July has felt like the longest month. I’m ready to flip the page on my calendar, and we’ve still three days left, including today. But who’s counting?
Well, to be honest, I am. And I think a lot of my other moms are, too. I get to this place and feel surprised by it every summer. It’s the place in summer where my fun has worn out, as well as my creative parenting energy; and it’s very very hot; and my kids are bored; and school isn’t quite yet close enough – but it’s creeping up in a way that feels rushed and oppressive. It’s the pressure of, “I want to fit all those summer projects and day trips and visits in but oh-my-goodness there isn’t enough time for it all, and I certainly don’t have enough energy (that wore out a few weeks ago).”
When my twins were old enough to be school-age, this switch happened for me – where fall is what I began to look forward to, because it meant a routine for all of us and a break for me and learning and friends and an amazing teacher (or two) for my girls. By spring, I get a weariness from all of the school year activity and feel ready for the quieter, slower rhythm of summer. But by mid-to-end-of-July, I’m ready for summer to be done. Although my kids won’t as readily admit it, they are too.
How did I know I was here again? Meaning, this place of summer-weariness common to moms of school-age kids? My anger and frustration and irritability kept creeping up, until it reached a boiling point this morning, and I lost it. Ironically enough, we were trying to fit a lot of things into today’s schedule, and I was mentally trying to coordinate whether the dog would be let out midday while we’re gone (and by whom), what time I needed to drop each daughter off at their activities for the day so that I would make it to work on time, and then what the other end of the day would look like. What time is today’s camp pickup, and what had my friend graciously offered in terms of when to pick up my other daughter from her house? (Or were they meeting me at my house?) Not to mention, did I have my lunch? What about my girls – do they have lunches if they need them and water bottles? Did she take her pool bag with her? And which stores do I need to try to swing by – squeeze in between the running and picking up of my kids and coming home from work and preparing dinner and our home to host friends for dinner?
So dear summer-weary mom, you’re almost to the finish line of this summer, and you don’t have to muster up the strength to make it through this last stretch on your own.
You’re not alone (even when you want to be – ha!). But seriously, know that up and down the streets of your neighborhood, the corridors of your apartment, the lanes of your farmhouse out in the country – there are other moms trying to make it, too. We’re in this together, and maybe my weariness and *feeling* of being in it alone means I should reach out honestly to a fellow mom – and share the understanding that what we’re experiencing isn’t uncommon. Maybe you fill up that backyard inflatable pool or bust out the slip n’ slide and invite her and her kids over. Maybe you make lemonade and dump out the Legos container and let your kids entertain themselves a bit while the mamas discuss whatever adult topic seems good. Maybe you meet up with a friend after work for an hour or two before heading home. And maybe – if your personality is (like mine) craving people-free time by this time of a summer with “all the people” – steal away for an hour or two to a favorite place and just bring a book, or a journal, or a sketchpad. (Swap with another mom-friend craving as much solitude as you are …. or find someone craving little-people time because they don’t have any of their own in their home.)
And breathe. Right now, take three deep breaths and remind yourself that you are loved by the God who sees into your weariness and seeks to strengthen you by His grace.
You’ve got this! Because He’s got you.