My kids are teens. By now I assumed I wouldn’t have to plan every fricken’ moment of their schedules like when they were toddlers. Yet here I am trying to figure out things to do with them while weeping into my 11 am sangria. (Don’t judge, it’s really just fruit salad with extra happiness.)
It used to be easy: ship them off to Grandma’s for a bit, take them on summer vacation, and then sign them up for every lame-ass day camp I could find. Done.
Nowadays, they simply want to languish around the house, talking to their friends on Snapchat and becoming bonded at the molecular level to the rec room sofa. The eldest has a job (sort of) and the younger one is just a lazy blob who wants to play Overwatch until he shits himself. Even then, he would prefer to be hosed off rather than tap out.
As you do, when in the depth of misery and distress, you dream of wondrous ideas that could solve your life. My fantasy is to create Summer Camps we all wish existed. We Moms need Summer Camps for ourselves, and for our kids, so I am hoping some rich entrepreneur will read this and consider building them.
I have taken the liberty of writing the marketing materials for these sure-fire ideas.
For the kids:
Camp Newsboys and Rat Catchers: This unique experience will allow your pre-teen to live like the kids in the great depression. They will be given uncomfortable boots and heavy wool jackets, a pack of smokes and a job. Kids of that era ran errands, sold papers, gathered coal and caught rats for 5 cents an hour. At the end of the day, your camper will get a bowl of gruel and a rag to sleep on. Older kids will learn rum-running skills.
Survivor Camp: This outdoor adventure is an immersive experience teaching your youngster about nature in the great outdoors. Every camper is given a bag of supplies and is heli-lifted into mountainous terrain. For two weeks, they must use their instincts to return back to base camp using only the items in their bags and what they can forage for food. Using the beacons implanted in their dental fillings, we track down the lost ones the day before school starts again, clean them off and put them on the big yellow bus. Let their teacher sort out what happened to them in the bush.
Domestic Boot Camp: This camp for your teens may be just the thing to keep you from drowning them like puppies. On the first day of summer vacation, you send your offspring to camp with a detailed list of all of the chores they never, or very reluctantly do. You can also include a second list of their slovenly personal habits. During their time at camp, a customized daily program will contain all the items on your list and we will work on every damned one of them until they do them well, and without complaint. Field trips include “Learn To Do Your Own Damned Groceries” day and “This Is How To Mow A Lawn And Scrub A Pot” intensive workshop. They will only be allowed to come home again once they fully understand that you aren’t their servant and they become productive citizens of your home.
For us Moms:
Massage Skills and Bar Management School: Our luxury school at a fabulous resort needs your help. Right now you can spend two glorious weeks assisting with the education of our many “student” massage therapists and bartenders in training. These eager, nubile young people in skimpy beachwear need clientele to practice their chosen profession. By simply lounging on a deck chair all day, you can test them on their hand strength and their drink mixing abilities. In exchange, our students will bring you their creations in various forms of alcohol, or give you a full body massage. There are other ways you could spend your summer, but don’t we all just want a happy ending?
Wine and Chocolate Camp: At first glance, you may think this escape might require you to engage your brain, or work in a kitchen learning to make chocolate delights or take classes about wine. To that, we say “pishaw.” Nobody wants to waste precious escape time on learning new shit. In this camp, just pay your money and belly up to the all-you-can-consume buffet any time of day. We recommend you wear stretchy eating pants.
Sex Toy Crafting Camp: Are you crafty? Are you horny? This is the camp for you! You can participate in workshops every day, and by the time you are ready to go home, you will have a well-stocked tickle trunk to take along. Try our anal beading workshop, or our BDSDM macrame class and become that Dom you always dreamt you could be. Our most popular event is the vibrating dildo making day. You don’t want to miss crafting one of these bad boys. Package includes Patrick Swayze look-a-likes who guide your hands from behind. Bring a kinky friend and get a discount.
I don’t know if we can get some of these camps in business, but I can tell you one thing: I am getting fucking sick of my current summer already. I am at nag, cajole, cook, clean, drive, pay, cope, and weep camp. This shit is losing its charm pretty damned quickly.
In my daydreams, I picture pulling up to the gates of the kids’ camp, rolling them out the door and disappearing down the road in a fast-moving tornado of squealing tires and dust. Destination: Mommy Camp.
Bring me that sangria, Edouardo, and I will take my massage in private.
Thanks to my fellow campers Alison Tedford and Shannon Day Cheung for their helpful collaboration