Aren’t Kids Supposed to Be Off for the Summer?

Pricey camps, luxe pools, artsy activities ... with summer on the horizon, many parents are wondering what happened to the days when you could tell your kids, "Go out and play!"

In the end, I did what I do best—I came up with another plan.

Plan C involved fewer dollars (practically $1,000 less than Plan B). It involved the girls doing cool activities and doing nothing, which meant I’d be the most awesome-est, most balanced, most envy-free/guilt-free/panic-free mother on the block. Because Plan C also involved me. A whole lot of me. Plan C required me to take off work for the entire month of August.

The only way I could finagle it would be to frantically puzzle out how to reschedule my own summer schedule. Clearly, I’d have to make up the lost income somewhere. But I was pretty sure I could swing being a Pool Mom for 31 days.

My kids would have the best of both summers.

And so would I.

Five months after my last panic attack, on the first Monday morning in August, I didn’t have to pack lunches, or snacks, or water bottles. I didn’t have to search the house for the nylon camp backpacks that always seemed to be in the van, or spray the kids with sunscreen at 8:02 and pray that it would last all day while they were gone. I didn’t have to do anything. Which was far more disconcerting than I recall it being 34 years ago, when I was seven.

“What are we doing today?” Blair asked when I made her turn off the TV after two and a half hours of iCarly reruns.

“I don’t know,” I said. “The pool?”

“The pool? We aaaaaaaalways go to the pool!” she moaned like an angry goat.

“Are you joking? We hardly ever go to the pool!” I moaned back, feeling The Kraken rising.

“Yes we doooooo,” her sister Drew chimed in, punctuating her whine with a little fake sob. “It’s so booooooring! We want to do something fun!”

“Like what?” I asked, wondering in that very second if I was wrong about it all.
Maybe it doesn’t matter what a kid does or doesn’t do in the summer, since she’ll always look back on it lovingly 30 years later. Because 30 years later, she’ll be dealing with this.

“I know!” Blair yelled, jumping up and down on the ottoman in her Tinker Bell PJs. “Let’s go roller-skating at that place! I looooved that place.”