It’s 9:45pm on a beautifully sunny evening in South Devon. That’s because the sun is still up - and so is my 8 year old son. It’s a school night. This has been going on for the last 4 weeks.
It’s summer in England. The weather is over 20 degrees! It’s sunny. It’s warm. The nights are longer and everyone is outside making the most of it. Because who knows how long it will last (this is England after all). What that also implies, however, is that the entirety of our social calendar occurs within a glorious 6-8 week period (if you’re lucky).
So rather than doing one super-fun activity a day - you’re now doing three. Fancy an impromptu picnic in the park with friends after school? Count me in! Want to go for a family bike ride after dinner? Of course! Girls night for drinks by the riverside pub after the kids are in bed? Wouldn’t miss it! Today - tomorrow - and every single day that you can until the summer weather leaves us in her wake again for another year and it’s all over.
So, from one sun-worshipping, fun-loving, summer-time kind of gal to another, I can safely say that motherhood has taken my beloved summer and shat all over it. Why? Because someone has to make all that fun happen. It doesn't just happen. I make it all possible. You need to have groceries in house to make a last minute beach picnic. That swimming costume better be dried and ready to go for tomorrow’s amazing adventure. Goggles? Who’s got the goggles? Mum does. The mental load that you normally get exhausted by goes into overdrive as you struggle to keep up with all this damn merriment. Don’t even get me started on last minute camping trips. That shit needs to be planned -and sometimes you only get a day’s notice. But you wouldn’t want to miss out on all your friends and all the fun so you find a way to make it happen. That might mean missing a few more hours of precious down time in the evening. By the time this day is done it’s time to start the next.
Throw working into this hedonistic mix and you’re totally overwhelmed! I’ve got a calendar with colour-coded ‘who’s got the kids today’ notes scribbled all over it. Some mums I know have got spreadsheets. Spreadsheets! To organise all this fun, work, childcare, amazingness that is your new summertime experience.
But that’s just it - it’s our experience. All the exhaustion and constant bag-packing and snack grabbing - all the late nights and lost downtime - all the mental juggling and chess-like three moves ahead strategizing - why would we put ourselves through all this? For them, of course. It’s all for them. Their experience of summer is simply this - it’s the best time of their lives and they’ve been waiting all year for it. These are their memories you’re making. And you’re making some pretty epic memories for them.
So three cheers to all you kick ass mamas - you memory makers - who keep digging into that bag of tricks and come up trumps again and again. You’re amazing.
(and of course I don't really loathe summer, ha!)