The kids finished school last week, but since it was a long weekend when we would all have been home anyway, I considered today the first “real” day of summer vacation. We started off with a bang. Both kids had friends over for playdates and we took an excursion to the library and the local children’s museum. The kids were good, had fun, and all went according to plan. In other words, I survived Day One.
I am approaching this summer with an equal measure of excitement and trepidation. With the exception of one summer when Jay was an infant, I have always worked through the summer. Last summer was especially difficult because I was working part-time, but summer day care and summer camps operate on a weekly schedule. My choices were: spend the days with the kids and work nights and weekends or put them in weekly day care/camps when I only needed child care for three days. I ended up working during vacations to make up time, and the hours I wasn’t working were spent shuttling them around to their various camps and scrambling to get my errands done. By the time school started again, my relief was matched only by my guilt. I was pulled in so many directions I hadn’t been truly present for anything. I knew I needed to make a drastic change.
If you’ve been following the blog, you know that change was to leave my job and take a crack at writing as my vocation. With summer in full swing, however, I know the writing will take a back burner. That’s where the trepidation comes in. Part of me is wholeheartedly looking forward to a good old-fashioned summer with the kids. One that is not overscheduled, overcamped, overactivitied. One that includes running through the sprinkler, playing in the pool, wading in the Boulder creek, having picnics in the park, tending the garden, hunting bugs with magnifying glasses, etc. The other part of me, however, requires personal time and space in order to thrive. Call me a less-than-dedicated mother if you will, but I do go stir crazy when I am around my kids 24×7 for an extended period of time.
I am trying to mitigate the craziness by letting go of some of my expectations – like the expectation that my newly uncluttered house will remain so or that I will be able to keep up with the laundry or exercise every day. I also need to let go of the notion that I’ll be able to get serious amounts of writing done. That one is the most difficult, because I feel like I am on the verge of a breakthrough with a couple of my pieces. I am going to try to start waking up at least an hour before the kids and use that time for writing, but a morning person I am not. So again, I need to temper my expectations.
My biggest goal for the summer though, is to have patience with the kids (and myself) and to let go enough to enjoy this time with them. They won’t be little for too much longer. A few more summers and Em will probably be more interested in spending time with her friends than with me. This is Jay’s last summer as a preschooler.
What’s amazing is that the more I set my emotional compass to “patience of steel,” the kids do everything they can to test it. Em wakes up whining, or Jay spills water on the floor on purpose. Also, my own mother is getting paid back in spades for all the times I hollered to her from other rooms in the house. If I had known just exactly how irritating that habit is, I would have stored up the anti-hollering karma by ALWAYS walking quietly over to my mother and asking for what I needed in the most polite of tones. Alas, I was in the “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!” camp, and now I’m getting my own.
If nothing else, it should be an interesting summer. I hope to chronicle as much of it as I can in the blog. Time permitting of course – no expectations. 🙂Family, Former Job(s), Parenting, Summer, Writing · Tags: Family, Parenting, Summer, Summer Vacation