'Summer Break' Is The Biggest Oxymoron Ever

by Christine Organ

Parents, listen up: We’re more than halfway through May, and you know what that means. Chaos. Exhaustion. Field trips and school projects and recitals. Our kids are acting like wild heathens with a serious case of spring fever (if that isn’t a serious, diagnosable medical condition, it should be), and we parents have basically given up. We’re counting down the days until the madness ends.

I’m with you. I feel you, fellow weary parents. Take heart, we’re almost there.

But gear up. Because summer is no fucking joke either.

I know it might sound all kinds of fantabulous right about now with our bleary-eyed rose-colored glasses on. Who can blame us for our twinkly visions of the summer to come? After packing 1,854 lunches (with the crusts cut off the sandwiches, thankyouverymuch), watching 562 innings of baseball in the cold and rain, and signing our name 8,397 times on permission slips, reading logs and homework alerts (because, yes, we forgot about the freaking homework), we’re done. We are so done.

We’re crawling toward the finish line, and the only thing that is cheering us along is the thought of a few months without rousing grumpy kids out of bed in the morning or asking 14 times, “Have you done your homework?” We’ve long since stopped packing lunches, and it’s every child for him/herself. Personally, I don’t fucking care if my kid packs a lunch bag filled with Cheez-Its and Slim Jims, as long as I don’t have to do it.

We’re getting carpal tunnel from signing all those permission slips for fifth-grade band, school trips to the zoo, and field day. Our ears are bleeding from listening to that damn recorder, and if we have to sit through one more cold and rainy soccer practice, we might melt. And just when we think we can’t take anymore, our kids come with the end-of-year countdown calendar filled with theme days. Screw you, spirit week!

The wheels have officially come off this whole operation, folks. We’re done. We are so fucking done. (Teachers, we’re sorry.)

But summer — aah, sweet summer! It will be glorious. No more lunches to pack! No more cranky morning kids! No more homework battles! No more piles of paperwork to deal with (or throw in the trash)! Halle-freaking-lujah!

Summer will be lazy mornings without screaming at our kids to find their damn shoes because the bus is coming. It’ll be weekends that don’t end with announcements that an unfinished school project is due the next morning. We’ll have a ’70s-style summer filled with lemonade stands and running through the sprinkler. Our kids will run around outside until it’s dark. We’ll even print out those pretty chore charts so our kids can self-regulate their screen time and stay on top of their chores without us nagging them. Hell, we might even drink a Tab out on the porch while we’re at it.

Hahahahahahaha! Excuse me for a minute while I catch my breath from all the maniacal laughter. Because summer break is an oxymoron, and that shit just ain’t gonna happen. Stop the delusions now.

We might have the best of intentions and the twinkliest stars in our eyes, but summer really means swapping school lunches for endless requests for snacks. Sibling wars take the place of homework battles. Those piles of paperwork are traded for wet towels and popsicle wrappers strewn about the house. But this time, we get boob sweat and mosquitoes too.

So get ready, parents. This is not a drill. Summer is coming. Prepare yourselves.

You might as well just head to Costco right now to buy the ginormous box of fruit snacks and sunscreen. Make “Shut the freaking door!” your meditation mantra because you will say it at least 245 times a day. Buy some blackout curtains now lest you want to debate your child about why they need to go to bed while it’s still light out every fucking night between June and September.

Don’t get me wrong, summer can be all kinds of amazing — road trips to the beach, evening bike rides, ice cream. As with most things, I’ve found that expectation management is key. In other words, take all those twinkly visions for summer down a notch. Lower. Lower still. Even lower. There. Now you’ve got it.

Solidarity, parents. Only 92 days until it’s back-to-school time.