Warm weather. Sunny skies. Beach Days. Family BBQs. Summer is finally here. While kids are rejoicing, parents are freaking out. Sooner or later it hits all parents that kids are home from school for THREE months. That’s 90 days of kids all day. Every day. Every parent deals with this realization in their own way. To help you better understand what you are experiencing, here are the 7 stages of Summer Vacation Grief.
1) Shock or Disbelief:
The first stage begins with an inability to process the situation. How is it summer already?? None of this makes sense. Didn’t it snow last week?! I just packed away the winter coats! You may experience thoughts like “This can’t be happening, I don’t believe it” or “I just don’t understand.”
To deal with the stress of the situation, your brain may enter a mode of denial. You may start to think completely irrational things such as, “This won’t be so bad, kids are completely self sufficient” or “I’m sure I’ll find ways to keep the kids entertained, they don’t get bored that easily.”
It is not uncommon to have a somewhat volatile reaction to the Summer Vacation situation. Thoughts like “This is bullsh*t! Three months off, that’s ridiculous!” You must abandon all urges to lash out at teachers and vandalize school property. Remember, it is no one’s fault.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying to bargain with anyone who will listen. Much to your dismay, no matter what you offer, it is highly unlikely that you will be likely to convince the school to stay open or your husband to quit his job and stay home with the kids. Whether you like it or not, Summer Vacation is lurking right around the corner and no amount of deal making is going to change that.
You will likely endure of period of guilt where you feel like you somehow caused Summer Vacation to happen. Irrationally, you will believe that there may have been something you could have done to prevent Summer Vacation from happening. You’ll have thoughts along the line of, “This is my fault, I should have found a year round school for the kids.”
You may feel like you can’t take it. You may feel like you’re not strong enough to handle kids all day every day. You may have a negative/defeatist attitude towards Summer Vacation: “I’ll never remember to buy enough Popsicles” or “They’ll probably make fun of how I swim.” You may even find yourself feeling the weight of the problems of Summer Vacation fall on your shoulders, with thoughts like, “They’re probably bored because of me, it must be something in my genes.”
7) Acceptance and Hope:
You will reach a point where you realize you are a strong and competent parent capable of handling anything, including Summer Vacation. You will begin to explore options of summer activities, camps and vacations and realize that you and Summer Vacation are capable of coexisting. You may even begin to have thoughts like “This isn’t so bad, 90 days isn’t so long” or even find yourself thinking positive thoughts about the future such as, “In only a few months I’ll be able to shop for school supplies again!” It’s important to remember that nothing lasts forever, even Summer Vacation.