Home » This Ain’t Your Mama’s Summer Vacation

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Summer Vacation

When I was a kid summer mostly involved endless months of killing time at the library, riding bikes with neighborhood friends, and begging my Mom to take me to the Lake or our cottage to swim.

Sure, there were swim lessons.  ALWAYS.  We went to Bible School at various churches.  Sometimes there were some summer dance classes. . .and when we were older, of course, August meant twice daily sports practices in sweltering heat and humidity, summer jobs, and the always Bigger and Better County Fair.

But as far as I can recall, most summers were long and lazy. . .boring even. . .

Ahh. . .those were the days. . .

WERE the days.

Now that I’m all grown up with my own child, I’m beginning to realize summer isn’t what it once was.

Mac’s two.  And he’s busy.  And while I’m a staunch supporter of plenty of down-time and opportunity for independent play, I’m finding it’s difficult to keep him occupied and happy in our house.  He’s just not feelin’ it lately.

Outside is great.  We spend a LOT of time outdoors.  But this summer has me a little nervous as I’ll be beginning my third trimester in the hot, humid hell that is Baltimore in August.

So last week, I began my search for indoor summer activities for a two-year old and an exhausted and lazy mother.

We are teeing up some Red Cross swim lessons and a creative movement class.  There’s story time at the library (which he barely tolerates but they have some mighty fine climate control so I’m milking that one for as long as possible). I’m hunting down all the free (and some paid) programs I can find at Museums, Nature Centers and the like.

But here’s the thing:  A LOT of these programs – maybe as many as 85% of them are ALREADY FULL.

As I creep the Internet at 4:30 AM desperately searching for programs that don’t involve a wait list, cursing my stupidity and lack of foresight, I wonder, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO SUMMER AS I KNEW IT?

What gives?

Clearly, nearly every parent in the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area has booked their toddler solid through September.  And they must have done so as early as April!

I assumed finding programs and activities for children would be easier in the summer since people would have all sorts of family or vacation plans.  I figured since I stay home with Mac, we would have the flexibility to attend week-day activities while other parents are working.  I thought that perhaps people would be reluctant to commit to a 4 or 6 week summer program because they’d want flexibility in their summer schedules.

I was WRONG!

These parents are smarter and faster.

They apparently knew what I didn’t:  Summer isn’t about swimming, ice cream trucks, and being lazy at the library any longer.

But I know now.

So I have reminders on my phone to stalk museum websites and wait lists.  I have a calendar full of potential indoor adventures for when the weather becomes unbearable.  I’ve shelled out several hundred dollars for my kid to learn how to effectively blow bubbles in a public pool and learn “hand-eye coordination through creative movement and circus skills.”  (WTF?  I’m desperate, ok?) I plan to pretend to happily crawl on the floor of the public library, enormously pregnant while Mac stares down another toddler who is also eyeing up a germ-infested tambourine at story hour.  I plan to get up even earlier to make sure our snacks are packed, our house is in order, and I look presentable before we head out to some other “fun and stimulating” activity. . .

I’m sure Mac will have a lot of fun and maybe learn something along the way. . .but deep down, I’m a little sad, because if this is the crazy schedule of a toddler, what must a schedule for a tween or teenager look like?

It definitely doesn’t resemble his Mama’s summer vacation, that’s for certain.


Pool Party, you say?  Have Momster clear my calendar!

Pool Party, you say? Have Momster clear my calendar!

4 Responses to “This Ain’t Your Mama’s Summer Vacation”

  1. I’d have to guess that a lot of those are full from parents who are working FT and trying to still give their kid some summer fun. Once they get in school and you’re a FT working mom, it’s a must since childcare of some sort is still needed.

    I miss summer….
    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…In the StormMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Hi! When I was writing those words I was thinking the SAME thing! A lot of full-time working parents probably line up activities year-round for their children. At most of the activities we attend, we see a pretty even mix of parents, grandparents, and nannies/sitters/caregivers. Sometimes, I wonder if any of the grandparents or caregivers would notice if I just left Mac skulking around with them to keep any eye on while I snuck out to get some coffee or something? 🙂

  2. Meghan says:

    sounds like a busy summer! I can imagine it being tough having to organize all his activities. luckily i only have to do it on weekends – since daycare does all that for me during the week 🙂
    Meghan recently posted…Showers & ShowersMy Profile

    • admin says:

      It’s definitely a benefit of daycare. I see large groups of kids in the Park during the summer and I always wonder if they’d notice if I just lurked around letting Mac do whatever they were doing. Ha!