summertime without the instagram filter

as i sat down to work this morning, to enjoy the quiet, to soak in these moments while the kids are at summer day camp and i have time to myself, i popped over to the book about faces :) and saw a snippet of a mommy article encouraging parents not to plan for our kids. not to schedule. not to be cruise director. because when we stop planning, that's when the MAGIC happens: our little adorable bundles of joy get creative.

let me tell you the emotions i felt in quick succession: (1) guilt; (2) agreement; (3) guilt. so i did what anyone else would do: i scrolled through the comments quickly. most were moms in wild agreement: YES, EXACTLY, LET'S NOT PLAN, WE ARE OFF THE HOOK. then one comment caught my eye: "yes, and that's also when all hell breaks loose."

i knew immediately that this woman and i would be BFFs in real life if we lived anywhere near each other. plus she spells her name "rawbin," which is sort of a rapper spelling, which of course i think is extra cool. it's like a metaphor for her raw comment on this mommy blog/article.

because what i was thinking is that when i turn my kids loose unsupervised in my house, that's when the sh*t happens. (so rawbin's comment was slightly more edited than mine--another reason to like her!).

what i picture in my head about summertime is this: my kids, all three, in their colorful new swimsuits, frolicking in our newly sodded backyard in the sprinkler. laughing, setting up lemonade stands to earn money for summertime snacks and movies. my kids, all three, engrossed in elaborate art projects in which the oldest has dragged out the supplies for her younger brothers and in which the younger brothers so kindly offer to help clean up afterward. the five of us, taking day trips to nearby parks in which there are glorious freshwater springs, cold and invigorating. we exhaust ourselves playing and then we lie on the bank on a vintage picnic blanket (hey--this is my fantasty and i love vintage), basking in the sunlight peeking through the canopy of trees and all eating healthy snacks like grapes and carrot sticks and red peppers dipped ever so lightly in hummus.

i call this the rise filter. it's my favorite on instagram, when i'm not using the vsco app (side note: get that app if you love pictures and editing and don't already have it!). it mutes everything, makes it dreamy. makes it pretty.

what is outside my head, happening in real time, since the final school bell of the season rang just 8 school days ago is this: whining (LOUDLY) about how "he TOUCHED me!" asking for iPhones, lots of "i'm SO bored mom." resistance to summer day camp ("they make us RUN, mom!"). hiding behind chairs holding the iPad to avoid me catching them. me finding out they had downloaded some game (how? i have no idea--i probably agreed to it while not paying full attention...) featuring extremely well-endowed avatars fighting to the death ("but MOM! there's no BLOOD so it's OK!"). devouring bags of chips in less than 2 days. "can we have another lollipop?" (or, worse, me doing laundry and discovering no less than 10 candy wrappers afterward...) a newly sodded backyard so full of mosquitos that to go outside we must spray ourselves with poison, which will probably kill us more quickly than i would like to acknowledge. attempted trips to the swimming pool that include "yay! we're here!" and 5 minutes later "everyone out! we saw lightning!" a trip to the pediatrician that included a lecture about "if you like only peas, then you'll just have to eat only peas because you can't skip your veggies!" (and a son's glance at me to mouth, "oh? i can't?").

this is why i stopped reading mom blogs eons ago (except momastery: if you are a parent you must read her blog all the time). oh the lies, and the lying liars who tell them: mostly we are the lying liars, aren't we? telling ourselves that if we just allow our kids to play, then magic will happen. not that it doesn't: it's just that life isn't that simple.

telling ourselves that come summertime, we will lounge, time will slow, we will frolic, play, eat lots of popsicles and stargaze.

that is the filter we apply. not that these things don't sometimes happen. they do. sometimes we have glorious summer days filled with all of these things. days in which no one bickers, everyone is all about loving each other, and i feel rested and secure in my role as a mother.

but there are lots of other days too--days in which everyone bickers, i feel like our household is falling apart and i can't wait UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS AGAIN--ONLY NINE MORE WEEKS I TELL YOU! and that is ok too.

lots of breathing. lots of cardio classes at the Y. lots of coffee. this is my trifecta for getting me through the unfiltered days.


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