And just like that… summer’s gone. Done. Finito. OVER.
It’s not ok. Nope. Already the temps here in NY have fallen into the high 60s, & everyone’s giddy for fall and pumpkin spice while I’m trying to hang onto my flip flops while wanting to punch the people who count the days ’til fall on Facebook in.the.frigging.FACE.
There were many things I had planned to tell you here, & many anecdotes that would have been amusing to share. But the primary thing I want to tell you about Summer 2017 is this:
It kicked my butt.
Summer is always a mixed bag here; while I enjoy the reprieve from the chaos of the school year & all of its activity-related stress, summer days here can be… LONG.
I wanted to share with you some tips for coralling the summer chaos. And while I had a few that were working nicely, my days were so damn overwhelming & exhausting that I felt like sharing tips would be fraudulent.
I’ve always been REAL here, with the successes and the failures. And this summer I was off my game, so trying to tell YOU how to be on YOUR game wouldn’t be authentic.
Summer began on a chaotic note, with a massive ant infestation on the last day of school. A half-day, mind you (WTF is the point of THAT, I ask you?!). And although I was genuinely excited about the school year being over, hustling to move every piece of furniture off the walls for the exterminator left me grumpy.
And the kids arguing 2.5 seconds after getting into the car following their last day of school left me grumpier.
I’ll sum up, in a nutshell, some of the challenges we faced this summer.
-ants. Ants everywhere. Ants setting up a community in an upstairs bedroom, building a town park & electing an ant mayor.
-attempting myself, several times, to evict the ant community via various household chemicals, only to be faced with an ant community pride rally with all in attendance. Followed by an armed resistance. With wings & all, people. They brought out the big guns.
-paying an exterminator to destroy said ant community, which required moving every item of furniture off the walls in every room. TWICE.
-lice. LICE, people. LIIIIICEEE. And though it was short-lived plague, I suspect that the ants, following their eviction, bribed the lice community into heading (get it? “head”-ing?) on over.
-going on a vacation with the in-laws. Our first vacation in over a decade… involving a flooded bathroom, vomit, urine, & other things that shall not be named for fear of their dark powers.
-averaging 96 spilled drinks, 77 spilled bowls of cereal, 384 sibling fights, & 8 flipped tables when the husband called to say he had to work late.
Image Courtesy of www.giphy.com
I’m not trying to imply that the entire summer was sheer torture. We had so many fun moments, too. I genuinely enjoy free time to spend with my kiddos. We spent many days at the local pool, playing games, & enjoying evenings at the beach.
But what I realized:
I’ve been burnt out.
(And it’s ok to admit that.)
I was afraid to share that with you, assuming the automatic reaction would be: “Well, duh- you chose to have a bajillion kids, so…”
Afraid of judgement.
Afraid of appearing incapable.
Afraid of making people think that raising this many kids is foolish.
And why am sharing this with you? Because after numerous conversations with various fellow moms, I wasn’t alone. Many moms voiced this very same feeling:
“I love my kids, but I’m also really worn out, and parenting can be really, really hard.”
It’s not about the number of kids you have.
It’s not about whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom.
I can share great organizing tips with you. I can (and will!) share funny anecdotes about parenting. But I’m doing a disservice if I’m not honest in saying that sometimes, parenting -though a true blessing- isn’t always fun. Or funny. Or sweet.
Sometimes it’s damn near impossible. And to pretend that’s not the case, while being glossy & easy for Facebook, isn’t REAL.
Sometimes you push yourself really hard for a really long time, & are so focused on meeting everyone else’s needs so often that you neglect your own.
You get tired.
And feel like a failure because you’re tired. And cranky.
(which only makes you feel worse, which makes you crankier.)
That’s what I learned this summer. In the midst of having my precious babies home with me all day every day, I realized that if I continued to put everyone else’s needs first ALL of the time. I was neglecting basic needs -not wants– of my own.
And doing that makes you irritable. Quick to crankiness. Frustrated over the little things.
It makes you so exhausted that you can’t even enjoy the good moments, like a vacation, because you’re too damn tired to…. relax?!
The concept is still half-baked in my mind, but since school has begun, I’m trying to set reasonable limits for myself to avoid being burnt out. I’m training myself to take good care of myself, too- the same care I’d give to any other family member.
So, share with me: can you relate? Are there things you do to bring yourself balance & rest? If so, SHARE ‘EM! Seriously. I’m used to sharing suggestions with you guys, but I’d love to hear how you balance self & motherhood.
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