Summer… a beautiful season where families typically spend a lot more time together, take vacations and move into a place that reserves space for slowing down. A place where laughter and fun are endless and moms are instantly overwhelmed and excited all at once realizing that they are transformed into moming it all, all day long. Motherhood can be complicated for many reasons. We want to embrace the moment and stay present but we also want to be gearing up for all that is to come.
We embrace the Summer months and then all of the sudden it’s over and we are left feeling like we got the wind knocked out of us. What in the world just happened? We went from spending countless hours playing games, singing songs, running around outside and making snacks for our children to going back to school… and then everything changes and we are left with, “Now it is time to begin something new.” In an instant after dropping off our kids that first day, the feeling of figuring out how to navigate the next season can be daunting.
Some of us might be elated but others are devastated. Regardless of how we feel, we are forced to sit with many difficult decisions…many emotions that overwhelm us about how everything is going to come together. I used to get really worked up about how I would pull off the entire school year with four kids and I would almost go into panic mode trying to determine if everything would work out. What I didn’t realize at the time was I had more control over my schedule than I realized. I discovered that the choices I made for my family directly impacted my health, my well being and my ability to be the mom and wife I wanted to be for my kids and husband.
I made a decision that I wanted to live my life being present where I could truly embrace the next season I was approaching. I planned the season for success by determining what was most important. I came to the conclusion that if every moment matters, which it does, then I don’t want to spend the majority of it stressed out and how do we get stressed? By shoving so many things in our schedule that we can’t truly enjoy any of it!
In the season prior, I was so tense that the traps in my neck were constantly aching and I had horrible migraines. My hair was falling out and at times I forgot how to breathe, not even kidding, I had to literally take time outs to create a sacred space to breathe. I knew I no longer wanted to live that way and realized it wasn’t good for anyone! It put unnecessary pressure on all of my relationships because I couldn’t say no!
Boundaries are what give us the permission to walk away from activities and things that don’t serve us and our families. The more we look at our circumstances and evaluate what we do, the more we can think about how intense we want our lives to be. Intensity is a thing. High intensity typically leaves us feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and burned out! No one wants to live in an environment where they can’t ever thrive because they are all consumed with busyness 24/7. The busy trap happens more often than not and unfortunately it is very hard to get out of the vicious cycle that demands for us to be plugged into something every hour of the day.
You might be wondering what about you… how can you transition successfully from the Summer to the Fall? There are certain activities and interests that we are not willing to give up, they are considered to be our non-negotiables. But what about the other things that ARE on the radar? Let’s look at some ways that might make those challenging decisions a little bit easier through this next season.
1.Determine what boundaries will be set for your family. Look over the course of the next 3 months. If you could imagine your life in any way, what would it look like? Defining what contentment means to us and our families is really important because if we don’t have peace, we start spiraling out of control.
Some necessary questions to ask would be,
“Do you want to be going to practices all week and then have your weekend tied up with games and other activities?”
“How many activities are each of your children in?”
“What about for yourself and your spouse?”
“How involved are you in extracurricular activities and what are you personal job demands?”
“After evaluating all of this, does it make sense to continue doing what you’re currently doing?” “
Do you feel a sense of peace as you make a commitment to another thing?”
It will feel better in the long run if you are open and willing to say no to the things that don’t bring joy, fulfillment and create pressure. Setting boundaries will allow you and your family to have more quality time together and will provide more space for you to build strong relationships. Being prayerful and thoughtful about each potential endeavor will help you make your final decisions.
2.Measure the time wisely.How are you blocking out your time? If you were to ask yourself, “How much time are you dedicating to each activity…” what would that reveal? One very eye opening experience for me was when I set a timer doing a specific task or activity and I once thought would take a certain amount of time to complete and it actually took a lot longer than anticipated. This is a great revelation when it comes to traveling somewhere, spending time in the creation phase or even playing the waiting game. What would we do differently if we could approximate more effectively how our time is controlled? Just remember that you have the ability to choose how much down time you will get with your kiddos. Down time means being home, relaxing and doing life together.
3. Be an advocate for your health and for your families wellbeing– Too much of anything is not good so it is necessary for us to be aware of what activities cause different levels of pressure. Whether it be enrolling in an activity too far away or the overload of practices we can be across the board with the amount of overwhelm we endure. Don’t say yes because you feel like you have to, when we experience difficult decisions take time to think it through and evaluate what is best for ALL the members and recognize that what one does, they all do because they absorb that commitment.
Whether you are a workoutaholic or someone that goes for casual walks periodically you can recognize that being healthy mentally and physically will make a world of difference for yourself and your family. Being well with our kids means that we are conscious of their needs and ourselves by making decisions based on the special unit that you are together. We can bring them into the equation and encourage them to have a healthy mind and body by teaching them about the significance of taking care of ourselves and how that directly impacts other people. It is never too early to start!
There is noperfectscenario but there is a lot we can do to make the most out of everyday life. We can experience more happiness, love and fulfillment if we create subtle changes to the decisions we make.Remember that this is your story and you get to write it with the people you love! My wish for you as we approach the Fall is that you would be present, recognize that you can create boundaries, understand that “no” is always an option and that you make choices based on the BIG PICTURE. When we do, our lives will be so much richer because true success and happiness comes from inner peace.