Friday Reflections: To Work or To Play? The Angst of Summer with Kids at Home

When I’m not blogging, life is happening. Here’s what has been going on in my world this week.

It feels like I just wrote one of these!  The truth is, I did.  On Monday.  While trying to catch up from not writing over the weekend.  Now, here it is, Friday again, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share how hard this week has been, probably the hardest of the summer.  Now, I know I said the second week of summer was the busiest, but it hardly compares to the struggle this week has been, trying to rally the troops and implement the summer schedule I detailed here. I have faced so much resistance from my kids and been weighed down by the high level of expectation my self-imposed schedule has incurred, from both my husband and myself, to perform according to the plan.  Honestly, this summer feels harder than the actual school year.

I think it is the striving for both productivity and fun with my kids that is wearing me out.  My kids expect summer to be perpetual free time, and, in some ways, so do I.  I am happy to have them all home together, except for the constant bickering between my son and daughter and the near hysteria that ensues with each mealtime.  I had to escape the insanity which was breakfast the other morning and sit with my bible on the bench in front of our house before I blew a gasket; it was only 8:30 a.m.

I usually try to make light of my disappointments and troubles, but this week, I found that I needed my friends more than I would like to admit.  Two wonderful girlfriends: one sweet, compassionate, and pragmatic; the other direct, understanding, and proactive, listened to my angst and woe over not achieving the success I dreamed of this summer with my children.  I gleaned from our conversations that 1) it is okay to not think that summer is great with the children at home 24-7, 2) some days, we moms need a timeout, and 3) while it’s okay to have fun with our kids, we also need to stand firm and hold fast to their need for structure, even if they don’t think they need it.

A bonus takeaway from our girl talk:  We wives tend to emotionally react to our husband’s comments regarding our work as wives/mothers.  Often, we misinterpret their words of concern and instruction as harsh criticism. It is important to communicate with them and clarify their intentions instead of assuming the worst- of them and ourselves.

That said, enthusiastically sharing this article on Facebook about kids needing more work and less free time has done me no favors;)  At dinner last night, my husband wryly said to the kids, “Your mother has been the one to teach me that work is the most important thing,”  And so, a summer of work it must be. (Sigh from the inherently lazy mom, who spent her childhood summers watching soap operas and playing with the neighbor kids until dusk.)

We did have some great fun this week, though, starting with a Fun Before the Fourth parade on Saturday,  the Lego Americana Roadshow in Milwaukee on Sunday (Unbelievable! Check the link to see if it’s coming to a town near you), and a crazy fun time with The Frog Guy at our library.

Independence Hall
Independence Hall
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Supreme Court
Supreme Court
waiting for the parade to start
Waiting for the 4th of July parade
Autumn holding a 5-year old bullfrog.
Autumn holding a 5-year old bullfrog.

After those timely talks with my friends, I woke up Thursday, tired from a late night of youth baseball and writing, dragged myself to the gym (a practice I have let lapse these past weeks), read a great pick-me-up e-book called Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe while walking on the treadmill, and headed home to face the day, rejuvenated and ready.  We got some schoolwork done (just the math and writing for now), completed a handful of kapers, and met with two other moms and their kids for a couple of hours at the park.  The lack of sleep caught up with me late in the day, but I still managed to make a well-received dinner and cheer on my son at his baseball game before collapsing into bed.  It was a day with considerably less yelling- on my part- and a lot more happy moments with the kids.

Sharing my struggles with my two friends freed me from some of the stress and expectation I had been buried under throughout the week; in doing so, I felt more at peace.  The kids are still crazy, but I feel a little less so.  Has summer been chaotic for you, too? Do you have a trusted friend to confide in?  We need each other; God didn’t design us to walk this bumpy road alone.  Plan a play date or an after bedtime dessert run or even a phone call while the kids play outside or watch a show.  Take time to connect with another adult who understands; it really does help.

And, don’t forget about our giveaway from Saturday’s post.  One lucky reader will receive a free Do It Yourself Summer Camp Kit when they subscribe to the blog and comment on “What is the greatest challenge you face in the summer?”  The winner will be announced Monday, July 5th on my Facebook page.

Have a wonderful 4th of July, friends!

2015-06-27 10.22.41

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *