Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer-Slowing Success

If you've been around a while, you know I dream of life slowing down and summer's the time I want that most. Like my latest quote for Make Your Monday, those two words wouldn't be beautiful at all if they conjured up images of rushed errands or frantic cleaning. 

Summer for families is often different because there's no school. And with it out of the equation, there's room to breathe - unless we fill it to the gills with lessons and camps and trips. There may be an age when that's just what we need, but we're not there yet. If uninterrupted, my seven-year-olds will dig in the dirt for a long time. Or hunt bugs or jump on the trampoline. When we do too much and go too many places, they say, "But there's no time for us to play!

So you know what my summer goals are? 

  • Say no to everything 
  • Read to the kids (more) 
  • Eat supper on the patio (unless it's 100 degrees)

Saying no is definitely the hardest. When my determination sags, I try to remember I have to say no to activities if I want to say yes to free-play, afternoon naps, and unhurried suppers. I have a hard time admitting I can't make it ALL work. Yes, I CAN run a garage sale and simultaneously relax with my family. Brian's wiser voice is finally rubbing off, so I now admit garage sales are exhausting. So are birthday parties, grocery shopping, and showers. (At least when there's hair-washing and leg-shaving involved. So. Much. Work.) Anyway, I've been able to accept that sometimes, only one of two things will fit in my life, day, or moment. For this summer, I know the work I want to devote my time to, and I'm clearing a space for it. And not just for it, but for breaks too. 

We've finally arrived in the day of chapter books. Think, Little House series and Black Beauty. I'm in heaven. Reading saves me from being plagued by guilt because I'm bad at playing with my kids. I look on with admiration when moms enter into their kids' play, and inwardly think, "I'm so glad I'm not doing that." I just don't like it. So my kids will have memories of me reading instead. I'm okay with that.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but here's how supper looks around here, too much of the time. I'm eating at my desk while Brian eats half in the kitchen and half with the kids at the table. So suppertime needed a makeover. I thought eating outside would reduce distractions and help us enjoy being together. We could even leave our cell phones inside. We've done this several times and guess what? It's still just us. The kids wear us out with their silliness and we grump at each other occasionally, but this is the quantity of time within which quality time is born. So we'll stick with it because if we're present with people we love, there'll have to be some beautiful summer memories. And no sweeping

Now we are doing other things. We got one set of swim lessons in and I plan to take the kids to get their very own library cards soon. Which may be because I'm over my fine limit...or so they can learn responsibility. Hmm... Mostly, we're not locking ourselves into anything else. I'm trying to take each week and only schedule one or two extras. So far, it's felt unusually peaceful and the work is getting done, so I'm really grateful. Who knows what'll happen tomorrow, but I am enjoying this summer afternoon. 


  1. I hear you on the struggle to all be mentally, if not physically present at the dinner table. That's something I struggle with as well. And yay for chapter books! I'm so looking forward to reading long books to my girl. We just recently graduated from board books to picture books and that was pretty exciting for me!

    1. Oh wonderful! I feel like books are going on an adventure together - especially when I don't know how it ends so the library is my best friend! Enjoy :)

  2. I am so glad I'm not the only mom who doesn't "play" very well and would much rather spend our quality time reading. It frustrates C sometimes, but at the end of the day we are both happier.

    I've also made an effort not to have too many things on the agenda each day. June was a mess, and I learned from it and took July down a couple notches.

  3. How is it going with your supper routine?

    1. We still forget sometimes, and eat inside but we get out there a couple times a week. This isn't as much as I'd hoped for but an unexpected side effect is that when we sit down inside, we've done much better with our phones/distraction. Which was the point anyway, I guess. I really enjoy eating out there though, so I'm glad we made this a goal!