If I Don't Schedule The Sh*t Out Of My Kids' Summer, We Will Never Leave The House

by Sara Farrell Baker
Originally Published: 
Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock

Yes, you read that right.

I’m sending checks to all the day camps and filling out health forms and scheduling various playdates and vacations. I want my kids signed up for as many activities as I can manage to drive them to during the entire course of their summer break.

Otherwise, the morning of the first day of school next year is going to rear its ugly head as I rear my ugly head. Hair matted, eyebrows grown wild, and still wearing the same pajamas I was wearing Memorial Day weekend.

I need structure. I need to know what we are going to be doing before we do it. Spontaneity is great, and I love when we get to do something unexpected at the last minute, but I can’t rely on spontaneity alone to make it through these next couple of months at home. Without a solid reason to leave the house in the morning — preferably a reason I paid money for, so I feel obligated to make it — we make it out of our home very little. At heart, I am a homebody, and it is easy for me to turn into a hermit when leaving the comfort of home is not entirely necessary.

And this is not even for the sake of my children. I know they love being at home. Their toys are here. Their favorite snacks are here. Their best friend, Netflix, lives here. They don’t mind staying in their pajamas. In fact, I think they prefer it.

Who the schedule is really for is me. Because while I love all those things, too, I need to interact with other adults. I need to see my friends or just chat with the checkout person at the grocery store.

Signing my kids up for all the crap in a 10-mile radius allows me the time to see other adults, so we can high-five each other on making it another day. It forces me to do things like brush my teeth before my husband pulls into the driveway in the evening. It gives us a routine that we need in order to do even the most basic of ish, because when left to my own devices, I am no better at managing time than my 4-year-old.

It’s basically like when you were in college, and Sober You would make arrangements ahead of time to make sure that Blasted You couldn’t do anything too catastrophic after all those keg stands. You’d write your most responsible friend’s phone number and your own address on your arm in permanent marker. That way, people knew whom to call if you stole a bouncer’s walkie-talkie and started yelling “breaker breaker one nine” into it while running away sideways.

Or they knew where to drop you off when you took a swig from a bottle of penicillin you kept in your purse because you thought that would protect you from germs before sitting on the bar’s bathroom floor and declaring you were, quote, “donezo.”

This is pretty much that. Everyone can relate now, right? Shared experiences?

Spring Me makes all the arrangements possible in the known universe to protect Summer Me from three months of wearing nothing but activewear while never actually working out. Spring Me prevents Summer Me from locking myself in my bedroom so I don’t hear my kids destroying the kitchen while I pretend it isn’t happening. Spring Me is in charge of keeping Summer Me from going to the library on the first day of break to sign my kids up for the summer reading program but never going back and accruing enough library fines to have the self-help section named after me.

As fall approaches and I’m whizzing through the store to stock up on the ridiculous amount of crap on the back-to-school shopping list — that, for some reason, doesn’t just read “pencil and paper”— it may all feel like one endless cycle. But at least it’s not the end of a three-month cycle of bingeing Netflix on the couch with my kids while we feast on Cheetos with the drapes drawn so we have no idea what time of day it is in the outside world.

Although, that does sound pretty great. I will also pencil in some days like that on the calendar too.

This article was originally published on