It hit me today. I’ve officially reached that point in the summer where I’m done. I’m not just done. I’m so-flipping-done-I-might-lose-it done, stick-a-fork-in-me-and-serve-me-straight-up-to-the-month-of-January done, I-may-or-may-not-have-just-signed-a-petition-for-year-round-school done. Done, y’all. Just done.
I love summer. Come Memorial Day, I’m all, “Wee! Look at me! I’m fun mom, and our summer is going to be mindblowing! Swimming, no schedule, days filled with activities…it’s gonna be straight epic, y’all!” And we do. We swim, we sun, we zoo, we playground, we playdate, we craft, we trampoline park, we VBS, we summer camp, we children’s museum, we vacation, we lake, we beach, we adventure. We summer so hard I should get a medal. It’s flipping magnificent. Fourth of July hits, and it’s righteous. Fireworks, red, white and blue, BBQ…all the feel-good feel goods that a successful Independence Day should bring. Straight up magical, and I’m walking off the stage mic-dropping summer in my kids’ faces. My kids have summer memories to last a lifetime.
But then the inevitable happens. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Not this year. Not after the summer of epicness that we’re experiencing. But I can see the slow transformation happening the weeks after the 4th of July. The temperatures begin to creep into uncomfortable, and the newness of summer has worn thin. Like cresting over a hill, the slow decline suddenly goes hardcore steep—and I mean plummeting—down a downward spiral of summer and it’s no longer fun. It’s August now, and I’m done.
We made this incredibly long summer bucket list at the beginning of summer. I thought there was no way we could get through all 134 activities in just 90 days. Nope, we tore through that list in 28 days, even doing some of the activities twice. Super. I fully realize I set myself up for failure by stuffing every day at the beginning with so much activity, but I beg you to keep in mind that that was June mom. June mom was She-ra, Princess of Power, slaying and defeating every ounce of boredom from shimmying its way into my children’s lives. Now I’m August mom. August mom is Snuffulufagus and Debbie Downer rolled up into a burrito of tiredness and an empty wallet. My kids look at me every morning all, “Hey Mom, what are we going to do?” And you know what I’ve got? Nothin’. August mom dumps a bag of Legos, half of which have been chewed on by the dog, on the floor and says, “Have at it, kids. Here’s a whole day worth of fun. I’m gonna just lay on the couch and rest my eyelids for a second.” Every piece of construction paper in their craft closet has been colored on—some pieces with just a stray mark of a yellow crayon in the upper right corner that you have to squint to see. Heaven forbid that one suggest a child create the next masterpiece of fine art on that hideously scarred piece of yellow-cornered construction paper. The bubble containers are empty; the water balloons are all popped; the sprinkler hose is broken; the baby pool has a leak; and the Playdoh is crusty and dry. And you know what? You can’t even add water to Playdoh to revive it. Believe me, I tried. Friggin’ August.
It’s so. stinkin’. hot. Like, boiling-surface-of-the-sun, jumped-into-a-volcano, roasting-your-body-in-the-oven hot. I don’t even know why I bother to shower. Give it three minutes and I’ll be covered in a sweaty film of stickiness. I swear that someone with a massive stench of body odor is following me around town. I’m slowly coming to terms that that body odor wafting at me from everywhere I go is me. Me, y’all. I’m now B.O. mom. Up yours, August.
It’s too dang hot to do anything. Temperatures are soaring into the 100s and, unless your outdoor activities are happening at 6:00 A.M., they ain’t happening. You think you’ll get out of the house and do an activity, so you get everyone dressed, pack up a bag, and walk out of the house all chipper, fully pumping your kids up to have the best day ever. By 10:00 A.M., everyone’s red-cheeked, thirsty, fighting, and crying, and you end up lugging a six-year-old and a four-year-old, along with your 30-pound mom bag, around the zoo where there’s not an animal to be seen because even they know it’s too hot to move out of their caves today. That B.O. stench keeps creeping into your nostrils. When you finally get back to the car, you scorch the first three layers of epidermis off because your car seats have heated to the equivalent of a cow brand. It’s August, and summer activities suck.
At this point in the summer, the swimming pool is your only option. And the swimming pool might as well be a hot tub—one massive hot tub of tinkle, because we’ve also reached that point in the summer where you know that pool is 2/3 pee and 1/3 water and it’s just sitting there boiling under the sun. You see those kids who hit the pool at 10:00 A.M. and by 4:00 P.M, they’re still there, not one trip to the bathroom later. And you can’t blame them, can you? Because, really, is there anything worse than peeling a wet bathing suit off of your body and then trying to wipe with public bathroom-grade toilet paper that will only disintegrate mid-wipe, only to have to peel that sopping wet suit back up your body, where it ends up all wonky with an arm strap stuck on your thigh? Plus, can we all agree that pool bathrooms are just straight-up nasty? There’s water on the floor that your bare feet are stepping into and you’re just praying that it’s pool water and not urine. And they carry that weird smell, like a mix between toilet bowl cleaner and the musty log ride at Six Flags. OK, so maybe those kids peeing in the pool are mine because I just don’t have the energy to bust up into the potty with those enticing options facing me. Plus, it’s August, y’all. Do me a favor and just act like you don’t hear me when I whisper into my kid’s ear, “I know you have to go. Just tinkle in the pool.” We can all pretend it didn’t happen.
