Late Summer is a (Hot) Mess


Sweaty? Annoyed? Daydreaming of locking yourself in a bathroom with only a milkshake for company?

Perfect, you’ve arrived.

Welcome to late summer, the no-man’s-land of parenting. The early summer days of plans, energy, and optimism (and most camps) are gone.  It’s an unstructured, windows-open hot* mess* (*literally), where high temps rule the day and mosquitoes rule the night.

My best advice: Don’t fight it. You’ll just be swimming upstream. Grab the nearest pool noodle, lower your expectations (no, not there…lower), and ride it out.

Here are some survival tips as you and your kids forge your way through the late summer wilderness to the civilization of the new school/preschool year:

  • Bathing routines are out the window. You work on a sliding scale now, based on an algorithm that factors your kid’s pool time (past and future), red snow-cones, general smell, and who will be seeing this child the next day.
  • Coordinated clothing is for the school year, and maybe Grandma’s birthday dinner. MAYBE. Organize clean laundry piles by genre (swim, play, and…that’s all) and send the little ones on a fun expedition to Mt. CleanClothes every morning to fend for themselves.BONUS: it’s still flip flop season! Your shoe game is 3 for$10 and golden for the next few weeks.
  • Go ahead and let the kids eat in the car; you can’t fight it. Your family will take over every air-conditioned inch you have. You can clean the car out when the temp drops below 100 degrees – it will be like a fun time capsule of all your summer memories, one granola bar wrapper at a time.
  • The sun sets around midnight now; every evening is like a Texan aurora borealis, except – instead of a multicolored electron show – it’s *SURPRISE!* more daylight. Any bedtime before the sun rises again is considered something of a success.
  • I’m not much of a meal-planer (see: “eat in car” above), so I can’t help you through this season that feels like no person in their right mind would turn on their oven and willingly (!) bring more heat into the house. So I offer this: CARROT STICKS = guilt erasers. Add carrot sticks to that kid’s reheated pizza plate and you’ll feel at least 10% better.
  • Let perfectionism take a vacation for the rest of the summer; it can’t survive the heat and long days anyway. Example: Is that orange hair chalk or Cheetos in this child’s hair? Nobody knows. But it’s fine, because neither is toxic. That’s some expert end-of-summer reasoning there. Don’t worry – a little more practice and you’ll get there.

So hang tight and ride it out. It won’t be long before you steer your family into autumn like a minivan pulling in from a long road trip – cluttered, sticky, and with at least one check engine light on – but mostly in one piece. And hopefully there’s an overstuffed pool bag full of good memories crammed in there somewhere.


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