I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I LOVE the season of summer, especially in Oregon. Fresh blueberries, warm (not hot) evenings with outdoor meals, gorgeous sunny days with green everywhere you look. I also love not having to worry about homework battles or making lunches every day.
But I also dread summer break. My kids thrive on structure and routine, especially my youngest. I’ve had some rough experiences with moms who have really given me a hard time for not LOVING having my kids home every hour in the summer. But before you judge another mama, remember you don’t know everything that goes on in her home. Unstructured time with a kiddo who has diagnosed behavioral and emotional struggles can be super anxiety-inducing, and our home in those summer months can be a difficult place to be for all 5 of us. That was true when I was a full-time stay-at-home-mom, and it is even more tricky now that I work part-time.
Last summer in all of its COVID glory was especially stress-inducing. (Plus, it basically began on March 13.) It’s possible I have some post-traumatic reflexes based on how awful my mental health was last August.
So even as I’m already working on daily schedules, setting reading and exercise challenges, and searching for fun activities for everyone (how do you entertain teenagers?!), I’m also asking the Lord to prepare my heart. I only have a limited number of summers with each of my kids! I don’t want to waste them in a fog of angst and frustration.
Maybe this doesn’t resonate with you at all–maybe your kids thrive with little structure and have excellent executive functioning to initiate lots of new projects on their own without adult supervision. Maybe your kids hate screens and would rather read books for hours and are kind to each other all day. I’m genuinely happy for you! Share some of your wisdom!
But in case your family is more like mine, and the bickering and screen time requests are about to bombard you, I want to share my five prayers I’m praying for myself this summer.
- Lord, give me eyes to find joy in the small moments and pleasure in the long days, and lead my children well in having a contented heart. Help me see my children as you see them.
- Lord, give me gentle hands that show affection to my kids and play with them. Let me not measure the success of a day by how productive I was at work or home.
- Lord, give me ears to hear your voice and your leading when chaos reigns and my anxiety pulls me to harsh decisions and anger. Let me be quick to listen to my children’s needs.
- Lord, give me a calm mind as I model for my kids what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit, even when things are not going my way. Allow Your peace in my heart to overflow on to my family.
- Lord, give me kind words, even in my frustration, giving life to my family and my home, not tearing down or causing hurt. May they be like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and life to the bones.
Amen. I am praying this over all of you, mamas!