By my count, school has been out for 18 minutes, yet it is already the Fourth of July. I have no idea how the entire month of June went missing but suspect it might have something to do with the whirling dervish of chaos that accompanies three boys home for the summer. 

I know I am not alone in this conundrum, and have recently realized that this advice, which worked great when they were little guys *ABSOLUTELY* still works now that they’re dopey teenagers! So, I am offering up my informally researched, homegrown advice on how to survive a “Summer of Boys.”

  • Indoors=Outdoors. Invest in a good screen door and fly swatters because if they go outside to play, it means they will come back inside 137 times, always leaving the door wide open.
  • Pick your Battles. Anything can and will be used as a Torture Device. Sticks, balls, LEGO contraptions, randomly shaped pieces of toast – if it exists, they’ll find a way to annoy each other with it. You can’t ban everything, so pick your battles wisely. If it can potentially draw blood, it’s banned. If you are about to say: “Stop licking your brother” – just walk away.
  • Stealth Sunscreen Application Maneuvers. They don’t stand still often so you’ve got to catch them off guard. I stash tubes of sunscreen everywhere and create elaborate ambush plans because they will freeze for a millisecond if you startle them. Smear quickly and thoroughly. No second chances. 
  • Mobile Eating 24/7. They are always hungry. They never sit still. I try to stock up on healthy choices for them to ignore. Then I fervently hope that whatever pool we’re at has something I can justify as a “full meal” (meaning hotdog, fries, juice box AND ice cream).
  • There Will Be Dirt. Damp towels, sticky surfaces, a trail of deserted clothes and the mobile diner crumbs are everywhere. I mean “How the bleep did it get in there?!” everywhere. Take a deep breath, pour yourself something that makes you happy and sit in the sun. They go back to school eventually.
  • “More Boys” can be a good thing. Play-dates can keep you and another mother sane for long stretches of time, especially if you can mix in a “full meal.”  Bonus if you have a driver and can say, “Wait! Take your brother!” to ensure full peace and quiet in the house (where you inevitably tackle laundry and dirt instead of chilling out, but we can’t win ‘em all).
  • WATER IS A MIRACLE CURE. If they’re cranky, turn on a sprinkler, hand them water balloons or spray them with a hose. If it’s after 5pm, stick them in the tub. I don’t know how it works, but I don’t know how rocket science works, either. My place is not to question but to embrace the miracle.

There is boundless energy and joy in the daily life of boys. From the bodily functions humor to the world as their jungle gym, it is maddeningly infectious. Enjoy it! Play their games, laugh at their jokes, jump in puddles and if you get them to sit still, hug them tightly. Because if the mysterious case of the disappearing June is any indication, they’ll be back at school in no time, where they have the nerve to keep growing up too quickly.


Lest you start to give me any credit at all for having my shit together, here is the Facebook post from literally the week after this article first appeared in the local paper (6/28/13 vs 7/5/13):

Have lost any semblance of control I had tricked myself into believing I had. 

Drunkenly slashed out “RULES FOR JULY” on Yellow Legal Paper with Black Sharpie after Fourth of July debacle.* 

Rules include such gems as:

  1. NO WRESTLING – EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Ty + Leo + Outside Play = NO BUENO, SO *NO GO*

Also started a Swear Jar. Tyler has already contributed $28.75 … in one day. So yeah, it’s going pretty much as expected so far.

*I don’t even remember what the 4th of July debacle WAS!! So take these rules with a grain of salt. But I stand firmly behind my “water is a miracle cure” declaration (even if it’s you running a bath for yourself and bringing the wine with you)!