by Sara Marchessault
This summer began with great aspirations of spending quality time with the kids. Special crafting projects. Swimming lessons. Long day trips to the lake.
In my mind it was picture perfect and was going to represent the very reason that summer vacations exist. Lots of downtime and a chance to bond with the kids deeply and meaningfully over an extended period of weeks.
And in between the fun I would have with the kids, I was going to have plenty of time to meander through my summer reading list, write in my journal, and hey, even post to my blog a little more often.
I was a little off.
The crafting projects have backfired every time. The almost five-year-old will stay engaged for up to an hour, but the almost three-year-old is hardly engaged at all and would rather spend his time using the craft supplies to redecorate the wall, floor, or tabletop.
Swimming lessons were a challenge. Getting there, keeping my little guy away from the deep end which he is most definitely not ready for, but determined to get into, and getting there again. Day after day.
Day trips to the lake are often not so stress-free. When a bus full of middle school kids pulls up to invade our small swimming area its the mass exodus of the mommy’s with little kids. Being outnumbered by adolescents in the water sounds like a dream that moves from bad to worse.
And the expectations I had for myself? Forget it. By the time the kids are distracted enough to leave me alone I am practically a zombie.
I know I’m not the only one out there. I have spoken with several mommies who are experiencing similar woes. Our eyes look a little darker than they do during the school year. We are all running on fuel tanks that are closer to E than normal.
For those of us who are with the kids all day, we are on the go from the time they roll out of bed until they finally drift off at night.
What are you doing with the time you have in the evening? Or do you get little snippets of time throughout the day so that you can breathe for a minute?
Sometimes when those little moments present themselves, it’s easy for our brains to switch gears into housework mode. We use our ten free minutes to empty the dishwasher or fold a basket of laundry.
Those things can be therapeutic and even calming, but only if you view them as such. If you are thinking about what a pain in the ass it is to put the forks away or you’re wondering why your spouse continues to put your good wine glasses in the dishwasher, the ones with the super fragile stem, this might not be the kind of small break in the day that is going to make your life feel less stressful. instead, you just might feel your aggravation growing a little and get annoyed when this could be a time for taking a step back and enjoying a little you time.
Summer is supposed to be a time to fill up, to rejuvenate.
So, the question is, where to go from here? If summer up till now has sucked the life out of you instead of put life back into you, something has to give. It’s time to make some changes.
My votes are as follows:
Celebrate your messy house – everyone else’s is messy too – it’s summer for crying out loud!
Keep your favorite ice cream in the freeze and have a small dish, giant bowl, whatev’, immediately after the kids go to bed.
Stay up late into the night reading a deliciously piece of literature, trash or otherwise. You can drink extra coffee the next day, right?
Make dinner easy. Fruit. Veggies on a platter. Leftover grilled meat served with wilted greens and balsamic. Easy stuff.
Spend lots of time with friends to swap stories and let the kids be kids – who says playdates and cocktail hour can’t be at the same time?
In all seriousness, what can you do to shift the mood and refuel your tank for the rest of summer?
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Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.