Being Home With My Kids All Summer Is Going to Kill Me

Mom Moment 35

A while ago I was at a checkup when the nurse asked me what my kids were doing this summer. "Oh, they're home with me," I said. "How nice! You must be having so much fun," she enthused, smiling brightly. There was a beat, and I realized she was waiting for me to agree.

I thought about the days since school had let out, how they seem to have accumulated at least 17 extra hours, hours in which it's incredibly difficult for me to concentrate or run errands or relax. I thought about how it's rained at least 75 percent of the time, and how the house is always a disaster zone of toys and garbage and random articles of clothing. I thought about the logistical hoops I had jumped to find childcare so I could make it to a freaking Pap smear, which, come on, I wasn't looking forward to one bit.

"Yeah," I said. "It's been great."

What, was I going to tell her the TRUTH? And watch that delighted smile slide right off her friendly, just-making-small-talk-while-she-unwraps-the-speculum face?

The thing is, being home with my kids all day every day hasn't exactly been great at all. Sure, the summery things about summer are nice (although I live in Oregon where after a gorgeous sunny spring, the clouds rolled in for like a month starting, no shit, the exact day school let out -- before flipping overnight to scorching humid temperatures). The weekends, with our camping trips and cabin visits and travels, are downright awesome. But being home with the kids day in and day out? It's been a hundred times harder than I thought it would be.

It's not like this is the first summer I've done this, but it's the first summer when my two boys have been 5 and almost-8 years old, and you guys, they are so much louder than they used to be. THEY ARE SO LOUD, EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY, FROM THE INSTANT THEY ROLL OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING UNTIL THE BLESSED MOMENT WHEN WE TUCK THEM IN AND -- OH THANK YOU JESUS -- SHUT THEIR DOORS AT NIGHT, THAT THE ONLY WAY I CAN THINK OF TO ADEQUATELY CONVEY THE AMOUNT OF NOISE THEY CREATE IS TO WRITE THIS SENTENCE IN ALL CAPS.

The only time they aren't literally bouncing off the walls during the day is if I let them sit slackjawed in front of the television. As soon as the creeping sense of guilt gets too hard to ignore and I perform a brisk clap and say, "Okay! That's enough cartoons!" -- they're off to the races.

"Send them outside!" you're saying. Believe me, I do. We have a huge-ass yard that's perfect for hours of peaceful play. Why, I remember being a kid and how I could spend entire afternoons outside, playing and pretending and utterly lost in my own world. It was magical.

However, either I'm remembering that through the distorting filter of fond nostalgia, or my ability to mentally transform myself into the Black Stallion -- so wild and untamed! Watch how I toss my head and whicker before I charge down this uninhabited island beach where I've found myself after the steamer went down off the coast of North Africa driveway -- had something to do with me being an only child. (Or maybe it's that I was a little weird about horses?)

Anyway, I send them outside and three minutes later I have to rush out there because one kid's got out the garden shears and he's striding off in a purposeful manner and oh shit that's not good. Or someone's crying because someone got hit in the head with a soccer ball. Or someone pushed someone else into the sprinkler. Or they're scrambling up the grape trellis because the 7-year-old has talked the 5-year-old into being a pirate and walking the plank. ("What, Mom? He's FINE.")

They come inside and they're like mini King Midases, only instead of gold, everything they touch instantly gets coated with crumbs, LEGOs, and broken McDonald's toys. I tell them to clean and it turns into a fight. I send them back outside and they press their snouts against the door and whine to come in ("IT'S RAAAAAAINING" got immediately replaced by "IT'S HOOOTTTTTTT"). I reluctantly drag them to the grocery store, reminding them to behave -- and I emerge half an hour later, my hair pure white and my brain visibly pulsing from my eyesockets.

Meanwhile, I've got deadlines to meet. I hunch over my computer and try to ignore the cacophony of noise as best I can, but oh god. I didn't make any childcare or camp plans for this summer, and you guys, it was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE.

I thought I could balance it better, I really did. I thought they could watch TV in the mornings while I worked, and then we'd have the rest of the day to do summer activities together and it would be, as the nurse said, so much fun. Being home with my 5-year-old all year wasn't so bad, after all.

