The other night when my unsuspecting husband came in the door, I emotionally erupted all over him like a blender whose lid had popped off. (Not an advisable move if you’re aiming for Wife of the Year, which, apparently, I am not).
I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!?!?!?!?!? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?!?!?!?
He looked at me calmly, as only someone who’d been in an air-conditioned office and alone with his thoughts all day could.
Summer break is happening. You have ALL the kids ALL day long, that’s a lot to manage.
It’s only a couple weeks into summer break, and I’ve been on the verge of an emotional breakdown for half of it—which irritates me. After waiting all winter and spring for the snow to melt, the temps to climb, and the routines to simmer so we can enjoy life, this is where I’m at? Summer is what I wanted. Why can’t I just put on my big girl panties and get busy having fun?
Well, because managing kids outside of their regular routines is hard; defenses are low and the chaos is high.
I don’t know your situation—if you’re kids are younger or older, if you’re at home with them or working, if you homeschool and this is your norm. But if you’re like me and not getting enough of anything we’re supposed to lately: glasses of water, hours of sleep, or any semblance of down-time (just to name a few), let’s commiserate for a second.
Summer mothering can be crazy. When the kids are constantly underfoot, running in and out, changing into bathing suits and back into dry clothes 6 times a day, asking for snacks and drinks every 30 minutes, staying up way too late, and somehow showing up sticky AGAIN, we can become overwhelmed.
My husband said to me later that night, “Think of it this way, this might be your hardest summer ever. You have four young kids and one of them is a 20-month-old, and you’re never going to have a 20 month-old again,” reminding me that our family is moving out of the baby years.
You’re never going to have a 20-month-old again, slowly played over in my head.
Oh no! A panicky feeling started creeping in.
My babies are growing up! THESE are the summers I’m going to look back on with longing. The ones that the older ladies we pass in the store wistfully reminisce about as they comment, “Don’t you have a beautiful crew! They’re at the best age! It goes so fast!”
In a summer 10 summers from now:
I’m going to wonder, Why can’t someone just ask me for a popsicle instead of begging to be dropped off at the mall again?
I’m going to think, I hope they’re learning and having so much fun at camp.
I’m going to pray, God, protect them as they pull out of my driveway…behind the wheel.
The old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” rings true in mothering. I know that when my kids are around all. the. time. in the summer, I wish they’d go back to school, and let me miss them a little bit, so I can enjoy them again.
But when that yellow bus pulls up again in the fall, I’ll be crying my eyes out as they drive away, their faces looking back at me from behind the glass. This is the paradox of motherhood, “can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”
We pour into our babies— it takes everything we emotionally have to give, and then some. The days we don’t have anything left, we know our future selves would give anything to experience one more time.
I hope when I begin to to lose it yet again because summer mothering is taking it out of me, I can think of my grey-haired, wistful self wishing it all back and enjoy the moments, crazy as some of them are. And I’ll be given the perspective and strength I’ll need to carry on.
Wait, when did I stop dying my hair?