Confessions of a Summer-Hating Mom

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Confession: I hate summer. This may be the most unpopular of all my unpopular opinions. Between the heat, the bugs, and the lack of routine and schedule, summer is the worst season.

I hate being hot. It’s not that I love being cold, but in winter, I can bundle up, start a fire, or snuggle up with my dog. Stripping down to my underwear and plopping myself in front of a box fan just doesn’t have the same cozy vibes, you know? Even getting into a pool isn’t always doable, and if it is, then I’m stressing about sunburn or how all that chlorine will bother my eczema-prone kiddos.

I hate bugs. Listen. As an amateur gardener and a person concerned about the climate, I’m doing my very best to get over this. I really am. I’m as happy as anyone to see a bee buzzing around my garden beds. It’s those dang mosquitos I can’t stand. When I moved from Florida to the Midwest, I thought I was escaping these pesky bloodsuckers, but I was very wrong. I refuse to spray my yard (because of the pollinators mentioned above and climate anxiety), so instead, I’d prefer to just return to spring—a lovely time of year when I don’t have to slather myself in Calamine lotion every night before bed.

We are a happier family when the kids are in school. This one took me a few years to learn, but I am a happier mom, and my kids are happier, too, when school is in session. For one, I am a mega-introvert and HSP with a huge need for quiet and alone time. I am so much calmer and well-regulated when I have those school hours built into my days. My kids are also better regulated when they follow a routine every day. (Admittedly, we are not great at establishing consistent routines at home, which is probably on me.) My kids are also too smart for their own good, so it’s nice when they exhaust their mental energy outside of the house every day. At the same time, they are such homebodies! It’s hard to convince them to go places in the summer—but I start to get restless, the noise and chaos kick in, and the cycle continues. (I know for some people, it’s nice to sleep in in the summer, but we’re lucky enough that school doesn’t start until after 9:00, and we only have a 2-minute walk. I’m grateful every day to have our lives arranged this way, and I’ll be pretty sad when my oldest goes to middle school and we have two different school drop-offs. Maybe then I’ll overcome my summer-hating ways…but not likely.)

Summer camps are insanely expensive. And you have to commit so far in advance, which is hard for my indecisive, present-focused brain.

I know I sound whiny. I totally recognize my privilege here—all three of my children are school-aged, and because I only work part-time and mostly from home, my school-year schedule is my own. We have a house! And air conditioning! And museum memberships! Get over yourself, lady. What is my problem? (It’s the sun. The sun is my problem.) Is there such a thing as seasonal affective disorder, but only for summertime? If so, I think I have it.

I hate summer, but I am learning how to survive. It’s been three summers since all my kids went to school full-time, and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to attack summer instead of just feeling personally attacked by the humidity.

First of all, I embrace my inner beverage goblin. In the summer, I stock my fridge with lots and lots of sodas, sparkling water, iced coffee, and adult beverages for the evenings. (I tell myself I’m saving money by avoiding drive-thru Cokes or Frappuccinos.) I also keep a stash of reusable ice cubes in the freezer because our ice maker never keeps up with my demand. (And a little secret: a box of the fancier, more expensive, chocolate-covered popsicles hidden at the bottom of the freezer—just for me.)

When we do go outside, I’m prepared. I found a bug spray I don’t hate, and I use the spray sunscreen because it’s easiest. I bring a neck fan and cooling towels everywhere we go, and I’ve embraced wearing hats even though I think I look silly. I also swear by Thigh Rescue, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you.

For the kids, I keep the freezer stocked with popsicles (and buy a kind that allows me to say “yes” every time without feeling guilty). We play outside first thing in the morning when it’s coolest, saving movies and television for the afternoons when it’s too hot and our energy lags. I make a “lunch schedule” and a “snack schedule,” so they know what food will be available to them on what days, and I don’t have to think about it. I buy sidewalk chalk and bubbles in large quantities. I also print a giant summer calendar that I hang in the kitchen, which keeps them from constantly asking me when our next trip or playdate is. It gives them advance notice of times they will be forced to leave the house, which doesn’t eliminate whining entirely, but it helps some. It also helps me visualize the truth–that as much as I hate summer, it will not last forever. 

Perhaps the worst thing about summer is the way society wants to guilt-trip us, moms, about it. “You only get 18 summers with our kids!” Sob. “Cherish every moment!” Eye roll. It can make a summer-hating mom feel pretty terrible. But you know what? Sometimes, survival is enough. I’ll cherish autumn, thank you very much.

Even though I hate summer, I love living in the Midwest, where we get a taste of all four seasons. I love drinking a beer on the front porch in the evening with my husband (and bug spray). I love eating tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden. I love watching the magic my kids create with their imaginations and listening to their laughter as they run around a splash pad. 

So, that’s where you’ll find me for the next few months. I’ll eagerly wait to turn the calendar to September, drinking an iced coffee the size of my head. I’ll be the one hating summer but loving my kids.


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