I hate to be the bearer of bad news, so I’m going to give it to you straight: Your mom has gone batshit crazy. When it comes to your scheduled summer programming, she has morphed into a rabid, caffeinated control freak, obsessed with filling every moment of your summer break.
Educational summer camps, music lessons, swim lessons … whatever it takes. Your day will be filled from dawn to dusk with structured activities, designed to encourage growth and accountability.
Wait, you’re not even in middle school yet? That’s no excuse. Buck up, little camper, it’s time for summer “fun.”
There will be no fort-building for you. No, sir. You’ll be in robotics camp or viola lessons, learning your chosen craft. (Yes, I know you can barely remember your home phone number, but you’re just going to have to try harder.)
If you’re one of the lucky ones, your mom will schedule an hour or two of “free play.” (Yes, scheduling time to be “free” is weird.)
Here’s the thing about your wildly-spinning Helicopter Mom: she can’t help herself. Every minute of your life – from birth until you’re safely invested in a 401k – is going to be about helping you “get ahead.”
Why? Because she was raised by someone just like her – your grandparents. Also known as Helicopter Parents. We’re sick of talking about them, and if you’re a lazy parent (like me), you can’t stand it when they buzz around.
I feel ya, kid.
We’d like to ban the worst of them, but then there’d be no one to organize stuff. Haha, I’m kidding (kinda). Actually, we’re terrified of your scary-smart, super-organized, Pinterest-professional, on-the-go mom. We don’t want to get too close, for fear of being infected with the unnatural desire to plan every minute of everyone’s time.
She remains free, for now, but we’re keeping a close watch. In the meantime, here’s her summer printable. Give it to your mom, please. (Oh, and you might want to run after you do.)
5 Ways to Wreck Summer for Your Kid
1. Make Every Moment a “Teachable” One. If you’re the mom who follows her kid around the playground, verbalizing each action and generally interrupting your kid’s playtime in order to advance their development and knowledge, moms everywhere have a favor to ask. SHUT THE F%*# UP. Grab a latte and sit down like the rest of us. Jesus.
2. Obsess About Your Kid. Want to raise an anxious, co-dependent, obnoxious adult? Obsess over their every action. Make sure your kid knows you’re planning, organizing, and executing all the things they “have” to do in order to succeed at life. Never mind what they enjoy doing – building forts is for babies. Swimming just to swim? Pshaw … that’s crazy talk. Choke down a Valium with that Perrier and chill out.
3. Focus On Their Future. You have such honorable intentions – making sure your kid’s resume is pitch-perfect for when college application time comes along (whether that’s in one year or ten). Well-rounded activities, volunteering, leadership, sports, STEM … it’s all there. But did you remember to let your kid just be a kid? A stressed kid won’t be a successful kid for long. If you need proof, take a look at the Millennial generation. We got good grades and still managed to take screwed-up to a whole new level. Focus on today, skip the quinoa, and order a damn pizza.
4. Forget What “Fun” Is. Fun is not watching mom hang out behind the lens of a camera. Fun is not Facebook status updates. Fun is not pinning meals you’ll never make while your kid pokes at you for attention. Fun is not always brand-new, expensive, or perfect. Fun is real – real moments, real people, real relationships. Get the hell out of your house and find some real-life friends – the ones you meet at the pool or park who will help create the fun times your kids will remember.
5. Start the Summer Days Countdown. Yes, we know you have to work. Yes, having kids at home is tough. We get it. This might come as a surprise … but most of us work. Quit your moaning about how the end of summer can’t come fast enough. We know you’re excited to send your wild, smelly hellions back to school, even though they just got out. But you do remember you had kids because you wanted kids, right? Shut up, put your phone on silent, and go do something with those children you couldn’t wait to bear.
Kid, your parents will tell you that your happiness is what matters most. This summer, hold them to that. If you fall behind in robotics because you were out building that fort in the forest, I’m confident you’re building the skills you really need to “succeed” in life.
Now, if only we could convince your parents. I’ll do my part, if you do yours. You can start by getting outside.