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Sarah Fowler

Ahhh, summertime. The sun is shining, kids are out of school and families are flocking to the beach for some much need R&R. I think of summer and I immediately think of the 4th of July, watermelon seeds and being barefoot outside catching lighting bugs in an old mason jar. The days seem to stretch on forever and it’s almost as if time stops for a little while, giving you a few more precious moments to make those special memories with the ones you love. It can be a truly magical time. And it can also drive you freaking insane. Prinny has only been out of school for a month and I’m already praying for the first day of kindergarten. We’ve been at home with each other for what seems like twenty four hours a day seven days a week and oh my goodness, I love my child but I’ve seen one too many episodes of Phineas and Ferb to maintain any sense of sanity. Hey Ferb, I know what we’re going to do today. Mommy is going to lose her mind. (Unless you have a child in the 5-12 year age bracket you won’t get that reference. If you do, you know you totally just started singing the words to the Phineas and Ferb musical. It’s OK, I’ve learned to just accept it.) It seems that kids spend all year excitedly planning what they’re going to do in the summer while parents spend all year stressing about what they’re going to do with their kids in the summer. Day camp? Grandma’s? Pray you find that perfect babysitter that not only has a driver’s license but a perfect driving record as well? When it comes to having kids and surviving summer, what’s the solution?

Being at stay at mom for nearly two years, I got to spend time with my daughter that most mothers don’t. We had play dates in the park, trips to the zoo and lazy days spent doing nothing where we just laid on the floor and laughed and played. I look back on those moments as easily some of the best times of my life. I also wonder how in the world I did it. Now, it seems like Prinny and I are always headed in a million different directions. From school field trips to play dates to piano lessons, I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to just sit and do nothing for a while. I’m not a big believer in the TV as a babysitter and recently she and I spent the whole day together doing absolutely nothing. We had a dress up party, played with her Barbies, made cupcakes and played countless games of Candyland. It was the kind of day that I wish we could have everyday. As mother’s we can get so caught up in the every day hustle and bustle of our routine that we forget to just sit and enjoy our children for a while. But, while it’s not exactly easy to admit this, I’m finding that when we do just sit and play all day…it’s exhausting. I fell into bed that night feeling like a horrible mother. I had started out the day with the intent of having this wonderful Mommy/Daughter day and ended it on a down note. I wanted to get back to work. I wanted to talk to an adult. I wanted to wear eye shadow that didn’t have glitter in it. I had spent the entire day with my little angel and was mentally exhausted at the thought of doing it all over again. Thoughts like that make me feel like I belong in the Bad Mommy Jail. I need help. I need a babysitter.

We’ve never officially had a babysitter. I am lucky enough to have parents that will jump at the chance to spend time with their granddaughter. I also have a select number of girlfriends who have kids that Prinny will go and play with when I have errands to run or just need a little Mommy time. But she is getting older and increasingly more stubborn like her Momma and has decided that instead of going to my parents or a friend’s house, she wants to stay home and play with her own toys. So. Let the interview process begin. I was slightly nervous and had all but conjured up images of Mrs. Doubtfire when I met her. Our new babysitter is16 years old, cute as a button and not a speeding ticket or boyfriend in sight. She’s a godsend. She’s the kind of babysitter you pray for. She gets in the floor and plays with Prinny, paints her nails, reads to her and oh my good lord, she even did the dishes. She adores my daughter and Prinny adores her. And at the end of the day, I come home knowing that my daughter is happy and healthy and has spent the day with her imagination being encouraged. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Before we found this miracle worker of a babysitter, Prinny and I were driving each other crazy. Sure, she had gone to art camp and still had play dates and piano lessons but the everyday stress of trying to entertain a five year old was starting to get to me. And her. I want summer to be a fun time for her, not just a few weeks where Mommy sticks her in daycare because I don’t have any other option. I want her to be able to go swimming, ride her bike and spend hours lying on her back looking up at the sky and making shapes out of clouds. For us, the solution to our summertime blues was just asking for a little help and giving us the opportunity to miss each other a little. At the end of the day, Prinny excitedly climbs in my lap telling me all about the adventures she had that day before we go outside and catch lightening bugs in a mason jar. We may have gotten off to a rocky start but this summer is shaping up to be pretty dang near perfect; all we need is a watermelon.

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