Parents just love sharing news and photos of their kids on social media. LOVE IT. All those adorable pics and fun stories aren’t exactly torture for friends and family to see, either. But come the last day of school, when the sun shines bright and the temperatures rise? You can start believing only about 5 percent of the happy or impressive status updates. The majority of them are carefully crafted snapshots with zero backstory for a reason: The things all moms really do on summer vacation aren’t exactly the sort one blasts across the internet for all to see.
Most kids thrive on routine, and summer break is the opposite of that. Sure, the idea of lazy days and making a plan to make no big plans sounds ideal—let the kids be kids!—but after about a week of that your normally well-behaved offspring will become feral beasts who feed on your very last nerve. This is neither a desirable photo op nor something you want to admit to your in-laws. So don’t fret or feel alone that you’re not relishing in every school-free moment in the summertime. There are a slew of things you and all the other mothers are doing behind the scenes while making it through the summer, whether we’re copping to it publicly or not. Here are just a handful of them.
1. Bribe your kids to behave with those ice pops that immediately melt and stain everything within 10 feet of those red-and-blue laundry nightmares.
2. Use random coins and junk from the bottom of your purse as pool toys because you forgot to pack the pool toys…again.
3. Look naked on a video conference call while wearing a strapless dress because you just got back from the pool.
4. Add another screen to the Netflix account.
5. Plug in reminders on when, exactly, registration opens up for every local summer camp in your area next year so you don’t miss it next time around.
6. Come up with a chart for how the days will flow, and go over the chart with the kids, and be very serious that this chart will be in place throughout the summer, then use that chart as kindling by about week four and never look back.
7. Round up the kids to make s’mores “for the kids.” Eat way more s’mores than any of the kids. Probably eat more s’mores than all of the kids combined.
8. Allow the craft table to spread until your whole home becomes a “craft area,” as long as it keeps the kids occupied.
9. Count down the days until school starts. More than once. More than 10 times. Possibly even about 70-ish times.
10. Go to the mall solely for the air conditioning.
11. Forget that you don’t have childcare and thus have to take your offspring to the salon because that is one appointment you refuse to cancel on.
12. Start the break with daily slatherings of all-natural sunscreen and bug repellent on your carefully lined-up kids each morning. Then, end it by spraying them with whatever you could find at the back of the bathroom cabinet when you remember to as they run past.
13. Hose down the kids before they come into the house for the day and consider it “bath time.”
14. Curse out the ice cream truck as it comes around the corner right as you’re about to put dinner on the table.
15. Chase that same ice cream truck down the street because that’s what you’ll be serving everyone for dinner that night.
16. Take the kids to a farm in order to spend the day picking fruit you can pay 572 percent less for at the market around the corner from your home, but holy potatoes you really needed a photo to put on social media this month.
17. Bring the kids to the dine-in movie theater in order to kill a good three-plus hours and avoid cooking a single meal, even if it means taking out a second mortgage to afford it.
18. Forget what day it is.
19. Go to the gym, drop the kids off in the daycare, then go sit in the café for a couple hours reading a book in peace.
20. Make your kids top-level experts in all age-appropriate chores then pop some champagne because it’s about darn time. WOO HOO!
21. Leave the kids’ required summer reading to the very last week. Or last day. Possibly even the car ride to the first day of school, while you shout out the Cliff’s Notes version of the books to the kids as they hop out of the car.