Summer with Kids Begins: Am I the Only One Whose Scared?

In two more days it will be summer. The school year will be over.

Some moms thrill over that. Some moms can’t wait to go on adventures and hang out all day long for weeks at a time with their kids. They have plans for family field trips and crafts and such. They are giddy just thinking about it. I’m going to admit something here: I’m not one of them.

The summer scares me. It makes me nervous. I feel like I don’t know how to entertain my children all the time. I can only do it in short bits and bites. And then what? They’ll go off for a while and play on their own but then it’s back to mama. Mama, watch this. Mama, do that. Mama, play this imaginary game with me. Mama, read this book to me. Mama, mama, mama, mama.

I’m staring down the barrel of 10 weeks straight worth of mama, mama, mama.

People use the word “overwhelming” or “overwhelmed” quite a bit when discussing postpartum depression and its equally unpleasant cousins. Even though I’m years away from having postpartum OCD, and even though I adore being a mom to my children, I can still get that feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s not like it was when I was sick, of course, but I sometimes have moments of feeling like it’s all too much.

It’s almost like I love them SO much and feel SO responsible for their every happiness that I’m full up and then it boils over and then … well, then I need space. And quiet. Does that sound horrible? I mean, if you know me, you know how much I adore my children. You know how, when I’m spending time with them, it is bona fide, grade-A, full-eye-contact QUALITY time. But after that mama has to be on her own for a while. It’s like the intimacy that I feel is required is so energy-sapping that I can only do so much of it before I have to go refill myself in a solitary place.

I sometimes wonder if my introvertedness (is that a word?) and issues with intimacy are what makes it hard for me to get excited about the summer, and perhaps also contributed to my experience with postpartum OCD. Like I just don’t know how to make it all perfect (did I say perfect? yes, I’m a guilty perfectionist), and I feel weighted down and guilty by the inability to meet perfection.

Am I the only one?