As a stay at home mom you start to long for it sometime around April, when every thrill of waking at 6:30 in the morning for carpool begins to wane.
Working mothers say they also feel different during summer, as if everything is just a little more relaxed.
At least, that’s how it starts.
We make it through June fantastically, am I right?
Working moms feel like super woman because they’ve secured the sitters, the weekly camps, and the days they will take off to spend with their gifts.
Stay at home mothers live for daily pool trips and evenings of no baths because, hey, pool water. It disinfects.
Everything is smooth sailing until around July.
Sitters fall apart, the kids are sick of the pool, and we start to X off days until August. We would give anything for 6:30 and carpool.
Even before July, if you’re lucky enough you get to enjoy a family vacation. (The word lucky makes me giggle because we all know a mother’s job before vacation: washing clothes, packing clothes, cleaning house, loading cars, etc. etc. etc. Sound lucky to you? I didn’t think so.)
I feel very, very fortunate to enjoy trips to the beach because my husband has an amazing job that allows him to work there.
If he didn’t have that job, we wouldn’t have a beach trip. No doubt.
However, vacations always seem to bring out the worst in Team Overby.
We’re gravy for about two hours into any car ride. We’re singing Kumbaya and eating Cheetos and playing devices and listening to music and sleeping and life is grand.
Then someone has to pee. (Usually Bear.) And someone is angry that we have to stop for someone to pee. (Usually Ry.) And someone is complaining that someone else’s music is too loud. (Also Ry.) And someone is saying that their music has to be loud (Bubba) because two of the four siblings (take a wild guess) are fighting over the only phone that has wifi (and guess what phone, mine, of course), and now they can’t watch YouTube videos of grown adults playing games online. (I. Still. Don’t. Get. The. Fascination.)
Since that’s largely been our experience, and since my older two gifts are not huge beach people (blame my father—he told them right before their first trip that sharks would eat them if they stepped into the ocean), the last couple of times we’ve gone to the beach, we’ve only taken Bear and Nims.
If you know Bear and Nims, you know they are precious, perfect angels.
Listen, I raised the first two like a Ninja. I was hell-bent on not having a soul accuse me of being a terrible mother in my twenties.
But something shifted inside me when I had Bear and Nims at 28 and 30:
My give a damn over what people thought about my parenting busted wide open.
So I wouldn’t say my last two children are tiny terrorists, but I would say they are headed in one of two directions: Leading a company, or leading a bank heist.
All kidding aside, these two have kinda been spoiled rotten. They have four people meeting their every need on a daily basis.
But I don’t think I really understood just how spoiled they were until we took a trip to the beach last week.
They complained about EVERYTHING.
They whined about EVERYTHING.
They fought about EVERYTHING.
Every moment wasn’t bad. It never is with kids. That’s how they fool you.
Your angels will swim together, laughing and smiling and playing games. The pool is full of rainbows and sunshine.
You feel safe enough to remove yourself from the water, maybe even recline on a beach chair.
If you’re really feeling confident, you might even crack open a People magazine or a good novel. (Grab mine on Amazon! #shamelessplug #sorrynotsorry 😉 )
And then you hear it: STOOOOOOPPPPP IT!!!
LEEEEAAVVVEEEE MEEEE ALLLLOOOONNNNEE!!!
GIIIVVVEEEE MMEEEEEE MYYYY GOGGGGLLLESSSS BAAAACKKKK!!!
For the first few minutes, you pretend you are not the mama they’re screaming for. It’s not your kids doing the fighting. That’s what I did, anyway.
But then you notice that one of your kids is now holding the other under the water, and since it’s your job to try to keep them alive and all, you’re forced to get up and deal with the situation.
So you return to the hotel, make them take a nap, realize they’re not going to take one, and give them back the iPad you swore they were losing because of the pool fight.
They watch the YouTube videos, complain when it’s time to get dressed, but eventually do it because they want food and souvenirs that they know you will purchase because they’ll whine until you do. (And you know those will last about a day before they are lost or broken.)
You shop, they get a happy, they’re happy for about an hour.
You eat, they make it through the appetizer, then complain the rest of the evening. Your attempts to sneak off and enjoy a margarita (or just straight up Tequila) fail miserably.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because this is what happens:
You will post your vacation pictures on social media.
It will look like you had a fantastic time, because, duh, that’s what you highlighted: the good stuff.
Someone will come across these pictures and believe that your vacation is different than their vacation. That you somehow lived in a blissful state of relaxation while everything I mentioned above happened to them.
I wrote this because I want you to know that you are not alone, mamas. Vacations are wonderful, but they are hard.
Children are a joy, but they are a pain.
Mothering is a nightmare at times, but it’s an amazing experience.
Marriage is—well—I’ll keep this post about parenting.
And all of those feelings exist at the same time, and that’s okay.
My vacation taught me something about my own behavior:
My children often mimic what I do, what I say, and how I behave, even when I don’t realize they do—ESPECIALLY when I don’t realize they do.
All that complaining? Guilty.
Being ungrateful? So, so guilty.
Bickering? Well, it’s no secret that Clayford and I are in a struggle right now, even as we post happy pictures like the one below.
But you know what? I’m still going to post the good pictures, the happy ones.
I’m still going to post the pictures of my kids behaving, and I’m going to celebrate the moments because life is too short and too hard not to live for the good.
Of course, we had a few of those too, good times where my babies were so content, so grateful and so happy.
At the beach they remained in awe of the waves and splashed and played forever. (Until Nims started screaming about sand being up her hoohah and I had to explain that we were literally sitting on an entire beach made of sand and there was nothing I could do about it.)
At Baytowne Wharf (our favorite place), they high-fived each other over jumps made on the trampoline and heights reached on the sky tower. (Except that Nims couldn’t flip and Bear couldn’t reach the top and they were both royally ticked over it.)
Yes, there were happy, wonderful memories, mixed with some everyday pain-in-the-butt stuff we all go through in families.
So that’s what really happened on our vacation.
And if it’s not your experience, consider yourself one lucky parent.
Just don’t tell me about it. 😉