Summer blows. I don’t care what you say or what you have on your bucket list or what camps your kids are scheduled for. Summer blows. End of story.
Have you ever been to South Carolina? No? Ok, let me tell you about summer in the deep south. Here’s what you do, turn on your furnace and go into your bathroom, close the door, turn on your shower full-blast at the highest heat possible. Getting steamy? Kinda hard to breathe? Yes? Ok, now take a bath towel, get it soaking wet in that hot water and put it over your head. Now try to breathe. Sucks, huh? Ok, NOW, mail order one million mosquitoes and one BILLION gnats and release them in your bathroom while you stand there with the hot, wet towel over your head.
THAT is what summer is like where I live. You sweat at 7:30am walking from your house to your car. You sweat at midnight when you’re awake because it’s too damned hot to sleep. You sweat at noon when you briefly consider taking your kids outside to play because today it’s only supposed to get up to 97 instead of the usual 101. You sweat like you’re DYING at 4pm when you realize that with the heat index, it’s actually closer to 115 outside.
Summer in the south doesn’t play. It starts in April and bulldozes through until around the middle of September, kicking ass and taking names the whole time. I’ve lived down here all my life and I don’t know how I’ve managed not to die yet. Maybe I’m just getting old, but all I can say when I see people doing “fun” things or “nature” things or “summer adventure” things is “eff that noise”. I don’t go out. We don’t do “things”. We stay inside and watch too much tv and play too many video games and paint and craft and color and play legos. We emphatically do NOT go outside.
Add to that, all the different bugs and animals we have down here that can not only hurt you, but straight up kill you, and outside just seems downright inhospitable. Spiders, ticks, yellow jackets, wasps, venomous snakes, fire ants. It’s like Mother Nature wants you to keep your ass inside at all costs.
And I’m not one to argue with Mother Nature, so….
Judging by the internet though, we are the only ones who don’t enjoy summer to hilt. If you search Pinterest for “summer activities” you’ll see some really motivated moms doing some admittedly cool stuff. Glow in the dark bowling. Fairy lights on the trampoline. Every kind of water play you can imagine and some you never would’ve dreamed up in a million years. Summer bucket lists. Summer activity charts. Summer crafts. Summer backyard ideas.
I. Just. Cant.
Every once in awhile, I’ll get a twinge of guilt over keeping my kids cooped up during what’s supposed to be the most gloriously fun season of all. Then I take out the trash and come back in with pit stains and 15 new mosquito bites and I remember “eff that noise”. If we had a pool, I’m sure it would be different, but we don’t. We have sprinkler toys for the boys, and those are fun until about May, then it’s just not worth it anymore. ANd it’s not like they’re begging to go out, anyway. I’m not keeping locked up, Flowers in the Attic-style, all pale and neglected. Five minutes “playing” or as i like to call it “sweating and swatting gnats” and my four year old is done. D. O. N. E. And I can’t blame him. It sucks outside. I know that outside play is important. I know my kids benefit from time spent under the blue sky. Do I think I’m damaging them by not subjecting them to this brutal weather? Nope. Do I feel like they aren’t developing as well as those kids whose moms make them a pool noodle obstacle course or a sunflower tepee or a giant outdoor Scrabble? Nope. My kids are fine. Smart, friendly, articulate, curious. They’re doing a-ok.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m about as back to nature as it gets. I love the outdoors and relish time spent in natural places. Just in the spring. Or the fall. Even winter in South Carolina is better than summer. Come see me when the temperature and the humidity both drop below 90 and I’ll show you just how outdoorsy we can be. I will outdoorsy the crap out of you. But, it’s not happening in the summer and I don’t feel bad about that AT ALL.