My friend recently shared that her anxiety was off the charts since her kids had gotten out of school. Ironically, I had just experienced my first pang of physical anxiety in months the day prior. Upon questioning her further she shared, “summer brings with it a deep sense of sadness and nostalgia.”
This got me thinking… why was summertime—that most carefree, ‘lazy-days’ time of year causing emotional meltdowns for mothers left and right? I realized that summer is very anxiety producing. Everything is so chaotic.
Schedules—which most families thrive on 9 months out of the year, are completely out the window. That routine we are all so sick of come the last week of school is apparently more vital than we realized! There’s no ‘steady state’, unless that steady state is well, chaos.
Ok ok, that part seems fairly obvious, but what about that sadness and nostalgia?!
When she first shared those words I felt kind of sad for her, until I realized–I felt the exact same way.
When I was growing up summer was EVERYTHING— that lack of schedule, endless hours at the pool, late nights playing outside till the last of the sunlight faded, hours past my regular bedtime, sunburns and crisp cool sheets after a bath, crickets lulling me to sleep and birds gently chirping me awake. Ice cream, fireworks, BBQs, sleepovers, snow cones, vacations, corn on the cob. The sounds and smells of summer, not a care in the world.
SUMMER WAS EVERYTHING!
Flash forward twenty five years and now I’m doing summer with kids of my own… As an adult it’s almost impossible to re-capture those feelings– if maybe only fleeting moments or glimpses through my child’s eyes.
And that’s sad. And super nostalgic.
I’ll say it, because it’s true, it kinda breaks my heart.
Yet in the meantime I’m working my butt off trying to create the same experiences and feelings for my boys because I want them to feel the exact same way I did when I was a kid! This is hard work! It’s anxiety-producing…and often disappointing!
BUT HOLD UP JUST A HOT SECOND…
All of this? This is only my side of things, the mom side. When I actually stop and pay attention I realize my boys are having the time of their lives, every day of their summer break has been epic (epic being a relative term, we’re talking about 5 year-olds here) — and you can bet your organic children’s sunscreen and homemade popsicles that yours are too!
I am taking comfort in the fact that my boys will undoubtedly have the same sappy sweet memories of their childhood summers—that everything I am doing for them today will come to define the word nostalgia for them some day as well.
They are doing just fine, better than fine; they are in heaven, its summertime after all! So that brings it back to us mamas…basket case or not, cut yourself a little slack. Nothing is going to be perfect, at least by my definition of the word. When things feel out of control, I’m just letting it be! I stop, take a breath and ask myself what has to be done, at the very least, to keep these children alive, fed and happy?
That is my goal for summer.
I’m going to do just that and not worry about the rest.
My kids probably won’t notice when my stress-o-meter goes into overdrive, or perhaps they will, but I’ve decided to accept that every day of summer is a bit like a roller coaster—for the kiddos it’s a wild ride of excitement and unknowns.
For me, well maybe a little nauseating, sweaty, and with a dull headache at the end but as I embrace it, I’m learning to ride those ups and downs a little better each day. Who knows, tomorrow, with a schoolgirl grin on my slightly sunburned face, I may even be heard shouting, “Look, kids, no hands!”