Lazy to Crazy and Back Again: A Summer’s Tale

The phrase “lazy summer” used to be my reality. I looked forward to summer as much as my kids who were in school. I remember complete freedom, total relaxation and sometimes a little boredom. We figured out a daily routine to help motivate them to do their jobs around the house. We went to the library and kept track on reading minutes. We went to the $5 movies and got Icees afterwards. We had complete control over what we did and for how long. Time stood still some days as my kids explored childhood, and that’s what I wanted: to keep them little. The world was our oyster, or so it seemed, in our little neck of the woods. This was my reality up until a few years ago.

So what happened? My kids grew up.

Unfortunately we can’t keep our children little forever. As they grew older, my kids’ interests expanded to things outside the home. I’ve allowed each of my five children to be involved in one thing at a time during any time of the year. Even with that restriction, it still feels like we are running from place to place. What once was a time in which I nurtured my kids in one place, is now a time in which I am stretched in five different directions.

Summer is now just as chaotic as the school year, or maybe a bit more because this year we bought a house and moved at the end of June!

Our Day begins at 7am, with my oldest getting ready for Cross Country training, which goes until 9am. Next is my 2nd oldest, who has swim team practice at 7:45am. My 3rd follows suit with swim team practice from 10:15am-11:00am. We are all home around 11:30am and break for lunch.

After that, there’s a mix of responsibilities which need to get done:

-meal planning and grocery shopping
-trips to the library
-cleaning the house
-unpacking boxes and dejunking stuff
-preparing church lessons for my calling as a leader for girls ages 8-11
-planning school supplies
-organizing the Swim Team concession stand
-playdates with friends
-planning and traveling to visit family

Sigh.

Pardon my digital mind dump. Every now and then it helps to do this when I feel overwhelmed, which is what is frustrating about my summers now. Sure, I miss the freedom, but what I miss most is the SLOW PACE. I miss the SLOW mornings where everyone wakes up whenever his or her body is ready for the day. I could make pancakes or waffles and take our time to eat them. I miss snuggling up with my kids on the couch to watch a movie. Nowadays, things are so busy that those slow moments have been sacrificed. It seems that as each year passes, as each child grows older, those moments disappear. And that got me thinking…why does that have to happen?

So as we’re approaching the last month of the summer, I’ve become intentional with my time. What does that mean?

-It means that I am present with my kids. I am putting down my phone and being their mom.

-I take any opportunity available to make memories together. If that means having to block time for it, then I do it!

-I purposely SLOW down and say no to an overloaded schedule. One thing I’ve learned is that kids grow up too quickly.

-I learn to say yes to new experiences. They won’t remember what toy you got them years down the road. What they will remember is you and your time together.

-I learn to forgive my shortcomings as a mother when I make mistakes. You will mess up. You will regret doing or saying something, but we must be able to show ourselves grace and keep trying.

-I learn to love more. When I’m intentionally striving to look at my kids with love, I am less likely to yell, snap or criticize them.  

-I learn to let go of expectations. Our disappointments about ourselves as parents and our kids stem from the expectations we place on ourselves and them. Let them go.

With my new goal in mind, I try to find ways to be intentional with my time. Recently, while the older kids were upstairs playing Legos, my two-year-old wanted to watch a movie. I snuggled up on the couch and we just lay there. I can’t remember the last time I’d done that with my kids — it felt so nice.

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