Confession: Summer is not my favorite. This mama likes routine and predictability. I had to explain to my oldest daughter, Lucy (10), that my sometimes-crappy attitude about Summer has nothing to do with my feelings about my kids or being around them. I love my kids and I love spending time with them! But I also love structure, quiet and alone time…
What I like about school is that I know they are being intellectually fed by someone other than YouTube. I know they are eating a balanced lunch. I know they are getting time to socialize with friends. I know they got to use creativity at Art or Music and/or exercise in Phy Ed. I know they are getting to play at recess.
At home, I struggle to meet all of those needs for the four of them.
One will ask to play with a friend, which turns me into social coordinator, driving everyone to all the places, all while trying to keep things “fair”. I spend a lot of time trying to keep screens out of their hands. I spend half of my days “putting out fires” and playing referee. I am exhausted from the anxiety of constantly counting and recounting everyone at the pool, while also trying to have a conversation with another mom.
Summer is a marathon for us mamas. It’s not all slow moving or laying around relaxing. It’s cleaning up melted popsicle puddles and saying ‘NO!’ To the tenth request for a snack within minutes of cleaning up breakfast.
If you think I sound negative, I do. And I fully recognize this. This is why today, on the last day of school, I am sharing a gratitude journal.
I’ve been harping on my family for months about the importance of gratitude and I’m putting it into practice myself.
Maybe you are like me and when you start to count your blessings, you just hit the basics with umbrella statements. For example, “I’m grateful for my family, my house, food to eat, good friends.” While I am obviously grateful for all of those, my head isn’t making a real emotional connection to the actual things and people I’m grateful for.
I’m challenging you (and myself) to start listing my blessings specifically and why.
In a daily devotion that I subscribe to via email, the author listed five things she was grateful for by using her five senses as a starting point.
To take it even one step further, I am trying to take the very things that I usually complain about into something positive.
What I can see
I’m grateful for the grimey handprints on my stainless steel fridge because it means my kids helped themselves to food.
I’m grateful for the wet towels on the floor because it means we went to the pool today.
I’m grateful for the beautiful sun set because it means I get a fresh start and clean slate again tomorrow.
What are you grateful for that you can see with your eyes today?
What I can hear
I’m grateful for the loud drums playing upstairs because it means my son is making music instead of watching YouTube.
I’m grateful for the conversation I hear between my girls (especially if it is kind!) because they have a sister and a best friend to grow up with.
I’m grateful for the loud rain because that means we get to get some respite from the hot Virginia sun.
What can you hear that you are grateful for?
What I can taste
I’m grateful for the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and filling my plate with color.
I’m grateful for the iced coffee that is giving me actual life to get through sun up to sun down with all the babes.
I’m grateful for the kisses from my 3 yo, even if they’re a little more wet than expected.
What are you grateful for that you can taste?
What I can feel
I’m grateful for the soft towels that dry me off from the neighborhood pool.
I’m grateful for the squishy bellies that I get to tickle in the mornings when the baby comes to snuggle in my bed early in the morning.
I’m grateful for the way a Summer dress has me feeling – comfortable and confident enough to show up wherever and whenever I need to be at the drop of a hat.
What can you feel that you are grateful for?
What I can smell
I’m grateful for the smell of sunscreen that keeps our skin from peeling off our shoulders.
I’m grateful for the smell of fresh baked goods that my daughter is making in the kitchen. It means she is learning how to bake on her own – a skill she will use for a lifetime.
I’m grateful for the smell of chlorine in our hair because it means we spent time together at the pool today.
What are you grateful for that you can smell?
Right now I’m working on a Summer Bucket List for exploring our new city, Richmond. I’m hoping this helps combat the “Summer boredom” and give a little bit of structure to our weeks. If you have the Virginia scoop, I am all ears! What places and things do we need to see and experience? Keep in mind I am one adult (with a low tolerance for loud noises/chaos) and my kids are ages 3-10. Please comment below or send me an email here!