The problem was, I didn't factor in the result of two school-age brothers being home together. Each of my boys, when separated from the other, is charming, well-behaved, and pleasant to be around. Combined, they're napalm.

I love my kids beyond all reason, I really do. But oh my god, it's going to be a long, long, long, long, long, long summer.

Do you find summers to be ... um, "challenging"?

Image via Linda Sharps

boys, behavior, summer break


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

KevWi... KevWife.BaniMom

Wow... I feel you word for word! Except I only have a 7yr old daughter that sounds like your boys together! Love my girl, love being with her but good God! And I work 3rd shift. Is the end of August here yet? Whine whine, go outside, come back in, play games, whine, go outside, cry cuz the neighbor girl can't come out, harass the cats, harass US! Go away..LOL

mamao... mamaof2monsters

I feel like I wrote this except mine are 10 year old dd and a 3 year old ds. Now I am 9 months pregnant and suffering like no other so I can't entertain them every 5 seconds. And the rain has been horrible every day. We didn't join the pool because I wouldn't be able to go half the summer, but I bought one for outside and they either want to use it when it's raining or they won't go in at all! All they do it fight! It's awful.

Melis... Melissa1508

I haven't had the pleasure yet, but I have two girls, 5 and 13 months, so I can only imagine what it would be like having them both home for the whole summer.  Gah!  haha  Big girl child starts kindergarten in August and I plan to stay home with Small girl child, so on holidays I will feel your pain! 


I feel your pain, Sistah. When I was younger, I couldn't wait until school was out and Summer vacation began. But, when my kids were in the elementary phase, I use to shudder with horror when the last day of school rolled around. I counted the days to the 1st day of school. I mean, I literally danced around the house the night before; you couldn't wiped the silly grin off my face.

Angie... AngieHayes

I use to pretend I was a horse outside as well. Or I had lost a magical stone and was transferred to another world. My kids are only 2 and 4, we will see if they have as good a imagination as I did. I stay at home with them all the time, they are not in school yet, I want to kill myself some days!

lalab... lalaboosh

That sounds like heaven compared to my days. My kids both just want to cuddle me all day, even in the summer heat. They are also loud and spazzy. Oh, babies. If mine could go play outside for even 15 minutes and give me a moment to, Idk, put on deodorant or eat or something I'd probably cry tears of joy. Lol.

Btw, are you teaching and enforcing 'inside' and 'outside' voices? At 8 I was able to control my voice and follow rules most of the time. If you're tryin and struggling a parenting class will help, they're very supportive and depending on the class you choose the kids can come, too. Then it's like a learning activity for the whole family.

nonmember avatar Kristi

While I would love more time with my children I know myself and myself would say, "are you effing nutz?" I have wonderful childcare that keeps my kids entertained and well taken care of so I worry not.

Stephanie Cline

I have three boys. 4, 6 and 8 years of age. I think that I am going to die of a heart attack sometime in the next 45 days! They scream, fight, yell, scream hit, eat, scream, etc. Legos and broken McDonalds toys, I so get it. I get all of it except the rain becaus I am in Bay Area, California. So, it's just freaking HOT! Help?!

nonmember avatar blue

I stay at home,and work from home. It's not a big deal for me. I've dealt with it for years. I kind of think moms who work outside of the home are wusses, in this arena. You only have a few months. They are your kids who you should know how to parent, DEAL WITH IT. Good lord.

Barbara Card

Seriously? Get a grip before you send yourself off to a looney bin. Did you know you'd be spending the summer with your children? (I am the mother of 4 kids and spent countless summers at home, and now have 4 grandkids that visit for over night stays w/no parents) Planning ahead with at least some activities or inexpensive child friendly trips in mind would lessen the anxiety you seem to be  experiencing. The library, the park, the beach, an outdoor scavenger hunt, identify bugs or animal foot prints, find books with inexpensive crafts to make using things from nature. I know that it can be hectic, take a deep breath, do yourself and your children an immense favor - stop finding all the negative things about "spending the whole summer with your kids." They will only be little once, and this time will never come back to you or them again.

1-10 of 35 comments 1234 Last