Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Little Things

When I was a child I looked forward to summer every single year.  A respite from school, hours of reading, beach days, and sleeping in. 

As a mom, I have a love-hate relationship with summer. 

I love it.  We have lazy days with nowhere to be and that is a glorious change from the breakneck pace of the school year.  The pressure of homework/projects/studying is lifted.  I see my kids play together and we have fun exploring the world together, whether it's a hike in the woods or a big vacation.  Going to the pool and beach are my favorite and there's nothing like getting ice cream on the boardwalk after a day in the sand and sea with your family surrounding you. 

But, I also hate it.  We are schedule people and without an enforced schedule, we all get grumpy.  Six grumpy people in one house can make it feel too close for comfort.  The kids don't always play nicely and I find myself refereeing fights and having to do the hard work of parenting.  4 kids talk a lot and while I often write down the little things they say, sometimes it feels like I will be talked at until the end of time.  I'm often interrupted and it feels like there is so much more cleaning. 

I heard a podcast at the beginning of summer that suggested adding a little thing you enjoy into each day.  I don't always remember this practice but when I do, I don't feel like running away by 6pm.  

One of my most required little things is quiet time.  Last year, at the age of 35, I discovered that I am an introvert.  This realization has helped me understand myself and avoid meltdowns.  Now, I try really hard to work at least 15 minutes a day of quiet into my schedule.  My brain needs the space and I function so much better when I get a break from people talking to me.

It's very popular currently to say, "I'm a mom and I drink a ton of wine."  And, while I do enjoy wine, I find one of my favorite treats is a cup of tea.  I love the ritual of afternoon tea and I love feeling British because I am a complete nerd.  I don't drink my tea in my industrial size coffee cups.  No, I prefer to pull out a beautiful mug or delicate china to have my tea.  Iced tea is so refreshing, but a nice cup of hot tea, even on the hottest days is still a treat.  You should probably know that I hated tea for the first two-thirds of my life, but I forced myself to drink unsweet tea and now I'm all in.  This is my favorite of all, FYI.

Part of what bums me out about summer is the constant mess and the way I feel pressure to be the only one to clean it up.  I've started putting on loud music for half an hour at the end of the day and rallying my kids to do a quick clean up of the day's messes.  It's never thorough, but the teamwork, smiles, and marginally cleaner kitchen improve my mood while I'm making dinner.

I had been in the habit of not watching TV with my kids.  I needed that time to be productive and send emails/clean/fold laundry/etc.  Last week we watched one of the movies we had seen a million times when the kids were small and it was so fun.  I let go of feeling like I should be doing something else and just sat with them, laughing at all our favorite parts.  As a young mom, people always told me to leave the laundry because it would always be there but kids grow fast.  It took me 14 years to understand that.  #betterlatethannever

I'm watering my garden every day.  I'm sitting with my feet in the kiddie pool.  I'm putting on goggles and going underwater at the community pool.  I'm eating ice cream sandwiches.  I'm reading the books I want to and not the ones I feel like I have to.  

I won't stop until I eat all of these #dedication

This is summer and it's wonderful.  I think this year I will be genuinely sad when we have to go back to school and routine...well, maybe not like crying sad, but I will miss these special days.  

Light up the comments with your little things.  Let's enjoy this summer together. 

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