Summer is in full-swing, y’all; and if you’re a stay-at-home parent who’s got one or more kids under the age of 10 at home with you, chances are you’re busily counting down the days ’til the first day of school — like nobody’s business.
Karen Johnson is right there with you. The Babble contributor and writer behind the blog The 21st-Century SAHM is on Week 6 of her kids’ summer vacation — and she is D-O-N-E. The mom of three recently penned a Facebook post that’s going viral, in which she shares just one snippet of the “day to day sh*t-show” that is her summer vacation so far; and it’s so honest it hurts.
“Scene: I am cooking grilled cheese on the stove for the kids’ lunch,” Johnson’s post begins. “8yo asks to go get the mail (the box is a few houses up the street). Not to ever miss out on anything ever, 4yo pipes in, “Me too!” Okay, fine. I give them the mail key and out the door they go. How could this go wrong? Such a simple task.”
Yeah; except that even “simple tasks” can get wildly complicated when you have two rambunctious kids who have a penchant for being at each other’s throats.
“The thing is, my boys fight,” Johnson continues. “All day. Every minute that they are awake. And sometimes in their dreams. So apparently a battle breaks out at the mailbox. (I still don’t know the whole story.) As I am cooking their grilled cheeses on the stove, my 6yo daughter (the reporter of all things non-compliant) comes tearing into the kitchen, yelling, ‘They’re fighting at the mailbox! And then mail went flying everywhere all over the neighborhood!'”
At that moment, Johnson explains, she abandoned lunch and sprinted outside, where she soon found both boys “scrambling around from yard to yard, trying to grab pieces of mail.”
“We live in Kansas where it’s windy 364.5 days of the year,” she continues, “so that helps. My 4yo is now approaching the corner where our quiet cul-de-sac meets a very busy street, and I know him. He’ll think nothing of running directly into the street in order to capture that last piece of random junk mail that Mommy will be tossing as soon as we get home.”
And that’s where things get even more fun.
“I am now chasing him, screaming his name, and also trying to pick up mail that is blowing all over the neighbors’ yards,” Johnson continues. “I finally catch up to him, prevent him from darting into the busy intersection, and we all turn around to head home, hands full of papers.
But because he’s 4, refuses to walk anywhere ever, and is on an anti-shoes campaign this summer, my son of course runs down the street barefoot and falls. He rips open his foot on a rock or the pavement or whatever is in the road because THIS IS WHY WE WEAR SHOES.”
LOL this just keeps getting better …
“So now I am half-carrying, half dragging a bloody-footed, crying 4yo, a crying 8yo who thinks he’s in trouble because of mail-mageddon, and piles and piles of junk mail and flyers that I will never look at ever back to my house.
Once the papers are tossed and the bloody foot is bandaged, we all smell the sulfur of burning grilled cheese and I remember what I was doing before this all happened.
So I did what any good mother would do. I scraped off the burnt parts, threw them on plates, and said bon appetit, kids. And I poured this beer.
So tell me, how’s your summer going?”
Her hilarious recount of the day quickly had parents everywhere saying “SAME!” and commiserating over the everyday chaos of a summer spent at home with the kids. Johnson tells Babble that she sat down to write the post soon after realizing the ridiculousness of what had just transpired.
“I knew that this story would deliver well, as it truly shows how one simple task can go wrong and how unpredictable life is with three little kids,” she says. “I thought about telling it over video but I’m a hot mess and my house is trashed 110% of the time, so videos stress me out. So I wrote it [instead].”
And the Internet is so glad she did.
“The response has been so great,” Johnson shares. “So many parents thanked me, especially for talking about how much my kids fight. (They are fighting right now, at this very moment, over a balloon.) I think when our kids fight a lot, it makes us feel like failures, yet we are doing our best. So a lot of parents appreciated me sharing that regardless of what I do, my kids fight all day long. (They also love each other. See? They are done now. Happily sitting and watching Hotel Transylvania 30 seconds later. That’s how quickly it changes.)”
She also admits that while parenting in the summer is harder in plenty of ways, it’s also easier in others.
“As a SAHM, I am loving our lazy mornings,” Johnson admits. “I don’t have to bark at them to get ready at 7 AM and shovel breakfast into their faces and search for library books and permission slips and pack lunches. If they aren’t hungry until 9 AM, no big deal. Some days we lounge in PJ’s until noon.”
Yep; summer does have its perks. (You know, in between breaking up all the fights, chasing around kids to put their damn shoes on, and making sure everybody stays alive.)
So hats off, parents everywhere. Here’s to making it through the summer in one piece — and to September getting here, STAT.