I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes the other day when it came over me. I felt that awful, stomach tightening, breath-stealing, churning sensation that summer was rapidly coming to an end.
It’s not just that summer was coming to an end, but I worried that I hadn’t done it right.
If you’re a mom like me, you start the summer with goals, dreams, and reward charts. I am the queen of partially completed reward charts. There are also two partially finished summer math workbooks sitting on our shelves and a summer bucket list on our chalkboard with too many unchecked items.
Then there’s a lingering feeling that when it comes to making my kids’ summer memories magical and long-lasting, my efforts just weren’t enough.
Then, right after that quick stab of summer regret, the school year anxiety rapidly followed.
What if we’re already behind in math because of the previously mentioned half-done workbooks? How will we choose (and afford) the right activities without scheduling ourselves into insanity? Will I ever get back on the meal-planning bandwagon?
And how on earth am I going to wake up at least an hour earlier each morning?
Let’s all take a moment and breathe deeply into our own paper bags.
In the midst of the emotional roller coaster I was riding in my kitchen, a quiet voice of wisdom whispered to me and pulled me up short:
That’s what you feel. But what is really true about your summer? What is true about the coming school year?
And so, I paused for a moment. I thought back over our summer–not with a critical eye this time, but with a heart for recognizing goodness.
We’ve had a happy summer. Sure, we never tracked down the ice cream truck, but we dripped plenty of Popsicles on the back deck. Plans for going camping became two days of pretend camping in the backyard. And instead of doing math problems, we read stacks and stacks of books from the library.
I forgot to take lots of Instagram-worthy photos, but I was less distracted by my phone. I didn’t plan that big party, but we had a steady stream of friends and family tromping merrily through our house.
Despite my anxious feelings, the truth is, we really did have a great summer.
In the same way, I took a moment to speak the truth out loud into our upcoming school year. (It’s probably good I was alone in the kitchen for this.)
The reality is, my kids probably will have lost some of their progress in math. But it’s normal that this happens, and you know what? We’ll eventually get caught up. It’s going to be okay.
With the current commitments I have for the school year – I’m nearly at my capacity. That means, I only have room for about one more good thing that comes my way. I need to be okay with saying “no” to other opportunities.
I will never be the perfect activities director and planner for my children, but that’s okay. No one’s perfect. We’ll figure it out.
And just like that, the churning feeling in my stomach subsided, and I calmly exited that particular emotional roller coaster.
How about you? How are you feeling as summer ends and the school year begins?
As moms, we take so much responsibility for our family’s well-being, it can feel like a crushing burden at times. If you can relate, I encourage you to pause, take a moment, and recognize the goodness in what you’re doing. Speak the truth to yourself about your upcoming challenges.
Because the truth is, this school year’s going to be amazing.
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