Oh, goody. Only seven more weeks of summer

look mom musclesOh, goody. Only seven more weeks of summer vacation left for the kids. Shoot me now.  Seriously, just shoot me.  I’m working on a new record this year, I was just accused of child neglect by my 12 year old, just 3 weeks in to the annual summer debacle. usually the wheels fly off around week 5. Apparently, my kids made an emergency call to their beloved Grannie Frannie today, while I was at work, to report that they were being starved to death by their heartless parents.  Their cry for help was immediately answered by their 100% Italian grandmother, who put the pedal to the metal and showered them with food, love and concern, Con artists. Oh boy, it’s going to be a long summer.  i can’t believe she fell for it, the Mom I grew up with would have said “have a bowl of cereal” as she left for work-which is exactly what I said when I left for work.  She’s gone soft. I’m digging in, going old school this summer.

See, I have never figured out how to operate in this new world of parenting we live in, even though I have been it for 14 years.  I have spent the majority of those years shaking my head at what I perceive as competitive parenting, a new sport pitting parents against each other in the race to form the perfect child as fast as possible. Children don’t play, they have “activities”, these activities need to be varied, exposing them to a vast array of the cultures and arts, preferably starting twenty seconds after conception.  Parents immerse themselves in every aspect of their child’s life, planning and plotting every move, arranging “play dates”  and  jockeying for their kid’s position in the “who’s who” of pre-k. Miss your child’s baseball game?  Oh, hell no.

Summer has become an exercise of structured, enrichment activities, followed by devastating lows and lulls, during which kids have no idea what the heck to do. I  personally think that the child labor laws need to be revisited. I remember when I was about 13 years old and hanging outside with my friends on a sticky summer day (no one stayed inside..there was nothing to do in there) and my Dad called out to me..”Hey! I got you a job! You start tonight!” Pleased as punch with himself, not a detectable trace of sadness that his   baby girl would not be skipping rope with her friends that summer.  My first job. Two hours later, I was standing over a huge sink, washing dishes in a seafood restaurant, the sink was positioned directly over huge pots where the crabs were steamed…it was a hot, miserable, disgusting job. The boys who steamed the crabs would occasionally throw a live crab in my dishwater when I wasn’t watching, just  to add terror to the whole experience. Sometime after midnight, I would drag my exhausted, very smelly, somewhat stunned self to the owner who would be counting the register,..a 300 lb  -plus man, he sat on a little stool with a cigar in his mouth..I’ll never forget him. He would stop counting the largest stack of bills I had ever seen just long enough to growl at me..”You wanna get paid? Did you do a good job?”  I would nod ‘yes’ and he would peel off  twenty under the table dollars. Jackpot. I was hooked. It was a fine enrichment activity, one I would love to arrange for my children, except now it’s called child abuse.  Puhleeze..time to put these strong boys to work..who’s hiring?


16 thoughts on “Oh, goody. Only seven more weeks of summer

  1. Loved your post! I don’t have kids of my own but I completely agree with your philosophy about competetive parenting, and kids having jobs (even,gasp,,! around the house).
    I babysat, worked in a dog kennel,took care of my brothers mowed the lawn, hung out the wash, and still had time to hang out with my girlfriends at the lake, or play gin rummy on the porch in the summer heat.
    I am not so convinced all this technology has been good for children. When was the last time anyone saw kids playing outside unless it’s on a manicured soccer field?

  2. omg..you had me laughing and nodding my head at the same time! I have a 15 year old and that’s all I hear – there’s nothing to eat! Meanwhile the fruit drawer is full, as is the pantry. What he means is there is no junk food. Oh, and your mom? As Bill Cosby once said, “You are looking at an old woman who is trying to get into Heaven.” (no disrespect, my parents were the same).

  3. I am still laughing. My first job was at a snack bar, I worked for my Uncle. It was great. I did not have to deal with live crabs, but I did make money. As you said, I was hooked.

  4. You are so funny and right! My children are grown now but I see it with the grandchildren. All of the planned activities because that’s what everyone else does now. When my children would complain that there was nothing to do I would tell them, they better find something because they didn’t want me to be their entertainment center ( I would have made them clean their rooms or something). Oh the horror.

  5. It goes without saying that I love your writing. This one is just great and brings back memories of summers past. I don’t know who this grandmother is, but she must be stopped!

  6. As a mom of four; three boys and a girl in under 7 years, all of mine were working ft at a day camp by the age of 14 – who has time to “structure” the lives of four active teenagers. Two are grown now, and they laugh at the lives of some of their friends. Hard work always wins!

  7. Is it Erma Bombeck I think your writing sounds like? These true, very funny, short stories could be the beginnings of a book! What I really loved were the comments between Fran Bahr and tessrn! I really “see” where your sense of humor comes from!

    • Thanks Theresa! I am so glad you are enjoying them…I having a ball writing them..inspiration all around me. My mom has an amazing sense of humor..we do see the world in a similar manner!

    • Oh by the way, I’m really in favor of jobs for your boys…I don’t think there is anything like a little hard work to keep them focused in school knowing that they don’t want to work in hot, stinky, etc. jobs. as you describe above for the rest of their lives!

      Remember Rose’s Mom Colleen? Her boys fixed dinner and had it almost ready when she came home from work. They washed windows and I don’t know what else, and cared for Rose. These things I have witness. To my knowledge, they were not paid for those jobs ~ and the boys were straight ” A” students at Loyola-Blakefield! They were also into music and athletics as well.

      • I remember Colleen..would be great to see her again. Her boys were always nice kids, My boys need a little..um..alot more work in the helping out around the house stuff..

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