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Stressed out summer


I just read a blog about summer camp for at-risk youth and I realized that that meant mine. Because as of today, their third full day of summer vacation, they are at risk of being throttled, pummeled and bound and gag by none other than their delirious mother who is truly at the proverbial end of her rope.

Summer sucks. It’s hot. I feel perpetually lethargic. Stepping into my car is like being rolled through an easy bake oven. AND THERE’S NO SCHOOL!!!! Help me someone.

About two months ago, while I was furiously researching summer camp options for my 8 and 11 year old sons, my husband made the case that the boys did not want to go to summer camp and he insisted that they were too old to be forced to go. While I vehemently disagreed, I also have a very keen memory of my nephew, several years back, who ran away from summer camp and refused to ever go back. Besides, according to my husband, all the boys wanted to do all summer was frolic happily in our newly added swimming pool in the backyard.

“They’ll be bored,” I asserted. “Nonsense,” he proclaimed. “They’re kids. They just want to play. We need to let them be kids for once. Enough with the over-programming and the rushing between activities. They need down time. It’ll be good for them.”

Fast forward to today. They are mopey, depressive, and completely unimaginative. They don’t want to do any of the myriad of activities we had earlier outlined. They find each other positively detestable, so the idea of even being in the same room with each other is wholly unacceptable. They wont read, (an activity they cherished up until three days ago.) Board games are out because they can’t agree on which one to play. The only shared activity that will be endured is watching “Myth Buster” reruns over and over ad nauseum.

Yesterday my 11 year old son, Levi, decided to put together a professional resume so he could go out and seek employment. Anything would be better than being at home all summer. I have to say that his CV is really rather impressive. But his research was discouraging. He’s still got to wait at least four years to even be considered for a bagger position at Safeway.

My full time summer sitter seems to be sprouting grey hairs even as we speak (and she’s 20), and I haven’t been able to do a stitch of work since this awful summer break began. It’s like I’ve become this powerful magnetic suctioning device. They wont leave me alone for one single nano-second. I work out of my house most days. This is impossible. I even fled the domestic abode for a few hours this afternoon to work on a project at the Coffee Bean. But I was inundated with phone calls about who said what to whom, who wont stop talking, and what kind of gelatin is kosher. It’s too much.

I texted my husband that my life had become unbearable. I haven’t heard back. I’m thinking he’ll find a way to work late tonight.

I know there are moms who are good at this. I’m just not one of them. At a certain level, I accept that about myself. I have a lot of good traits. Parenting full time is just not one of them. But why isn’t that okay? Why do I feel so gosh darn lousy about myself because I need time to work and to be with adults and to challenge myself artistically? I need alone time. Why don’t they?

Look I am fully cognizant of the fact that in a few more years they wont want to have anything to do with me — ever. But right now that actually looks rather appealing. This clingy, needy, unable to walk to the mail box themselves thing is suffocating me.

I love them. I do. I would easily give my life for them. (Which at this point is also sounding rather attractive.) Taking a bullet would be preferable to 3 more hours of uninterrupted “Marco Polo” in the pool.

So I know this is asking a lot; but if anyone of you could tell me that this is normal or at least not identifiably psychotic, I would owe you a debt of gratitude. And if I don’t write back right away, don’t worry, I’ve just checked myself into some insanely expensive sanatorium near Sedona where they don’t take insurance or allow children visitation rights.

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

One response to “Stressed out summer

  1. Roberta ⋅

    I just love reading your blog and find this one to be especially hilarious! Guess I got lucky with having one kid, who found the golf course across the street alluring, and ended up hanging out there all summer from morning to night, learning the game and volunteering to work in the shop there. The staff adopted him, and I had free babysitting while I went to work. Max usually did a 3 week round of summer camp and then did this. As a result he became a skilled golfer. Maybe your kids could each find a place to do some charitable volunteering, which could give them a feeling of doing something worthwhile with their time? And from now on, follow your motherly instincts, which are usually correct, or ask your husband to butt out!
    Love, Cousin Roberta

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