Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summertime (and the living is not easy)

On a discussion board I sometimes visit, a woman posted a thread entitled "Losing my temper all the time with my kids". Summer just started a couple weeks ago, but already she's at the end of her rope:

"I am having a tough summer home with my kids. They are about to drive me insane fighting all the time. I am yelling constantly and feeling like a horrible parent. I have one child, 5, who will not play. He will not go do anything on his own and asks me every 10 minutes what he can do now. I try to give him projects, chores, activities, etc., but I can't entertain him all the time. The youngest, 3, is absolutely terrible. He is constantly ruining anything the other kids play with, taking things from them, having tantrums, screaming at me. I try to keep us busy with bowling, swimming, library, etc. Each of them got to pick one summer camp to do. It's too hot to play outside unless we go to the pool, so I'm not going to make them go in the back yard and play. I try to limit t.v. and Wii time, but they just constantly fight and argue all day long. My 8 year old is no trouble - she just reads all day long, but I wish she would play more with the other kids because somehow she gets them playing together well. I am dealing with it poorly, I know, but I'm just worn out of dealing with it. Please tell me I'm not the only one!!!!!"

She got plenty of sympathy from the other moms on the board.

"You are not the only one... I'm going through some hard times with my kids as well and some self realizations that are not pretty either... lot of hugs to you..being parent is a million x10000000000000000 harder then I ever thought..."

"Wow, are my children at your house? I have practically the same age spread (almost 8 and vociferous reader; just turned 6 and needs constant attention, and 3, almost 4, who is the baby and likes to bug everyone) and apparently the same issues. Don't have much to offer in terms of solutions (well, mine was day camp for all 3!) but I can certainly provide hugs and empathy!"

"For four years my sister sent her daughter from California to Wisconsin to spend the summer with our family. So, for a few months out of the year I had two kids instead of just ds. I love her dearly but was always *so* happy when it was time to send her home! The first few weeks, they'd play together and be great companions. Then, they started becoming more like brother and sister with the fighting and clamoring for my attention. I don't know how y'all do it! Kids know precisely how to get on every last nerve....having several do that at one time
Good luck!"

"Don't feel bad. We're going through the same thing. You'd think the kids would be excited to have summer to play all day and do whatever they want. But no. They want me to tell them what to do all the time. Ugh! We've not been having fun either. The only time we have fun and no fighting is when we go to the pool and I don't particularly enjoy going to the pool every day. It's too crowded and too many other damn kids!"

"You are not alone-- summer is off to a similarly rough start for me and DD. Like Lucy, I can offer little to no advice, but (((hugs)) and empathy! "

Ah, summertime. Just look at all the fun and excitement we are missing out on. How sad and dull our childfree lives are.


Mimi said...

These moms are amateurs! Obviously they just need to put their kids in a day camp for a couple of weeks to get them out of the house. Of course kids will be bored with nothing to do all day. As an adult I would get bored also. It doesn't mean I wish I never had kids or don't love my children. Good grief!

Divine Bird said...

That was awesome. Love the pic at the end!!

We're spending our summer moving and playing video games. We're taking a cross-country train trip, too. Ahh, how unfulfilling our lives are! ;)

firefly said...

I think Mimi's got a point there.

Because, after all, when the state babysits the kids all day for 9 months out of the year and parents don't supervise except for evenings, then siblings don't get much practice interacting and the parents don't get any practice refereeing.

So of course the solution is not to get the kids to learn how to interact by maybe giving them all timeouts in their rooms with nothing to do unless they play nice.

It's to either (a) get the 8-year-old to run the show or (b) ship them off to camp. You know, let someone else deal with them. Just like during the school year.


Personally, I think summer -- and a rainy summer like we're having -- is the perfect fate for parents. I opened a side window today so one of my cats could sniff the air outdoors and I could hear the tweenaged kids next door fighting at the tops of their lungs, even though all their windows were shut.

No wonder SAHD spends all his time on the computer.

