Dear Jen Hatmaker, You Might be the “Worst End of School Year Mom”, but When it Comes to “End of Summer”, I Wear this Crown Lady (and How Nutella Saved the Summer of 2017)

We started so strong. The minute my children were released from school, back in June, I was absolutely determined to develop and maintain a level of structure that would find us all thriving.

 

(Haha. So close.)

 

I have four sons who’s ages range from nine to two. The “big guys” would go catatonic playing Minecraft and Roblox without intervention. Seriously, watching a Disney movie together is practically quality time. So I carefully devised a “notebook system” which gave them accountability to accomplish daily tasks in exchange for one dollar ($5 in total per week).  They read chapter books, had “constructive” time both indoor and outdoor, and did chores. We did Ok for a while (These boys love cold hard cash and have been able to save most of it as the summer has progressed.).

 

I dug these out from under their beds tonight. Don’t you worry, I dusted them off just for you.

 

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And I can’t complain because I was absolutely loving that I didn’t have to schlep anybody to and from school. The mornings were amazing. Rolling over in bed, I’d gaze at the clock:  9:46 am. Tossing myself back over, I’d plan to reevaluate when I heard somebody crying and went right back to sleep (Mama’s of little “littles,” don’t hate. I did my time. It gets better. This is my little hopeful ad for you.). Not gonna lie, I usually got up at around 10:30 am, and remained squarely in my pajamas until well after lunch.

 

But of course that means that everyone was wide awake late at night. I thought we were doing Ok giving everyone ten minute warnings at 10:00pm, but then it just seemed to push later and later. By August, I awoke at 3 am to find my seven year old sleeping on the staircase. He was holding his tightly to his tablet and passed out on the way to the bedroom. (Oh my stars!) Carrying him to his bed, he whispered,

“You let me play too long…”

 

“My dear child, I failed you.”

 

I pray he never remembers.

 

Can we talk about my two “little guys” for a minute? They are two and four years old. My four year old has taken to yelling “Oh My God” randomly even though I haven’t taken the Lord’s name in vain, regretfully, since I was thirteen. He likes to hide behind couches while I imagine kidnappers have invaded my home and snatched him, laughing all the while I search in vain. He is almost always covered in his own feces. Heaven help me.

 

And my two year old is as clingy as saran wrap. He is most happy to be sitting on my lap while breathing my air and caressing my face. He is the world’s best hugger, the sweetest of sweet, and because of my issues with personal space, I often wonder if I am going to lose my mind by breakfast. I’ll take “poop kid” to this invasion of privacy.

 

One nice thing, is that their summer wardrobe is exclusively underwear. Camo, Superhero, or their Grammie’s generous gifts of neon boxer briefs, it all makes the laundry situation much easier. I do apologize to the neighbors though. There are a lot of underwear clad boys running around in our back yard. I suppose it takes a minute to get used to…

 

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I have one big guy that never stops talking, from the moment he wakes, until he passes out from exhaustion. He shares with me every nuance about Pokemon and Digimon and Skylanders with a passion that I wish I had… about anything. I adore you child, but I need a minute. The other big guy is truly fascinating, but he fidgets and can often be found tearing the seams of couch cushions and picking the leather from our kitchen chairs. His thoughts are deep and has yet to find a landing point so our home is very gradually being dismantled. It’s Ok. Summer is long. I’m over it.

 

I have what I call, “The Witching Hour.” It’s four o’clock. The moment that my patience drains like tub water and they start to hide and scatter in various corners and cubby holes. They all, including Mr. Clingy, have gotten wise to the moment it is time to avoid the lady with the grumpy face that we usually seek for anything we need. She doesn’t bite, but she barks…  I don’t know what happens to me at that hour, but I just can’t seem to get it together. Maybe it’s the disaster of a house. Maybe it’s the fact that I have yet to wash my face. Maybe it’s the lack of creativity that I can muster an interesting and nutritious dinner for this pack of starving wolves (and the fact that each one has been eating food, every moment of this god forsaken day since they woke up). I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

 

I tried to drown my boredom and sorrows in Netflix binge watching but it hasn’t made me any happier. As they approach to present a new and damp watercolor painting, I can be heard muttering,

“I love you. Your picture is amazing. Mom is currently busy watching… something grown up. Please go do something else until I’m not sure when…”

 

(Forgive me again. Summer is hard.)

 

I’m not one of those moms that has the need to get them out of the house everyday. If that’s you… bless. I will never be you. I have dealt with a few too many tantrums, blowouts, and lost children in public places to believe that it’s really worth it. No thank you. This mom is committed to her children believing that boredom is good and their home is awesome and all they really need to thrive… here… in this house that we pay for with money that they can never really appreciate. Enjoy. It’s all there is.

 

This brings me to my final point… Nutella. You are my savior.

With apples.

On toast.

In sandwiches… my children have loved you.

 

And I thank Costco for selling two giant containers for $8.99 because my kids needed you in crunch time. When “Witching Hour” zombie mom gave you crackers and nutella, you were there to make sure that they were oblivious to my obvious depression, and they dug in. When I had a moment of rare creativity, I knew that grilling nutella in a beautiful and perfect sandwich would erase the woes and boredom and monotony this late August summer day.

 

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Nutella, you are heaven.

You saved my summer.

 

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Even for the child that avoided the bread and licked the insides clean, I could not give a rip because he was truly happy.

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And in the end of this summer, I’m thankful.

 

I’m thankful for the raw, uninterupted, time with them.

 

I’m thankful for my children. You are unique and amazing.

 

And, I’m thankful for Nutella. You kept it real.

 

Get your perfect… shining… flawless…. new backpacks on….

 

 

and get the heck out.

 

 

 

With all of my love,

Your mom

(Hope you had a fantastic summer!!)

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2 thoughts on “Dear Jen Hatmaker, You Might be the “Worst End of School Year Mom”, but When it Comes to “End of Summer”, I Wear this Crown Lady (and How Nutella Saved the Summer of 2017)”

  1. I have four sons also and every word you wrote we lived (substitute the Nutella for ?). I wouldn’t trade a minute! Twenty-some years later I am older and don’t know how I/we kept up but then, they had to keep up with mom and dad! I treasure those memories and they flew by like a shooting star. I have three shooting stars and one with his place in heaven. Bless all the little creations of God.

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  2. Oh, God bless you, friend. Thank you for being so honest and making me feel better about my summer. Haha! Kids are hard. Boys are darn hard. At least they wear undies. Most of the time Gus is completely naked or he’s running around Like Donald Duck with a shirt and nothing on the bottom.

    Like

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