mold.

Then there’s the drinking: pool parties, barbeques, picnics, outdoor concerts, drive-in movies, dinner on the beach – endless activities that are so much more enjoyable when you add a Del’s Shandy or some sangria. Plus my 4-year old’s scream is slightly tolerable after a couple of cocktails. I’m not against having adult beverages, but the excessive amounts of food and beverage I’ve consumed this summer brought back my post-pregnancy second-stomach. That two-piece bathing suit I bought in June sits on my floor mocking me, “Go ahead, chunky. I dare you.” Please summer, end already!

Of course I’ll miss the beautiful weather and wearing flip-flops every day. I certainly don’t welcome the next polar vortex; I just can’t stand another minute of this pace. At least I know I’m not alone, as evidenced by the look of glee on my fellow parents’ faces when they talk about the first day of school — quite a contrast to the exhausted, miserable expressions I noticed a few weeks prior. Summer is a marathon and we’re ready to cross the finish line. Yippee!

As an homage to the end of summer and the beginning of the new school year, I’ve written my own version of the song, “Happy” – a little something I’ll sing to myself in a few weeks when I’m tired of making lunches and fighting about getting homework done. So goes the roller coaster of parenthood …

Might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Summer sucks, so glad it’s gone away
It’s not the weather or the carefree play
It’s those f’ing kids, going back to school hurray!

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like drowning your 4-year-old
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like camp is worth its weight in gold
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know your fridge is full of mold
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like summer’s gotten really old

Here come good news talking this and that, yeah,
Say farewell to your summer brat, yeah,
The new school year starts just in time, yeah,
Not soon enough before I lose my mind
Here’s why

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like you drink just to survive
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like your yelling’s gotten out of line
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know you’d rather work nine to five
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like back to school’s your favorite time

Bring me down
Can’t nothing, bring me down
Get on that bus
Bring me down
Can’t nothing, bring me down
Except those Election Day holidays
Bring me down
Can’t nothing bring me down
Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy … Fall!