on needing a summer do-over: the existential stress of "18 summers"

Last week was our first week back at school, and it was a rough one. I found myself feeling pretty down all week. For one, I think I’ve been in a kind of cheerleader denial over Jafta having to go to a separate school.  I’ve tried to put on a happy face and seem fine with it for his sake, but the truth is that it’s bumming me out in a major way.  It’s inconvenient, to say the least. . . it is literally impossible to pick him up on time given that the twins get out at the same time. Every afternoon is a frantic car chase to get the twins, Jafta, and then Karis picked up within a very short window. But beyond that, I’m just now dealing with the disappointment on how it all played out, and not having the kids together at a school. I got a letter that appeared to be some kind of legally required notice that the new school Jafta is attending is “on notice” for underperforming, and that did not assuage my depression about the situation.

Even more than the school situation, though, I think I’m just feeling depressed (and slightly shocked) that our seemingly short summer already came and went.  I have no idea what happened to our summer. We went to the beach . . . once. We swam at the YMCA . . . once. The rest is pretty much a blur of deadlines and cleaning up crap off the floor and dealing with school drama and laundry and grading papers and signing escrow documents and pretty much the same thing we do all year long. In retrospect, it doesn’t really feel like we had a summer – whatever that’s supposed to feel like.

It seems like there is a lot of pressure surrounding summers. In fact, I noticed a Pinterest meme surrounding the idea of "18 Summers" - the gist being that you only have 18 summers with your children, so you’d better make the most of it.  Or, as my anxiety-and-guilt-prone brain reads it: if every single second of your summer is not an epic adventure, YOU ARE FAILING.  

18 summers. NO PRESSURE!!!

I struggled with most of the summer as I watched people posting photos of lazy days at the pool, popsicles at the beach, and fun days at Disney. It’s hard, as a working mom, to feel like the whole world is on vacation while you still have to do the daily grind. We did manage a couple trips and lazy days, but it all blew by too fast.  I need a do-over. 

How do you feel like your summer went? Did you make the most of it? Or is “making the most of it” just an illusion as we watch the highlight reels of everyone else’s life on instagram?  Do other working moms struggle with guilt over not having fantastic and schedule-free summers?


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