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.



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The Runaway Mama’s Guide to Having the Best Summer Ever With Your Kids


“I have so much to get done before school gets out.”

I’ve been hearing this a lot lately from all kinds of moms – full-time working moms, part-time working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms, tiger moms, helicopter moms, default moms, hot mess moms, momsplaining moms, and the like.

I get it. If you have a big project at work, get it done. If you need to renew your driver’s license, get it done. If you need to rid your house of ghosts, get. it. done. If you’re overdue for a pap smear, mammogram, or colonoscopy, get that shit (pun intended) done.

But besides that, I don’t understand the chaos. Other than making a Costco run for Chardonnay and SkinnyPop, what exactly is everyone doing to prepare for summer? If you ask me, getting ready to survive have the best summer ever with your kids is less about what to do and more about what NOT to do.

  1. Don’t clean the house. Your kids are going to trash it repeatedly all. summer. long.
  2. Don’t reorganize the basement…yet. By early August, you’ll need a cool, quiet place to hide when your kids tell you they’re bored for the 1,000th time.
  3. Don’t think about the astronomical number of meals and snacks you’ll be making and fetching all summer long. Three meals + one billion snacks x 80 days = I told you not to think about it.
  4. Don’t lose weight for swim suit season. Um, it’s too late. Put on your bathing suit and play with your kids. You’re perfect just the way you are.
  5. Don’t forget to unpack lunchboxes on the last day of school. You will detest this task because ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE EFFING SCHOOL LUNCHES, but you’ll loathe it more if you wait until the night before the next first day of school and require a hazmat suit to get the job done.
  6. Don’t make a summer bucket list. Your kids will write things like “go to Disney World” and “become a famous YouTuber,” and they’ll be sorely disappointed when the highlight of their summer is making homemade popsicles.
  7. Don’t make a summer fun book. You know, a three-ring, color-coded, and alphabetized binder with ticketing information, hours, and driving directions for every museum, aquarium, botanical garden, bowling alley, zoo, amusement park, and splash pad within a 200-mile radius of your home. Creating this behemoth of future failure might not only set your kids up for disappointment (see #6), but also it could result in some very long and whiny road trips. And do you really need another pile of crap on your kitchen counter?
  8. Don’t forget to sign your kids up for camp. At some point, you’ll need a break from your kids, and your kids will need a break from Roblox. I assure you that sending them to a few camps will be cheaper than giving them a daily a la carte summer of “Can I have $5 $10 $20 for the pool snack bar?” with you.
  9. Don’t make a bunch of rules. At least not right away. The kids deserve some downtime after nine months of writing spelling sentences. Try to wait a few weeks before you go postal about making chore charts, limiting screen time, logging summer reading, and practicing multiplication tables.
  10. Don’t set your expectations too high. In other words, don’t blabber on about how this is going to be summer you learn Mandarin, plant a garden, eat clean, quit coffee, train for a half marathon, or declutter your house Marie Kondo-style. Having summer goals is okay, but tread carefully. Go ahead and make a list, but be prepared to toss it in your July 4th bonfire while your kids make s’mores and then touch every surface in your house with their sticky hands.
  11. Don’t put off buying school supplies. We all know Target will have that shit on display by mid June (followed immediately by Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations), and it will be as hard to find the Star Wars folder your kid wants as it was to find an Elsa costume during the Frozen frenzy of 2014.
  12. Don’t worry about personal hygiene. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, a dip in the pool counts as a bath.
  13. Don’t freak out. Take deep breaths, ask for help if when you need it, and remember that in 80 days (not that I’m counting), you’ll be back to the grind making school lunches, signing reading logs, and nagging about homework all over again.

Happy summer, good luck, and may the force (and a weekly babysitter) be with you!





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