I told my teens I was done this summer. By that, I mean I am done running such a tight schedule. These next few months they will be making their own schedules, and I’m over the moon about it.
Today was the first day of summer vacation and my kids slept in. That is, they rolled out of bed around lunch time. It was wonderful not to force them to go to bed at a decent hour so they could be ready to face the day. But it was even more glorious not to be up at the crack of dawn telling them over and over again it was time to get up.
I loved not having to ask if they’d packed their lunch, telling them they needed to change their clothes because they wore that yesterday, and chasing them out the door with their overdue permission slip because they’d left it on the kitchen island, again.
When they decided to roll out of bed my son (who was wearing the exact same outfit he wore all day yesterday) asked if he could go to the gym with his friends. I told him he sure could, but he needed to find his own ride—I was planning on a lunch date with friends after I got some work done, and I wasn’t going to drop my daily plans so he and his friends could pump some iron.
Next, I was asked when I was going to get to the grocery store again and I replied with, “I’m not sure.”
You see, we have plenty of food, and we can make do, and I don’t need to get anything for a school party or bake sale, so we can all have scrambled eggs and cereal for the next three days until I do a full shop.
This will be the summer they can make their own schedules because we all need a break and I have zero urge to fill this summer up with activities.
It’s not that I don’t plan on bonding with them; I’m not taking a vacation from “momming.” I just refuse to be running around like my pants are on fire because I’ve been doing that since September, and it’s time for a breather.
The grocery store can wait. We don’t need to have something scheduled every single day. If my kids feel like wearing the same clothes all summer, bring it on—less laundry for them to fold. My poor car is about five years older after all the driving to sports events, school events, and social events this year. It needs a break, too.
Moms have so much on their plate during the school year. We are often holding down a full- time job while trying to manage it all—not to mention everyday life like getting the oil changed, and making dentist and hair appointments.
If my kids’ clothes are a bit snug this summer because they grow three inches overnight, so be it. I really don’t care—for now anyway.
There will be plenty of time to get back into the rat-race this fall.
And if I want to keep up, I need a respite. That means no more leading my kids around like a herd of cattle reminding them from one thing to the next and asking them to change their shirt.
If I want to recharge, this is how our summer needs to go. I want to show my kids the importance of taking time to slow down and break away from the “busy”.
There is nothing wrong with not answering to our kids’ every need and want. And once they get older, letting them take care of things like getting their own rides. And telling them they don’t need to attend every single event that’s happening. It’s a good way for parents to gain some strength back for the time of year when that’s not an option.
I had the gift of slower summers growing up, and I want them to have a taste of that, too.
But more than that, I’m so aware they only have a few summers left living under my roof. I want to be more present and enjoy the time I have with them. I can’t accomplish that if I’m rushing around and neglecting my self-care.