So Much For A Slow Summer

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So Much For A Slow SummerEveryone keeps writing about wanting a slow summer, a summer with no expectations, no schedules, etc. Frankly, after the year we’ve had, I’m craving one too. However, two weeks in, I’m beginning to wonder if a slow summer is even possible once your kids hit a certain age. I mean, of course it is, but based on purely unscientific research amongst my kids and their friends, slow summers aren’t going to happen for us any time soon. 

Summer, according to the dictionary in my kids’ heads, means a variety of camps to explore new interests and hone skills in current ones. It means trying new things like swim team and hitting up their favorite VBS. It’s filled with friends we’ve made through various sports and clubs organizing get-togethers for the kids on the regular. It’s saying yes to birthday party invitations and last minute playdates that pop up. It’s exploring things they love, spreading their wings a bit more without the pressures of school-year academics and activities weighing in. It’s a different routine, unique experiences, new friendships formed. 

To them it is a break.

For me, it’s still rather exhausting. I haven’t found a break from the mental load of juggling it all, puzzling together who is getting each kid where, making sure everyone has everything they need for each activity. I’m still wrapping up the previous school year while looking ahead to next year, mapping out everything from curriculum to extracurriculars. I’m already overanalyzing and freaking out about the sheer amount of hours we will be in the car in the fall. I’ve let it get to me. The past year wore me down and I was really hoping for a reset this summer.

Then I realized something: I need to change my attitude.

The fact is, we have a lot of kids, and no matter how we try to “slow” our schedule, it’s always going to be busy. Even if they each had one activity, that still means being out of the house practically every day. We are making the choice to raise well-rounded kids with a variety of interests, so I need to stop complaining. Yes, it’s a lot of juggling, more hours than I care to admit weighing every decision, far more driving than necessary. However…

If I flip the script, perhaps these things won’t weigh me down anymore.

How lucky are we that there are so many amazing options out there to meet the interests of our kids?

How blessed are we that our kids have friends that invite them to birthday parties, get-togethers, and playdates?

How awesome is it that we have raised kids who play creatively and keep themselves entertained without having to battle them about too much screen time?

How proud are we are that our kids work hard in school, extracurricular clubs, and sports and have advanced to higher levels of competition which require more time, commitment, and travel?

How helpful is it to raise independent kids, even if it means cleaning up their messes along the way?

How nice is it that we have friends that call just to talk and see how things are going?

How special is it that I will have rare one-on-one time with my son as I drive him across town to practice 3x a week?

How cool is it to watch these tiny humans blossom and become incredible individuals as they explore a variety of interests and continue to grow in confidence and curiosity?

How lucky am I to get a front row seat to all of this?

The fact is, the chaos makes the calm that much sweeter. When we do have a random evening off, we all band together and happily play in the yard, challenge one another to a board game night, or settle in with a movie and some popcorn. We embrace an hour or two with just “us” at the pool or digging into a home project we haven’t had time to get to. We read any chance we get. We go camping, out of cell service, and get to recharge our batteries.

We cherish things that we’d probably take for granted if they were commonplace.

So no, our summer won’t be slow this year. God willing, they won’t be for a long time. When the kids are driving or moving onto college, I will certainly have more down time, and I know I will crave this chaos. I will miss it.

So instead of a slow summer, we are striving for a sweet one. A summer filled with love, activities, friendships, family, enrichment, downtime, and all of the adventures that make us feel whole.

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Family is everything, and I can think of no better town to live in with my high school sweetheart and our four young children. Although we've been here for a few years now, we often find that it still feels like vacation. Embracing the natural beauty and slower pace were easy. Learning to love Orange wasn't too hard. However, my mid-western roots shine through in my inability to accessorize my daughters with giant hair bows and my preference for unsweetened tea. Being a mother is more incredible than I ever dreamed, and even though our days are utter chaos riddled with exhaustion, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I blog about anything and everything related to motherhood at Stroller Savvy..

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