This time last year on the podcast we talked about having realistic summer expectations. While the sound quality wasn’t great (it was one of our first shows) the content was. I managed to get a thing or two right last summer but failed in many other ways too.
If I were to write a letter to my summer self, based on my experience last year, it would go something like this.
Listen to your own advice! Lower your expectations of how much work, writing, and home organization you can get done. The summer will not be a total waste! But be realistic about what you are capable. Most things you want to do, you don’t do well in the cracks. Plan to do work when your kids are in camp or out with friends. Be intentional about how you use those morning hours before the kids get up too. You might have another hour or so once they’re awake to finish something but for the most part, they want your attention. Maximize your time together. Later in the early evening, when they head outside and connect with friends you’ll have some extra time.
Oh, and that first week the kids are off of school, you can not continue to do business as usual. If you try to do things as if nothing’s changed, you will be frustrated. Trust God with your time and effort and ask Him to multiply it.
Maintain your non-negotiables; they’ll anchor your days and weeks. And be careful to make choices that are rooted in your values. The decisions you make do not need to be the same as other moms. Fight comparison and do YOU well.
Raise your expectations of connecting with your kids. They still want to do things with you. Schedule your day trips ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to ask friends to join you. Yes, people are busy during the summer, but I bet there’s another mom who’d love to tag along with her kids.
Don’t be afraid to get your hair wet. Go in the pool, have a water balloon fight, or run through the sprinkler with thyour kids. Those are the times they will remember, not how beautifully straight your hair looked as you sat in the shade and watched them play.
Don’t spend so much time focusing on the WHAT of summer that miss out on the WHO of summer. Visit the grandparents. They will love it, and you won’t have to cook! They live close, so you don’t have an excuse.
School and sports make it easy to connect with others. That all goes away for two months, so you’ll need to be intentional if you want to see people. As an extrovert, this will be essential to your well being.
Sabbaths are still a gift in July and August. Even if you’re having fun with your kids at the beach or at the pool, you are still mothering. And mothering takes work and patience and unconditional love. You’re keeping them safe, meeting their needs, and shaping their character. Create a rhythm of rest that allows you to take a break from this and connect with God but also pursue the things that feed your soul. Don’t feel guilty. You are a better woman, wife, and mother when you do.
You will not have the perfect summer, and that is okay. There will be days when things don’t go as planned, but there will also be ones that exceed your expectation. You can’t control your children’s behavior when they tired, hot, and hungry but with God’s grace, you can control yours.
The only thing you can count on over the next couple of months is that God cares about that little girl inside you that can’t wait for summer and hopes that it will be the “best ever.” He cares about your days and will watch over them and guide you if you let Him.
This letter will come in handy over the next few months as I make choices that shape our summer.
Write a letter to your summer self with some advice on how to navigate the upcoming months well.
Think back to last summer. What were some of the highs and lows? Are there things you loved? Remind yourself what they were, so you can do them again. Are there some days that disappointed you? Think of ways to do them differently this year.