Everywhere I go I hear, “This summer is too long!” “Ugh, I can’t wait until August is over!” People even say things like, “What do you DO with your kids all day?”, or “Can’t wait for the kids to be back in school” in front of their children!
Just last week a song appeared in my Facebook feed. It was a parody sung by a frustrated mother screaming “When will September come already!” and complaining about all the hardships of the longest vacation of the year. Yes, it gained many “likes” and numerous parents were able to relate to its rendition of the various overwhelming parenting ordeals that occur and accumulate during summer vacation.
Well, I may be in the minority, but I LOVE summer. I love everything about it. I love the weather, the sun shining, the smell of the freshly cut grass, and the fact that in Israel you know that it will not rain.
I love the less stressful mornings, the spontaneous moments with family, spending quality time with the kids, and having them all home. (Truth be told, we keep them home every so often during the year for what my husband and I call “mental health days” which is basically playing hooky and giving them a few hours off with no worries or hassles of school, assignments, or bullies.)
I love that for a few months a year the type of snack I make my kids in the morning isn’t dictated to me by a municipality institution. (I mean, seriously, does it HAVE to be a sandwich every day??)
I love that we can do workbooks at our own pace, have the time to do creative art projects, and that there is a more relaxed overall feeling in the house.
It’s true that very demanding jobs can make it difficult for us to juggle all the summer strain. We definitely have to appreciate those who keep their stores open, clinics operational, and work places running even during those hot summer days (and nights). It’s also true that many times a lot less work gets done. Some of us have inflexible bosses, strict hours, or rigid places of work, and taking off means paying a high price. It can be challenging, and sometimes we feel like there are just not enough hours in the day. Some nights we even have to make up for the lost time by staying up late to finish a business project.
But it’s worth it.
It’s worth it to take a little extra time off work, if we can, because these moments are precious. This is time we can never get back.
Instead of complaining about how long the summer is, we should enjoy the priceless moments we have with our children. Rather than running around like crazy people to find a place to stash our kids in order to complete job-related tasks, we should overcome any possible logistical difficulties, relish the extra time we’ve been given, and prioritize by putting our family first.
Honestly, in some cases, it’s a lot about wanting to be with our kids. How many of us can really say that given the choice we would opt for a full-time parenting career over a round-the-clock profession out of the house? Would we rather take a child-oriented vacation or a trip with friends away from all the family hassles?
For a lot of people who can be home and decide not to, it’s about changing attitudes, shifting perspectives, and altering mindsets. It’s about getting creative, resourceful, inventive, innovative, and imaginative! It’s about saving our energy for the people we love. It’s not about parenting after school for three or four hours a day when most time is spent doing grueling homework problems, making dinner, and giving baths.
It’s about being the primary source of education for the kids, not relying on schools to instill values and teachers to model proper behavior. It’s about fostering long-lasting, open, honest, affectionate, and devoted relationships with our children. It’s about commitment, dedication, and desire. It is a life-long investment which is not always easy, but it is doable, and tremendously important (dare I say, fun)!
We must cherish these summer stretches enabling us to bond with our loved ones, think out of the box, and make our own schedules. We should treasure the super special heart-to-heart conversations without having to rush out of the house, the additional time at the library, the late night festivities, family outings, ice cream parties, special sports days in nice weather, and time to acquire new skills and hobbies.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to miss the summer. Time flew by! In fact, I can’t believe it’s almost September!