For one too many times this summer on social media, I have seen the whole “We only have 18 summers” bit on memes and stuff. At first, I was like, yes, we need to cherish our time with our kids. Goodness knows, I am very aware of how short that time is. I have a 15-year-old now, and my youngest is almost 4. She does a lot of the same things my son did at that age, and I find myself looking at him and then looking at her. Goodness knows, I am very aware how short that time is.
I also know that we have more than 18 summers. We also have the rest of the year…and when their grown, if we didn’t really screw up, and they still are speaking to us, we get all that time too. The thing is that the whole nonsense of trying to cram all the things into the summer with the kids only sets us up for failure. Even before I got sick, I used to try to do all the things I could with my kids in the summer, and I would inevitably collapse at some point. Not to mention, it sets the kids up thinking we should be doing everything this summer.
The other thing that bothers me about this is that it definitely throws some subtle sanctimommy crap at those moms that are working all summer, as many moms do. Not all moms can “make the most” out of the summer. Moms do what they can, but let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day. We cannot do all the Pinteresty things or go to all the local fairs or do all the things that some other families get to do.
What we really should be saying is that we should make the most of our time with our kids while they are young, but we also should not set up unrealistic expectations. We should not have to be super heroes or go for broke trying to keep up with some social media brouhaha. This is not a competition, nor should we be shamed for what we can and cannot do with the kids. Sometimes spending time with our kids may involve catching up on social media while our kid watches the “Trolls” movie for 6th time this week. Maybe it is getting the kiddie pool, but sitting in a lawn chair dipping our feet while our kids play on our own. Sometimes it is just about being present in their lives.
The time we have with our kids before they are on their own really is not long, and I totally get that. However, we don’t need to make it a lament or have it thrown in our faces as to why we should feel like crap as parents. Most of us are doing the best we can. Our kids see that. That is what matters.