My “Schools Out For Summer” Moment
“School’s out for summer…” I can remember those Alice Cooper lyrics running through my head as I left my classroom the final day of any given grade. I would have this feeling of excitement rush through my body, and a strange sense of adventure mixed with enthusiasm for the summer ahead. It happened every year, no matter what grade I was in—as far back as I can remember and all the way through my final year of law school. And then, summer breaks stopped.
As a working mom, you would think that my Friday night walk out of work would conjure some sense of summer freedom for my weekend mood. That I would feel the Friday Freedom rush in and be so excited for a whole weekend with my three amazing boys. That I’d look forward to soccer, baseball, birthday parties, date night, a nail appointment, grocery shopping, and everything else I could squeeze into the next 48ish hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my weekends with my boys. I love the little moments: making pancakes on Sunday mornings, staying in my PJ’s until 8 or 9 in the morning, and all the extra snuggles. But the weekends are hard; they are so very hard. I am trying to squeeze in quality time with my kids, quality time with my husband, and catch up on all the errands and housework I can’t do during the week. I am also trying to work out both days, because I don’t get to work out as much as I would like during the week, and squeeze in a little “me” time if at all possible. Long story short, there isn’t enough time to get it all accomplished, but I somehow still feel like a failure when I don’t get it done.
For me, this is why I think the weekends are so stressful. It is not external pressure that makes me feel stressed out (although if each kid has two birthday parties and three sports it does create a scheduling nightmare, but that is why we have the power to RSVP “no” or not sign up for so many sports), but this internal pressure that I am trying to accomplish so much in two short days. I am setting unrealistic expectations for myself and making a “to-do” list that is unrealistic to achieve—or if I do achieve it I have stressed out every single person in my family trying to get it done. And for what, to check off a list? To make sure a bunch of unrealistic expectations are accomplished? This is not fair to me or to any of us.
I know that I am not unique in this struggle, but I wanted to write this article to let any mom out there know that if you feel guilty about looking forward to Monday morning, you are not alone.
My reality is that my “Schools Out For Summer” moment sometimes comes Monday morning as I am driving (or riding the train) into work. It comes as all the school bags are packed, the week’s schedule is made, carpools are arranged, and school projects are done. It comes as I am giving myself a pat on the back and smile in my car mirror because I have prepared my family for a successful week, and I am ready to take on the workday.