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How to Keep Busy When Your Children Are Away During the Summer

clean living roomOh hey! Do you have one or more small children? Did they go away to camp or to visit a relative for an extended period of time this summer? Yeah, my daughter did, too. Since I’m a single mother, the house is pretty empty without her, but I’ve learned how to occupy the void. Here are seven ways you can keep busy when your children are away during the summer:

1. Cleaning

When your children are away, take the opportunity to dispose of all the drawings you could never get away with getting rid of in their presence to prepare for another school year full of drawings you won’t be able to get rid of until next summer. As you recycle these art class masterpieces, think about the circle of life and how your own mother would never have let you have so much shit lying around her precious, pristine house, but you’re an enlightened being who understands that children love to hoard and that their attachment to every piece of paper they’ve ever made a mark on even accidentally is a part of their natural development which will allow them to one day flourish in the paper-free digital world they’ll inherit.

2. School-year prep

Buy that new backpack, maybe a couple of outfits. Look around at your own pristine living room before it gets destroyed by sleepovers and playdates. Light a candle for all the pens, pencils and markers lost in the past year. Buy several new sets, because you know the school is going to ask you for them anyway.

3. Socializing

When your children are away, get together with your friends especially your single, childless ones. When they tell you their exciting, ribald dating stories, laugh along with them and say something like, “Man, you know, my life has been pretty crazy recently, too. I was at this protest against nationwide mandated standardized testing … it got pretty intense. I mean, math, right?!”

4. Bond with your pets

Get uncomfortably close with your dog. Hold him like a baby in your arms and tell him through the tears, “I’M SO LUCKY I ADOPTED YOU. WITHOUT YOU I’D BE NOTHING RIGHT NOW. YOU’RE SAVING MY LIFE.” Then let him lick your mouth a little bit longer than you should.

5. Eating

Buy lots of crackers, potato chips, pasta, etc. this is your time to eat all the gross carbs from your youth that you would never feed your own child. Squirt some Cheez Whiz on a saltine, then crumble it into a bowl of Ramen noodles and follow it up with a Pop-Tart. Mmm.

6. Rearrange the Furniture

Not just in all the rooms which will probably be a natural by-product of cleaning but in all of the dollhouses, too. It’s not because you miss playing. You just want everything to be perfect when the kids come home, right Barbie? (“Mmm-hmm.”)

7. Date

If you’re married, go out on date nights! Have fun! If you’re single like me, go on a dating website and make plans with someone that neither of you have any desire to follow through on, then cancel. You gotta be out there if you want to find love, am I right?!

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