08/15/2013 09:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Fun With Your Kids: Remember That?

The whole "18 Summers" thing has completely wrecked my parenting. 

You know, the "you've only got them for this long until they leave the nest and you're miserable so get off your f*cking phone and play with them DAMNIT" thing. 

I can't be the only one who thinks that whenever anyone says something like that.

"You only have 18 summers, you know," or "soon they'll be driving you around," or "I miss when they were small and making gigantic messes with LEGOs." 

Seriously, someone actually said that to me and I wanted to make him walk through my playroom barefoot just to watch him beg me for mercy. 

See, I know I will miss it and I will be sad. I'm already that parent who knows what is coming but is still distracted on my phone sometimes when my kids are showing me the soap they carved with a butter knife, at which point they make me feel like sh*t. 

So when I saw the whole 18 Summers thing, with its actual number that you can count down and feel crappier every year you get closer to that magic number, I decided that we needed to have fun.


And now, every single freaking action I take and decision I make all summer long must pass the fun test, which means we're having popsicles for breakfast and taking trips to Washington, D.C. and eating goldfish before bed even after we brushed our teeth and then must brush them again, BECAUSE MOTHEREFFING FUN. 

Now it's not that I'm not usually fun, but I'm busy a lot and I work a lot and I'm alone a lot and add that all up and you get well, orderly and organized and sometimes a little rigid and well, maybe not super fun. Dinnertimes and bedtimes and schedules because that is how sanity must be maintained. 

Side effects: Shortness and loud talking.

Which for kids is probably not fun, even though I'd argue fun is had, just not necessarily in an eat-whatever-you-want-for-dinner-so-long-as-it's-actual-food kind of fun.

So as you might guess, my SUMMER OF FUN DAMNIT plan has completely backfired and now my kids think that I'm a pushover. Because as we parents know, fun comes with a price. 

What I think is fun, like a D.C. Duck Tour in the blazing heat on a weird bus that goes into the water with "Captain Talks-A-Lot" as my son called him, quite accurately because that's his job and all, is not really fun to them. 

The train ride is long and boring and all the walking is long and boring and the baseball game is hot and long and you guessed it BORING. 

When are we getting on the bus? When are we getting off the bus? Are we at the Metro? Can't we just take a taxi? I'm hot, thirsty, tired, hungry I NEED ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW MOM can you get me some cotton candy and you got me PINK I WANTED BLUE. 

And now they think they can have goldfish crackers before bed every night. 

But then, as my daughter dosed off after a day of long, boring walking, she said "Mom, you're so fun." Which can only mean one thing. She's buttering me up for the Fruit Loops she saw in the hotel lobby breakfast bar.

Or maybe, amidst all the groaning, moaning, and whining, which I'm pretty sure is part of being a kid, they're having fun after all. 

And the truth is. So am I. 


This post originally appeared on Motherhood Uncensored.