Our Summer To-Do List Went Undone -- And That's Okay

by Shanna Walker
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and GlobalStock/Getty

The summer was just so great. I mean, I didn’t even mind that there was hardly even a moment to catch my breath between those wild last two weeks of school and the start of a new set of activities for everyone. It just did not bother me a single bit that the last few days of school were Field Days, which required copious amounts of parent participation. Or that the party didn’t stop with the Field Days, but instead led straight into popsicle-fueled, squealing kid pool parties. It was of no concern to me that my daily allotment of patience ran out approximately one hour before the sun set each day, if not sooner. And I am telling you right now that I am completely fine with all the towels that I washed and dried this summer.

We went to the beach, where we sweated buckets, sprayed multiple cans of $18 sunscreen into the wind, and carried all the things to all the places for all the people. We washed sand out of places that haven’t seen the light of day in quite some time. We watched money fly out of our pockets in exchange for melted ice cream and various plastic objects that may already be lost or broken. But it was a resort, and I did not wash any towels, so that made it a vacation.

Back at the homestead, I opened and shut the back door approximately 57 times a day so the dog could go in and out at her leisure and not do her business on my already dirty floors. By doing this, I generously provided cool air to the entire backyard. Always giving back, no matter what the season.


I called the air conditioning repairman eight times because it felt like the AC was struggling to keep up. I mean, is 85 degrees an acceptable indoor temperature? Am I wrong to want to sit in my home without dripping sweat? Apparently so. Whatever. Nothing works like it’s supposed to. On the bright side with all these towels lying around, at least I can easily wipe myself down.

I went to the grocery store almost every day. Turns out, every single being that lives here has to eat. Every day. Multiple times!

Do we get extra credit on this assignment? Because I can also tell you what I DIDN’T do, which is cook the food from the grocery store. I didn’t even act like I was going to. For three months, all the people in my house consumed food that came in crinkly packages, and no one is even remotely close to dead, or unhealthy. In fact, they seem more robust than ever, continually asking for more! Now that the kids have learned that they can actually prepare this kind of food on their own, I‘m starting to think that if they learn the Amazon password, I might be out of a job. But probably not. For one thing, they’d run out of clean towels and cheese puffs in approximately three days, which would cause so much infighting they’d have no choice but to bring me back.

Something else I didn’t do? Schoolwork. That’s right. Aside from sporadic required reading, which served the dual purpose of getting everyone away from everyone else, I basically stood at the top of the Summer Slide and pushed my kids down it. (Sorry, teachers). Wheeeeeeeeeee! Then I greeted them at the bottom of the Summer Slide and handed them handheld electronics. It was in those moments that I truly felt loved.

I didn’t take my kids roller skating, something that no one will let go, no matter how many other entertaining activities we did. I didn’t let my tween get a YouTube channel because I don’t even know how it works, and it sounds like a bad idea. I didn’t do any home improvement projects. I didn’t plant a garden. I didn’t keep the house clean. I didn’t declutter the playroom. I didn’t book next summer’s vacation. I didn’t read a ton of books. I didn’t lose my cool, except once. A day.

So what did I do this summer?



Do I get my gold star now, or later?

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