And can we all agree that people just plain ol’ suck when they’re hot? I can say that because I fully wear the badge of “Don’t jack with me, I’m hot and pissy” come July 22 through August 31. In June, I was pumping JT’s new “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and grooving along in my car singing at full blast. Today, I heard the opening chords of that same song when the radio came on and snapped it off as fast as I could to sit in the ringing silence of radiating car heat instead. You better believe your tail end that if JT had been standing in front of my mom car, I would have plowed him down when that song burned my ears because nothing in me wants to “just dance, dance, dance, dance.” Now I’ve got that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day and I want to roundhouse kick August in the throat.
Now, let’s talk about my kids. My children are starting to resemble the pack of feral cats that were birthed behind my fence a few years ago. They’re all crusty, eyes saddened with extreme boredom because I haven’t kept every second of their day jam-packed with excitement, matted hair covering their faces because why would I brush it when I’m the only one they’re going to be staring at all day? They have this permanent smell of chlorine and urine (remember that water-to-tinkle ratio we just covered?), due in part to the fact that it’s too hot to do anything but head straight to the pool and in part to the fact that I gave up on baths about four weeks ago. I mean, they’re hopping into a big vat of chemicals every day strong enough to bleach an orca whale white. Shouldn’t that be enough to clean ‘em for the day??? You know how feral cats constantly mew at you from hunger, pleading for just a little bite to eat? I feel like I’m hearing that all day long, but instead of cute little mews from precious kitties, I’m getting “I’M STARVING!” when said feral animal (aka: my kid) just ate a banana, a bag of Doritos, string cheese, and a booger 15 minutes ago.
Not only do they look feral, they’ve basically turned into hyperactive monkeys…that just smoked crack. They’re all twitchy from lack of schedule. They can destroy a clean room in 17.2 seconds. They can’t keep their hands off of each other, picking and prodding just to see who can bug the other first. And I swear something’s happened to their ears. I’m about to start funding a scientific research study about this. They can hear each other perfectly fine. They can hear their friends loud and clear. But my voice? It’s like it doesn’t even exist. I repeat myself over and over and over and over and over and over again. It’s like I’m having a conversation with myself. It must be the extreme temperatures. Something must be behind this lack of hearing. It can’t just be that they’ve gone all crack monkey on me, can it??? Oh, wait—yes, it can. Bite me, August.
I find myself dreaming of Meet the Teacher. I walk into the HEB and am led like a horse to water to the school supply section just to get a whiff of the fresh pencils and college ruled spiral-bound notebooks. I’m seeing back-to-school shopping ads and my dreams are filled with packing lunches and racing everyone out the door to get to school on time.
Look, don’t go getting all sanctimommy on me. I do love my kids. But can we all agree that August is not the month any of us would like to be reviewed and analyzed for a Mother of the Year award? Judge me in December and I’m a rock star. I’m decking the halls. I’m jingle bell-rocking my pants off. I’m a present-wrapping, ho-ho-ho-ing, spirit of the holidays, jolly good ol’ Mother of the Century. Come December, I’m mothering so hard, I make Santa look lame. But August? I just can’t. Not a chance. And today, this day in August, I reached a new low.
I climbed into my car this morning with my Yeti filled to the brim with ice cold water. It’s the only happiness in my day at this point, knowing that sweet, sweet thrill of looking into my Yeti in two hours and seeing that precious ice still swimming around there at the bottom all cold and delicious. Then the crackhead monkeys start at it:
[Poke, poke, poke]
“Mom! He’s touching me!!”
“Mommy, she just stuck her tongue out at me!”
“Mom, he just took my sunglasses!”
“I was wearing them first!”
“STOP IT!!” I screamed. “Stop it right this minute or I’m gonna pour this cup of ice cold water on both of your heads!” And then I cried. Not because I realized what had just come out of my mouth (not my proudest mom moment), but because I knew they wouldn’t stop it. And I knew that I’d have to hold true to my promise. And that meant that my small glimmer of hope in my day, that ice cold water waiting for me, would be wasted on those two feral cat monkeys.
That’s it, summer. You win. I’m done.