Yesterday was the first day back to school here, and I always take some time on that day to think back over this summer in my home and with my children. The delightful conclusion I have come to is that each year, I get better and better at this whole “parenting thing.”
As a mom who runs two businesses from my home, it can be extremely challenging to work when my children are here in the summers. In years past, I have felt pulled in many directions, and then left feeling guilty that I am not spending more time with my children and guilty that I am not dedicating more of myself to my work and frustrated more often than not.
Finding the balance
As I was in the shower, I was thinking back on this summer. I realized that after 16 years of parenting, I have learned to be like water; I have learned how to flow with life. This is quite a revelation for me! In the past, I struggled to make things conform to my idea of how they should go. And I struggled to check all the things off on my To-Do List every day. When I would get to the end of the day, I would feel frustrated if I had only managed to check off 50% of the items on the list.
What I realize yet again today is that change takes time. Growth and evolution take time. No matter how much you study, learn and listen, growth still takes time.
This summer was very different for me.
This summer I intentionally scaled back on my work commitments and postponed things that I knew would be difficult to accomplish with the kids home. I kept expectations of myself and my work very low to avoid feeling frustrated. In the end I more than exceeded what I hoped to accomplish work-wise. And all along the way, I found pockets of time to make amazing connections and memories with my children.
Things that got accomplished this summer:
We managed to repaint and redecorate my oldest two children’s bedrooms. They helped to paint and pick out colors and bedding and decorations.
I played many types of different card games with my younger son.
My daughter and I put together several large puzzles.
We took countless trips to the beach (less than an hour away).
I watched my older son play many matches of volleyball with my husband.
I listened to endless songs shared enthusiastically with me by my older son (what a precious gift from a teenager!).
My younger son and I enjoyed all the Dude Perfect videos on Youtube as well as their new show on Nickelodeon.
My daughter and I read our books quietly together.
I gave an untold number of back rubs.
We played at the park, took bike rides, found sea glass and other treasures.
We gazed at the Eclipse through our special glasses.
We swam, and weeded and swept the back porch.
We baked, ate treats and painted our nails.
My kids had so many sleepovers and pool parties I lost count.
And as for work, I created growing a Facebook group to support parents which I am completely enjoying.
I kept blogging weekly.
I recorded a few interviews for our company Building Connected Communities.
My husband and I launched our new podcast, Maximizing Life in the Middle.
I helped organize a conference, build an online learning academy, and began work on a recording studio in my house.
Finding the summer groove
The beginning of the summer was challenging and stressful until I found my groove. But once that occurred, it felt as if I breezed through the rest of the summer. Towards the end, my daughter even commented that it seemed as if I had hardly worked this summer. Considering all that I was able to accomplish, I’d say that is quite the accomplishment!
I felt deeply connected to my children. I got even better at that delicate dance of connection and disconnection, holding on and letting go, with my 15 year old. I learned when it was beneficial to just stay out of his hair and leave him alone and when he was seeking me and my attention. And on those occasions, I dropped everything and offered him my attention.
My daughter felt deeply heard and understood. Being a sensitive empath, this is quite necessary for her growth, development and well-being.
And my younger son knows that his mom is pretty fun to hang out with!
I absolutely love helping parents to find this same groove in their homes with their children. Parenting doesn’t have to be so hard.
How do you feel your summer went? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Keep it up, Erin! Jessica is always sharing what a sweetheart Faith is. Obviously, you practice what you preach.
Thanks, Michelle <3