"There were times summer seemed like it was never, ever, ever going to end," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "But now, as I scramble to get the family first-day-of-school ready, I’m a little wistful to see summer go."
I don’t want to be a bad mom, but I think there is something to the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Wanting the kids to go back to their school-year routine isn’t because I don’t love them; it’s because I do.
"We just completed the first leg of our annual summer road trip to Omaha, and the phrase that best captures the spirit of our trek is this: 'Keep your hands to yourself!' In fact, that’s a phrase I’ve uttered a lot recently."
"In 2017, when I introduced the idea to the kids, Declan and Mara were 7 and 5 years old. Their requests were sweet, simple things like getting to paint, going to the pool and grabbing a sundae at the neighborhood ice cream shop," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "As the kids mature, so are their ideas of summer fun because when I asked them what they’d like to do before heading back to class, their list was — ahem — ambitious."
"I am hooked. All of the families chosen for the program — no matter how squared away some may seem to be — all need a little tweaking. And while watching the chaos unfold was what initially got me watching, I have stuck around because it is truly captivating to see how other people parent and run their households. It’s actually turning out to be slightly informative."
"These weeks until their roommate emancipation will seem like the longest in the world to them. However, it’s going to be here in what feels like a blink to me."
"It should come as no surprise to me that the children I am 50 percent responsible for creating show flashes of their creator, but I guess I always thought it would demonstrate itself in really overt ways — like having my nose or the same color eyes."
A recent survey of 500 pairs of parents and teenagers found that 4 out of 10 teens thought their parents had addictions to their devices.
"Summer vacation is long. Some would argue too long (or maybe that’s just me and my group of parent friends). But I’m looking forward to using this open-ended leisure time to try out the character-building attributes of being bored, and I think this experiment will be anything but boring."
"I’m not talking about perpetual adoration to all of us mothers out there. Creating a poem or handmade card for everyday of the year would be excessive — even for this sentimental lady. I don’t expect breakfast in bed on the regular. What I am proposing is that we keep the spirit of Mother’s Day going well past the actual day itself." Read more from Molly Cavanaugh below.
"We are not a home of locked doors and forbidden areas. We are an open-concept family, meaning the kids can come into my space with the understanding that I can enter theirs. The terms of that unspoken compact are beginning to change, and we are slowly becoming a home of closed doors," Molly Cavanaugh wrote. "It started with a book. Well, a diary to be exact."
"The idea is to say something positive about a child within earshot of them, but make it appear as if they are 'overhearing' you praise them to a friend," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. One pediatrician claims this kind of gossiping can be far more effective in reinforcing good habits than just telling kids.
"Kids lives are jam-packed with activities. If I spent 35 hours a week at school — with an additional five to 10 hours tacked on for all the sports, music and club-affiliated extras — I wouldn’t want to leave the house either. But I figure that’s because I’m old and have already spent what would amount to years out of my house living life," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "Sometimes parenting feels like a balance between doing what we think we should and what we feel like doing."
"I recently came across another woman’s answer to getting some alone time, and it's brilliant," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "One morning, this mom got up, got ready and headed out the door as if she were going to work like any normal day. In reality, she had taken a vacation day and hadn’t told anyone in her house."
"Recently, I came across an opinion piece that made an argument about not asking kids what they want to be when they grow up," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "Sure, the writer of the essay has a doctorate in organizational psychology and I don’t, and he may have a wealth of first-had experience with kids to back up his posits. But as a mom of two who also happens to have decades of previous hands-on experience with children, I’m here to say dreaming about what kids want to be when they grow up is one of their favorite make-believe games."
"I think the biggest reason for holding off is I’m not ready yet."
"When we decided to make this year’s spring break getaway a trip to California, there was no getting around the reality of flying with children. I turned to my fellow parent friends for advice on how they kept their little people occupied on a long flight when getting up and running around is not an option." Here's what they had to say.
My children have become essential oil aficionados — and by complete accident.
Molly Cavanaugh's family recently gave up all technology for 24 hours. "I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous going into it. This was an idea I sold as something 'fun' to try," she wrote. "I made promises of playing board games in front of the fire, baking brownies and making crafts, but 14 hours is a lot of awake time to fill."
Sunday marked one of my favorite days of the year — daylight saving time. It’s that magical day each year when we move the clocks ahead one hour and say hello to more stretches of sunlight each day.
"It was only a matter of time before their blossoming literacy would intersect with my ways to covertly communicate with my peers," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "First, it was no longer being able to spell out reaction words — “C-A-K-E...that spells cake. There’s cake?! Yay!” Now I’m being reduced to checking my surroundings before I conduct a silent text exchange. What happens when they start asking what all the abbreviations stand for?"
"A lot of us parents are having a hard time parting with things we think will one day be treasured reminders of our children’s childhood. Exactly how many things? Well, one recent poll estimated the average parent has somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,293 keepsakes squirreled away."
We just completed the family’s first book report.
It appears a winter party’s sole requirement for happening is snow. Not — oh, I don’t know — parental approval. But with this much thought put into it, how can we say no?
Initially, we were only limited by the game options we had on hand — Candy Land, UNO and chess. But that all changed after generous aunts, cousins and grandparents loaded us up over the holidays.
"They know I'll remember, so they forget everything. Maybe I should stop reminding and they'll start remembering."