Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living This Season As It Is

Working with the kids on papier mache Harry Potter wands.

The summer time is in midswing.

The days are long, stretching into the night. The heat is sweltering. School is out and the kids are home and looking for trouble.

In my mind, I think of summer and a time of relaxation, vacation and the opportunity to really get into projects I want to do.

But the reality is that, as the mother of two still young children, there is no vacation for me in summer.  This is not my vacation, but theirs. I am back on duty as a nearly full time stay at home mom. However my job outside of the home isn't lightened during these times, in fact, this is the busy season for us so my hours are a little longer at that, too.

The problem arises here, when my reality does not live up to my expectations. Just like when you go to a movie, expecting it to be AWESOME and it is just "meh." If you had sat down in the theater without those grand expectations, you would have enjoyed the movie, called it "fun" and been pleasantly surprised. But because you believed it should be something more, something other than what it was, you get cranky, and dissatisfied.

So my summer is like a blockbuster movie that failed to live up to my expectations. I thought I would get back to writing, whip my house into shape, shape up that fabulous Harry Potter party for the boy, paint every day, build my etsy shop into a behemoth, keep my kids from the summer slide and create fabulous games and activities for them every day.

Really... there are still only 24 hours in the day, and there was no way my summer could live up to these grand expectations. Especially since with every goal that I did not meet, I got more and more disgruntled, pouty, even.

This is not the fault of my summer.  The summer is what it is. The kids are running wild and watching far too much tv. I am going to work 5 days a week and coming home 3-6 hours later. The pumpkin seeds we planted are a bust. The kids' reading program plans lost steam, slumping along like summer slide fashion. I have far less time to myself as I am waking up later, since the kids don't need to get to school early and the kids are staying up later with the sun, so that means writing is pretty much out. I can do some creative things while the kids are with me, but I can not get the focus together to really write intensely when the girl wants my attention every 5 minutes and I am refereeing sibling fights every other 5 minutes.


Well the point of all this is that in order to be productive and enjoy the life that we have, we must accept the season that we are living. This season is summer. It is not the summer of my childhood, with endless days stretching out unmarked (or it isn't for me, that's MY kids' summer.) Nor is it the summer of my teaching days, when my hard work during the year was punctuated by glorious days where I could write and paint and really get down to the work that I had to put aside during the work year.

No, this is the busy mom summer I have. To accept it as THIS summer, means I don't expect it to be the lazy summer of my childhood, or the painting/writing summer of my pre-child days. To accept it as THIS summer means I enjoy making crafts with my kids, or staying up late with them, watching favorite movies from my own child hood (that's right, ET, I'm talking to you). It means researching and experimenting with ideas that will create my son's dream Harry Potter party, even if I think I should go even farther and make it even fancier, even though I am not a professional party planner with unlimited resources and dedicated time. Accepting this summer as it is means letting myself be lazy sometimes, and not expecting constant productivity.

Perhaps it also means letting go of the disappointment that I am not in another season, where I can do each and everything on my dream to do list.

The dream to do list is not about reality, see? So why hold onto it? Why not just accept that this is my season, and the best I can do is to make it the best season it can be, to appreciate it for what it is.

What season are you in right now? Are you accepting it for what it is, or are you wishing for some other summer? Some other springtime or autumn?

1 comment:

Cat said...

Love this post. I am totally with you. I had all of these expectations and plans for summer...many of which haven't exactly happened. I am also working on the acceptance of what it is, as well as on the careful balance between the easy flow of summer and planned activities.

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