Summer is coming, and I am scared.

It is our last sodden week of school, and field days and picnics are being relocated inside. School trips are mud baths, and the ark building elective is full up. I cant remember such drear.

My fantasy summer with the boys is being reimagined as a rainy nightmare. Substitute iPads for treasure hunts, building houses of cards instead of forts in trees, Swimming in the puddles in our yard instead of the pool at the club. Or most realistically never leaving the house at all. Those 14 short weeks seem so so so long.

Lets be honest. Even in full sun a summer of stay at home parenting can be anything but golden.

We start with images of art projects and tree houses and neighborhood tag. S’mores and late night movies with pop corn.

Then day three arrives.

Thats my pokemon. How come you have the longer turn on the computer. This is the worst family evah. You are SO MEAN. I will NOT go to tennis. You can’t make me. This dinner is disgusting.

Such small phrases. Its death by 1000 cuts to my imaginary super mom.

Bathing, always a tenuous situation at the Palmer house is over. Chlorine is clean, right? But if it rains we won’t swim. Does that mean we need to wash with soap? Do we have soap?

The summer brings me face to face with the ultimate stay at home parent question. How can all of the planets align in such a way that my kids BOTH want to leave the house? With the beach, and bikes beckoning  no other season makes stay at home parenting seem so stay at home-y.

First we need to find the time to leave the house. Any time before 10:30 is out of the question, because we haven’t yet glazed over in front of our collective screens. Too close to noon is tough because there is obviously no place OTHER than our kitchen to eat the piles of crackers that make up lunch. Any time between 2-4 is rough because my internal clock seems to think I am European and wants me to nap then. Between 4-6 might work…unless we have a dinner that needs to be prepared. After 6 is impossible. Despite the blinding light and kids waxing energy levels my parenting abilities are over by then, so a public appearance is simply not in anyone’s best interest. From 6-whenever they fall asleep my parenting goal is simply to keep them alive. Which they can do on their own now as long as they are not trying to wipe each other off the planet.

So assuming 11-11:45 or 12:45-1:30 works we are all set to go. But then…we have weather limitations to contend with. Rain, grey, cold, or heat…any of these things can stop us from leaving the house. Factoring in all of our preferences I have found that between 72-76 degrees with partial sun and a light breeze are our effective parameters.

OK, so its 11:15, 73 degrees and we are ready to go. Two of us are ready at least. The other one probably needs an outfit change. Perhaps some long underwear and bog boots? Sure. Now he needs to painfully collect each individual pokemon card from whatever hidey hole he has squirreled it away in. Inevitably the MOST SPECIAL ONE is missing. By now Oliver and I are roasting in the car. Can you feel it? The clock ticking closer to lunch?

So we are off. Except he has hidden the car keys. Lets search. Lets retrace our steps. Lets be distracted by things we find on the way. Keys recovered in his brothers backpack (Obviously.)

And I realize…we have no idea where we are going.

When in doubt…

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And I get a picture. And I save it to Notabli. So we can all remember these perfect summer days.

 

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.