dear summer-weary mom (from one to another)

image from unsplash.com

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.

a Sunday prayer

Lord God,

You see the weary one struggling to make it through another week, to drag herself into a place of worship – perhaps with a few young kids in tow – and see her now and let her know you are near.

You see the pastor’s wife, whose day will be the opposite of rest-filled as her husband preaches and shepherds to bring spiritual rest to the congregation. Meet her this morning, as you met me when I was in that place, and let her know you will carry her burdens and shepherd her heart.

You see the joy-filled one, brimming with optimism and hope and eager to join his church in worship. Let him be a blessing to the ones in the row beside him, the ones he greets who may be in need of a cheerful look or a kind word.

You see the lonely one, whose church experience is the most poignant weekly reminder of what you have not given as they sit alone in a pew. Let them feel part of a community; let them feel known – that they belong and that they are loved.

You see the exhausted one, ready for rest from a week well-lived and well-loved. Let him find a soul stillness that refreshes him, that lets him know you are near and that you see the work he’s done, and it’s never in vain.

You see the depressed and anxious one, who will muster all courage she has to simply show up and be present with God’s people today. Let her know that you recognize her bravery in being present, in stepping out of her comfort zone, and let her feel whispers of hope this morning.

You see the grieving one, who longs for comfort and not pat answers or well-meaning platitudes. Let him feel the nearness of the fellowship of the One acquainted with sorrows and grief, the comfort of others who can sit with him in the awkward discomfort of grief and let him ask the questions without answers.

You are the God who sees.

Let us rest and worship and be comforted by You today.

Amen

a few of my favorites

It’s been awhile since I last shared a few favorite links with you. So on this Sunday morning, there’s no better place than here and now to invite you to read along with me.

For all of my fellow write-in-the-margins readers, this poem by Billy Collins speaks right to us.

grocery list notepadThis grocery list by BrimPapery. (I *heart* all things organizing and all kinds of paper. Love her design and I just found this: a gorgeous 2016 calendar).

When you feel mom guilt (and what mom doesn’t?), Sara Hagerty (author of Every Bitter Things is Sweet about finding God when life stops working for you) offers these words to encourage our hearts in The Best (and Most Resisted) Words A Mama Can Say: Help. I Don’t Know What I’m Doing.

On those who share my feeling of weariness, this is hope-filled and honest: Lay Your Tired Stories to Rest by Charlie Howell, a student at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

Enjoy your Sunday, friends. May it bring you rest as you step away from the busy, frenetic pace of life for a few moments or hours. And may you find that a God who is there in these still moments.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Minute “Friday”: weary

I hear sirens screaming through our city streets, but I think nothing of them. Or very little. They’re likely rushing to a minor car accident, or someone set off a fire alarm.

But in Paris – what many thought were fireworks at first became the background to scenes of horror as their fabled city was simultaneously attacked by terrorists in multiple locations. It shakes us to the core in the Western world. For we live isolated and cocooned from the reign of terror that is normative in the Middle East.

And I am weary from it all. I am weary for the inevitable tragedy and trauma that is expected in our lives. Yes, terrorist attacks of this magnitude still (and should) shock us, but there is part of me that says – oh, of course. But to carry the weight of the fears of what ifs? That is what has made me most weary in the past.

Instead, I choose to cast my cares on the one who cares for me (Jesus).

I choose to take on his light burden and easy yoke in exchange for my hard one of trying-too-hard-to-be-self-sufficient.

I choose to fall hard in the arms of a Savior who will catch me, comfort me, hold me – hold all of us as we grow weary of our burdens and those of the world.

And how is he already doing this? Through you, my friends and community. You remind me that weary is ok – because it is the very first step of being supported, refreshed, strengthened. 

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Five Minute Friday is my favorite of writing link-ups hosted by Kate Motaung. Her description draws me back every week, and the community of FMF keeps me writing – “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.”