Last week I shared my
fears sheer panic about the summer that loomed ahead. It’s a habitual terror about the loneliness of summer and the potential for a house of bored, quarrelsome children.
I’m here to confess that in the days following my call to embrace this season, I only fell deeper into a place of boredom, lack of purpose, and patience with the inevitable squabbles that came about last week.
I’ve been pondering why these open days arrive as a challenge instead of an opportunity to relax, and a few thoughts come to mind.
Eight of the eleven years that I’ve been a Mama have included our homeschool life. Which means, in addition to changing a lot of diapers and laundry, we’ve been engaged in a range of purposes throughout our day. Learning about art, crying through math, experiencing stories-my purpose in the day has reached beyond maintaining the house and being a driver for the kids. Having a sense of purpose hasn’t made life easier, but it has influenced and partially defined my role since it’s been part of my mama life for so long.
These June days have me feeling like a babysitter, letting myself believe that my only jobs in life are to clean the house and keep the kids happy. It’s left me feeling, to be honest, unfulfilled.
Quickly that feeling leads to a view of my selfish heart, which leads to guilt, which eventually leads me back to “This is really my whole job for the summer?”
Okay, the confession part is over.
Here are a few things that have led me to a more hopeful place this tepid afternoon.
A Patient Husband
My husband doesn’t do guilt. He doesn’t ask “Why do you have to make things so difficult?”. He doesn’t ignore me and watch a ball game. He’s a guy, so he’s a fixer, but after I turn down enough suggestions he’ll move to the next stage. “How can I help?”. He took an early day friday afternoon and spent a lot of time over the weekend loving on our kids and giving me some rest.
I borrowed a book to remind me of my purpose.
I know that being a mama is so much more than the day to day, it’s why I chose this career over any other. I get to share the Word of God, guide young hearts, love through the disappointments, prepare these kids for life beyond our house. I know that. But mamahood doesn’t always feel like that, does it? Most days are a series of mundane moments.
It’s been years since I’ve read Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson but I called out to friends for a copy this week because I need a reminder of how my mission mixes with the mundane. What intention is hidden in the folds of making sandwiches and planning play dates? I’ll let you know if I regain that sense after I’ve read the book.
I planned something for myself this week.
There are three areas I long to spend more time exploring-art, writing, and theater. The luxury of having the summer off as the teacher is that I can build in some time for my passions-right in the middle of the day. I signed up for an online art class by one of our favorite artists and for just $35 dollars the kids and I have spent several hours a day with our hands in charcoal and watercolors. It’s a gift to myself to be the student instead of the teacher. Art is extremely therapeutic and refuels me with energy to turn around and share back with the family. I’m signing up for another week long class in July and I’m planning a theater class that I’m going to teach in the fall.
We’ve been intentionally pursuing friends.
I can easily fall back into this line of thinking, “Well, none of our friends are calling or asking to get together so they must be having super fun summers and they don’t care if they see us.” Instead, I’ve pursued a group of our co-op friends, offering up my house the first week and gathering us all together. We’ve had two extended mornings of pancakes, playtime, and mama talk.
And finally this e-book renewed my desire to find the fun in summer, and allow for some loose scheduling.
Twice in the last week friends have mentioned making a big list of fun activities to check off over the summer. Then I read the same suggestion in this e-book and the planner side of me has kicked back in as we fill in a calender of fun. The Summer Survival Guide is packed with planning sheets, suggested activities, family movie and book suggestions, summer meal plan tips, travel tips, weeks of themed activities, and more.
After fighting the initial instinct to super-plan my summer in order to keep it under control, this ebook reminds me that I can put things on our calender, not to control, but to have a sense of anticipation for fun, myself included. It was absolutely worth the 9 dollars to renew my hopes for summer. (The author of this ebook has never heard of me, I found the book on my own and I’m suggesting it to you only because it helped me.)
Now I’ve got to go do my art class assignment while the little one with the fever is sleeping!
To read the first part of this two-part blog, click here.