Summer break always feels like a bit of a tricky balance. Since most of our school work wraps up by mid-May, we have a good, full 3 months to do whatever we want. We do start getting back into the routine and beginning some school work the second last week of August, and by then we notice that EVERYONE has had enough of the break.
But here we are, with just over a month of summer break left, and I’m already pining for the day we start back to school. And it seems to happen every year. This year, there are extra special circumstances contributing to my lack of energy, patience and overall inability to handle the heat (Our family is growing! What?! More on that later!). Yet I know without a doubt the main contributing factors and what brings us to this same place each and every year.
We’re just plain too busy.
I can’t breathe. I can’t think. I can’t stop long enough to get the kitchen clean or mop the floors or clean our toilet (thankfully the kids handle pretty well all the other chores, or we’d be living in a pig sty! :D).
We do not do summer sports (yet anyway – we’re determined to guard our family time in the evenings!), nor are we involved in a lot of summer camps (1 week of VBS, 1 week of ball hockey camp, both are half days). But I HAVE been doing a LOT of running around with the kids and staying busy. Splash pads, parks, errands, swimming lessons, play dates, bowling, day trips, etc., etc.
The kids are grumpy, easily bored and fighting, asking every day “Where are we going today?” and complaining if I tell them nowhere. I’m grumpy too, short-tempered and tempted to be restless unless we’re going somewhere/doing something. It’s not healthy.
We need space to just breathe.
We need to remember it’s ok to have a do nothing summer.
The fault does not lie with my kids, though their attitudes and responses could use some tweaking and work, and we’re encouraging and hopefully enabling them to work on it. The fault lies in my own choices where I feel like I have to fill the hours and days, keep them busy and happy, show them a fun time all the time, give them fresh air, make sure they aren’t bored.
You may be just a month away from starting school again, or you may have just gone on summer break. Either way, the temptation always arises to keep ourselves and our kids out of the house, busy and on the go. But the truth is, we need time to just BE.
BE together, BE bored, BE quiet and still, BE creative, and heaven forbid, do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with no plans. I want to read more, keep our kids and myself in the Word, teach them to bake, play new games, have time to enjoy the nature near us, read on the grass, catch frogs, stop and smell the roses, teach them patience and to help each other, do art and messy things without worrying about having time to clean up before the next thing comes up.
We don’t have to plan all the fancy events, take all the road trips, see all the sights, visit all the parks. I’m giving you permission to take back your summer, relax and enjoy just being together, doing nothing. Because before we know it, the summer is over and we’ll be wishing for those long, lazy days to be back again!
And our best memories are always made when we’re just together.