I'd bet he's wearing ear plugs too.

Christine said...

I am convinced that there are parents here who send their kids off to play several blocks away from their houses, just so they don't have to deal with them or hear the screaming. In the summer, there are always kids running around, shrieking bloody murder, right under our early as 7-8 AM sometimes.

As far as I can see, they don't live in any of the neighboring houses around us. One house near us has little kids, but these aren't the same ones we keep seeing here. These are older kids, whose parents probably put them out of the house each morning and not let them come back until it gets dark.

There is something to be said for school all year round.

Mimi said...

Firefly, I am sure you were perfect growing up and never screamed or gave your siblings (assuming you had any) or parents a hard time. How wonderful it must be to be your judgmental, cat-loving self.

CFVixen said...

LOL, Childfreee! I saw that thread on the board you are referencing and just shook my head. The comment that especially baffled me was this one:

"You are not the only one... I'm going through some hard times with my kids as well and some self realizations that are not pretty either... lot of hugs to you..being parent is a million x10000000000000000 harder then I ever thought..."

Ummm....what exactly DID you think raising kids was going to be like? All Kodak moments? If so, no wonder you are obviously disappointed.

Mimi: I guess you have the right idea. You pump out kids and then have somebody else deal with them. Brilliant!

SwissBarb said...

Oh wow, the 8 y.o. should play mommy to them, right?
As a kid and from a very young age I spent like 90% of my free/holiday time reading and I would have hated to take care of small kids, thankfully I only have one older sister!

firefly said...


The only issue here is your drive-by mothering of other parents.

Every time you comment here, it's a declaration of how you manage to avoid the horrible aspects of parenthood and raise perfect children.

Maybe you could spend summer vacation writing a parenting advice book to all those poor benighted souls out there who haven't got a clue. said...

What those mothers described sounded a lot like my childhood. I was the oldest of three, and we kids engaged in constant sibling rivalry. While I believe she was overall a good mom and did a decent job raising us, I remember my mother often being angry, impatient, and yelling at us (I can't say that I blame her when I recall how awful we were). To make matters worse, when I was about 11, mom decided to start working about 60 hours a week, leaving me to pretty much raise my younger brother and sister.

So, this discussion struck a nerve for me for two reasons:
1) Whenever I hear moms say that having children is more difficult than they expected, I wonder if they have forgotten their own childhoods. Or maybe I was the only child in the world who fought with siblings? ;)
2) Perhaps one of the (many) reasons I don't want to have children is that I already raised a couple of them when I was a child myself, and it was a horrible experience!

Gail said...

I'm 33. Due to a gynaecological problem my doctor thinks I need to try for children soon. Otherwise it might be too late.

I hate the idea of an uncontrollable presence in the house. What if I don't like the kid? What if it's miserable and quiet? What if it's hectic and interrupts when I want to read a book or surf the web? I love travelling, drinking and reading. I don’t want my life to change.

My partner has left the decision up to me. I think he'd quite like kids, but he doesn't mind either way. He says he's worried that I might regret it later.

If I regret it later, I can maybe adopt. I hear it’s hassle if you try to adopt over the age of 35 in the UK, but there’s always the overseas option.

Is ‘wait and see’ the right decision?

Childfreeeee said...


Why do you want to have children? (Or why do you think you want to have children?) Does your heart and soul burn to have a child? Are you ready to commit 100% of your life to being a parent? Are you willing to sacrifice most of your life to have a child? Can you imagine having a happy and fulfilling life without a child?

Do YOU think you would regret not having a child? If so, what makes you think you would regret it? It is assumed that people who do not have children will regret it, but if you ask around, you will find most childfree folks do not regret their decision. And of course, it is far more terrible to regret HAVING children than to regret not having them.

I applaud you for examining the question of whether to have kids and for realizing it is a choice, not a given. My only advice is to ask yourself the questions I've posed and really try to give yourself honest answers (and don't feel badly if your answers don't match the answers that are expected of you).