Inside: A laid-back summer with teens still means a lot of work for parents, even though we love it!
We have entered a whole new territory here.
Teenagers and summer and driving.
I was eagerly anticipating the start of summer and the snail’s pace we would all be moving, but oh boy was I wrong about that.
The past two summers were different.
One was during the heart of the pandemic and last summer was the summer after a year of online learning.
Both were slow – with wide-open schedules, as the days stretched out before us.
Fast forward to the present day, and I am pretty sure the kids are happily making up for lost time.
And I get it.
I want my teens to stay in their childhood.
This is how I was as a kid. Especially once I reached the teen years. And I never lived through a pandemic.
My summers were spent going from here to there. To friends’ houses. The rollerskaing rink. Work. The mall. Bowling. Sleepovers. Swimming.
This is the stuff summers are made of.
And I want my kids to be having fun and doing their thing and making memories with their friends.
I just don’t think I was mentally prepared for the summer juggle of appointments and camps and outings and fun with friends.
Are we sleeping in?
Am I spending a lot of time in the kitchen?
You know it.
Is my brain spinning from trying to juggle the kids’ social lives with normal life?
Am I still loving it because even though it’s nuts it’s also summer and summer is amazing?
But, I just had to talk for one minute to the parent who was imagining a slow-paced summer, only to find you’re logging more hours than you knew possible behind the wheel of your minivan (and sometimes in the passenger seat as your teen is learning to drive), asking your kid:
How are you going to pay for that?
How are you getting home?
Who will be there?
What else are you planning to do today?
And on and on….
So, friends, this is where I am today.
Summer is upon us. And I love it, but I’m also figuring out how to manage it and how to set boundaries and what to say yes to and what to say no to and all the things.
And if you are in the same boat, you know what I’m talking about.
It’s a constant stream of people in the kitchen. And a lot of opening and closing of the fridge.
It’s opening your home up to all the kids and stopping the minute someone wants to talk to you because you know you have to take advantage of that time and the willingness to open up and share.
It’s responding, “What?” more times than you knew possible in a day.
It’s trying to help them to be responsible, but also stay kids for as long as possible – because there is plenty of time for being a grownup later.
It’s someone asking you casually what you have going on this week and you have no idea how to answer that question.
It’s also sleeping in and rest and relaxation. It’s bonfires and dance parties and glow sticks and four square and floating around in the pool and hanging out with friends late into the night.
It’s making memories.
It’s summer, friends. And it is upon us.
Jennifer Thompson is a freelance writer and mother of four with a heart for Jesus. Her work can be found on her site, Truly Yours, Jen, as well as a number of blogs and parenting publications. Recently relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. She is a passionate storyteller and believes every person has an important story to tell. We grow when we share. And even more when we listen.