There is officially one week left of my summer. I can’t believe it. It feels like it started only yesterday.
I haven’t traveled like this during the summer in a LONG time. I think the length and nature of my trips made the summer fly by, but maybe any kind of traveling would seem to shorten the summer.
Parenting has thoroughly kicked my ass this summer. I feel like I spent the entire seven weeks yelling at my kids. It’s not what I want our summers to be like, but I’m not sure how to avoid it. Transitions are hard for them (especially my daughter – they are impossible for my daughter), so traveling and having to be places around a certain time is difficult, but they don’t play well together so staying at home just ends (or starts!) in them bickering and fighting. I don’t know what the answer is. Part of me is relieved the school year is about to begin. Maybe all of this will get better as they get older? My seven year old seemed to backslide intensely this summer, which suggests that might not be the case. I’m trying to be accepting of who they are and what they are capable of, but it’s hard.
San Diego did not make it easier. Of course the family we were with had calm, easy going kids who never so much as tried to negotiate with their parents, let alone openly defy them. And yes, I realize it’s harder when you’re away from home, but my kids were up in all of their shit, playing with their toys and using their art supplies and neither one ever had anything to say about it (at least not while we were around, which was pretty much always during the weekend). I also understand that their younger kid is five, but their older son is exactly our daughter’s age and he was happy to entertain himself writing and illustrating all the words he knows related to “electricity.” He even spelled “circuit” right. He never complained to his parents, let along hissed or scratched or yelled at them (all things my daughter did multiple times over the weekend).
At my best moments I found myself marveling over how rested and not stressed the parents seemed – it’s what I imagined parenthood would be like for me — at my darkest moments I found myself berating myself and my parenting, sure the fault lied with me and my own moments of anger and frustration (which are many).
By the end of the trip I was back at my baseline, which oscillates between acceptance and resignation. These are my kids, and this is my life. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at making choices that take into account who they are and what they can handle, but this summer reminded me that I still overestimate their capabilities much of the time. I need to think long and hard about what they, and I, can handle next year.
I won’t even go into the challenges my husband and I faced as we negotiated simultaneous parenting this past weekend, but I will mention that it was rough, especially at first.
Yesterday was nice. They both were sweeter, with each other and with me, than they had been in a long time. I needed that and was grateful.