By Becky Majesky
I don’t get summer vacation. I admit to being a little bit envious of those who do. I used to, and I occasionally feel a sense of longing to return to those “glory days”. My boys are growing so fast and our life is so different now than when I was at home with them full time. When I am home with them now, we experience life in a very different way; it is not at all like the memories of preschoolers exploring their world within my reach. Nostalgia makes it feel like a different me.
As a full time working-outside-of-home mom, I have to come to grips with the reality of what research convincingly demonstrates – quality time is more important than quantity of time with my children.
Another study shows how important a mother’s emotional state is to basically everything. No pressure there! How do I wrap this into my never-enough-time mentality and that critical need for me to pare down the number of things I want to keep doing? When I didn’t work full time, I could choose to play, garden, read, sew, bake, cook, organize, clean, attend, coach, volunteer, craft, stay in touch with family and friends…. The “but those things make me feel like me!” side of myself feels defeated.
Summertime brings promise of fun, less routine, and leisure. Can I even have any of that now? In order for my children to see me as a balanced person, I cannot come home from a full day of work and be stressed. After some internal dialog, my practical self says:
- Have a plan. There are a certain number of things that I need to get done each day. Who can do which things to contribute to our overall family well being? Create a plan to engage each person in a way that recognizes his personality and tendencies (yes, I’m talking about procrastinators). If I attempt to do it all forever, we’ll all feel like failures! This plan must be accompanied by Grace!
- Be flexible. Some days it won’t all get done. We’ll still eat. Even if grocery shopping was the part of the plan that fell apart, I am confident we will be resourceful enough to dig into the pantry and survive on beans or canned pumpkin–best paired with laughter!
- Spend quality time individually with my boys (including my husband!) in a meaningful way. For example, Kohl is obsessed with technology, so sometimes I need to sit down with the computer on our laps and look at the latest and greatest with him. He really just wants to share, and I really just need to remember to ask questions to stay engaged. This also motivates him to get his work done so we can have that time. Ah, sweet communication!
- Creatively find ways to combine quality time with “getting things done” time. Remain open to possibility! Braylan is an amazing cleaner/organizer. I’ve asked him to “do a kindness” for his brother by working on a short organizing project together that helps Kohl. We talk, listen to music, work together, and ultimately feel good for the gift we’ve accomplished. What really happens? Creating harmony.
- Schedule time to rest. If I allow work to creep into my rest time, we all suffer. Sometimes I have to battle the demons that pressure me to finish everything, follow what my child has shown me, and embrace the words of Kohl’s confirmation Bible verse: “Be still and know that I am God.” Here is where Peace is born.
As I work through yet another life transition, I remind myself that this is season that I will miss when it’s gone. I pray my children see that I’m present with them, in sunshine or rain, noticing who they are while trying to be the person I’m meant to be all covered in the love and grace of Jesus.
Read more of our Summer Family Discipleship blog posts here.