Category Archives: summer

Do You Have Summer Brain? (I Do)

Overview: Summer Brain is the weakening of a mother’s mental capacity during the months of June, July, and especially August to the point where she loses her f–king mind. Not be confused with Summer Slide, a condition that causes students to lose some of the academic gains they made during the previous school year, Summer Brain is an ailment that exclusively afflicts moms. It’s caused by a sudden and severe lack of routine and structure, which is common in the summer when kids are off from school. Summer Brain may be a temporary—or seasonal—disorder, but it’s a serious sickness and should not be taken lightly or ignored.

Symptoms: Symptoms of Summer Brain include:

  • A short temper
  • Forgetfulness
  • Extreme procrastination
  • Lack of patience
  • Paranoia
  • Exhaustion and/or insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Failure to differentiate between day and night and/or weekdays and the weekend
  • A strong impulse to nest
  • An overwhelming desire to binge watch “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta”

Diagnosis: A definitive diagnosis of Summer Brain is tricky. Its symptoms overlap with Mommy Brain, a terminal condition caused by acute anxiety, guilt, multi-tasking, self-doubt, and perfectionism that commences when a child is born and ends when a mother is able to never. The key difference between the two is the type of pain they cause. Mommy Brain results in an unending dull throb that can be managed with the help of doctors, therapists, yoga instructors, and sommeliers. On the contrary, Summer Brain causes a short-lived but shocking and piercing pain that brings to mind the passing of a kidney stone. With kidney stones and Summer Brain, there is only one way to end the agony.

You can determine the presence of Summer Brain by answering yes or no to the following statements. If you answer yes to four or more, you’ve been plagued.

Since the school year ended in June…

Have you forgotten at least one appointment?

Have you neglected a birthday or anniversary?

Have you pressed the “brew” button on your coffee maker without putting mug underneath the spout?

Have you served frozen pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner more than three consecutive days?

Is it possible that you didn’t brush your teeth today?

Have you given up screen time limits?

Do you avoid social situations for fear of nits?

Have you stopped going to the community pool because it seems like a lot of work?

Have you obsessively cleaned out your refrigerator, organized your plastic container cabinet, and/or alphabetized your spices while binge listening to Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” podcast?

Have you had a tantrum over a wet towel and/or cheese stick wrapper?

Do you have more than a half inch of outgrown dark and/or gray roots in your hair?

Have you poured Cheerios in your coffee and coffee in your kid’s Cheerios?

Have you emerged from bed between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to marinate chicken?

Treatment: The only known cure for Summer Brain is school. Once structure, routine, and the daily absence of children return to your household, the debilitating anguish of Summer Brain will subside. Patient research and feedback suggests the following activities can alleviate the severity of Summer Brain symptoms:

  • Shopping for school supplies.
  • Buying a pair of SOREL waterproof wedge boots at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale.
  • Consuming pumpkin-flavored food and beverages.
  • Watching “Outdaughtered” on TLC (because at least you’re not trying to potty train quintuplets this summer).

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I Used To Hate Summer Vacation. Now I Love It.

I’m in the sweet spot of summer vacation with my kids. It’s like the second trimester of pregnancy when the nausea and exhaustion finally subside and your belly is just big enough to be adorable, but you can still see your toes. And your shoes fit and you don’t have cankles and you can sleep for more than an hour at a time and you don’t pee a little bit in your pants after you pee in the toilet and the baby isn’t nestled right on top of your sciatic nerve. But, I digress.

I didn’t exactly enjoy summers with my boys when they were babies. Saving their wet, slippery, bloated swim diaper-clad lives every 45 seconds in the pool was my kryptonite. The years are short, indeed, but those dog days of summer were undeniably long, and since I lived in a tropical climate, the days were the same in July as they were in November—hot, smelly, and filled with prayers for naps.

Preschool summer camp was a respite. I don’t miss paying the tuition, but I did love how school days transitioned seamlessly into camp days filled with structure, fun, messes for someone else to clean, and a few toddler-free hours for me to catch my breath and buy tampons at Target alone.

Early elementary school summers were marked by strong opinions. I do not want to go to all day camp or tennis camp or sleepaway camp or ANY camp. They were too young to understand I needed space and not old enough yet to let me pee alone. But camp is a must or Mommy will combust!

They went. They survived. I dare say, they thrived. At the very least, they learned how to play Ga-Ga (whatever that is). Then, we moved to a place far, far away where the locals appeared to enjoy spending endless summer days with their offspring. It was either Mars or Northern New Jersey. Begrudgingly, I assimilated.

Last summer, we dabbled because dabbling is a thing in these unknown parts. A week-long STEM camp. Boring. A half-day, week-long nature camp. Scary. (In their defense, there was an incident with a wasp nest.) A two-week stint at a traditional day camp. Too long. Then, we all got lice. The end.

But this summer?

This summer, I drink hot coffee while they sleep. They stay home for brief periods of time while I breathe and buy tampons alone. Don’t fret. There are strict rules. Also, we stay in touch with Donald Trump memes and gifs of pugs playing the piano. Our camp selections are balanced—not too boring, wasp-free, and just long enough—and we have a rhythm to our drum lesson drop-offs and library pick-ups.

I sit in the shade with a book while they do six million cannon balls off the community pool diving board. I can barely hear them say, “Mommy, watch this!” and they barely care. My ten-year-old is officially allowed to be dropped off at the pool on his own. I haven’t done it yet, but I will, because, damn it, tweens are a moody bunch.

I’m not even close to counting down the days until the alarm clock must be set, lunches must be made, and reading logs must be signed. In fact, I hope this summer never ends. I’m wise enough to know the 3rd trimester of summer vacations looms, but until then, I’m positively glowing.



Filed under summer