When I look back on the summer of 2018 I imagine it will be with a nostalgic smile. My baby girl’s first summer. The summer that we sort of almost won the world cup and “three lions” rang out across the country again. Endless sunshine and cloudless skies. The summer where we didn’t have to worry where our jackets or umbrellas were. The washing dried in minutes. We ate dinner in the garden. I won a mini-break, bought a multi-pack of Fabs and those Thai boys were rescued from that cave.
And there was no sweaty commute or office pen for me. I was on maternity leave, free to enjoy the sunshine and fill my days with walks through the park, picnics and ice-cream.
All of that is indeed true. But, after a couple of more familiar cloudy days with some actual rain, I must admit I’m glad of a break from the heat (I feel I must apologise at this point to March me, complaining about the snow and a serious lack of vitamin D just a few months ago). I’ve come to realise that I’m just not cut out for scorching summers and as the mercury has dipped back towards 20 degrees, here are five things I now appreciate.
1. Being able to wear jeans and socks again.
My wardrobe hasn’t been put together with such a long stretch of hot weather in mind. I’ve lived in two maxi dresses, (largely so I don’t have to keep shaving my legs) but they are a bit long and I keep treading on the hem, not ideal when I spend most of my time carrying the baby or pushing a pushchair. I also hate wearing shoes without socks. I’ve never been overly-concerned with others judgement on my fashion choices, but even I think twice about leaving the house in the dreaded socks / sandals combo.
2. Not having to constantly do the suncream wrestle
We’ve all got sensitive skin and I make sure the factor 50 is slapped on before we leave the house, but how long does it take to smear suncream on unwilling children! If we pop to the shops it takes an equivalent amount of time to do the suncream samba before we go and it gets everywhere. Clothes. The pushchair. The floor. It’s all covered with the stuff. And then it needs reapplying again a few hours later.
3. Not having to constantly search for shade
I prefer being outside, and ostensibly weeks of sunshine is perfect for this. But some days it’s just too hot. I don’t like the baby being in direct sunlight, convinced that her delicate skin will sizzle (I know she’s not a vampire) and manically seek out the shade wherever we go. We’ve abandoned picnics and discarded outings due to the absence of shade. I plan visits to the park depending on the position of sun. Or we plough on regardless, the crazy family hauling a loaded pushchair down unsuitable paths and up hills, chasing after the boy (he insists on racing everywhere) panting and drenched in sweat. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay at home.
4. Being able to use the conservatory again
The conservatory is my favourite place in the house. It has all the benefits of being outside without the drawbacks. It’s nice and bright and surrounded by the garden. It has fairy lights and a hammock. I can put the baby down without having to constantly stop her eating leaves and we can eat in there without attracting the attention of wasps and insects. Lately however it has resembled a furnace and is out of action until the sun goes down. I know, middle-class problems right?
5. Cooler nights
The baby monitor has clocked temperatures of 29 degrees upstairs the last few nights. I have to peel her off me after her bedtime bottle and the children toss and turn in their beds, hair matted with sweat. The sound of traffic drifts in through the open windows, amplified by the monitor, and we lay awake in our beds, trying not to move or spontaneously combust.
So that’s why I’m looking forward to an end to this heatwave. See you in a couple of months’ time when I’m complaining about doing the nursery run in the rain.
A shorter version of this post was published on Families Online