July 12, 2023
Embrace the Midsummer Pause: Reflection During The Race
It is already July. I am not sure how that happened, but we are already here and my kids’ summer break is nearly ½ way through. Stores are beginning to stock for back-to-school and fall :( while I feel like we are just starting to settle into the more relaxed pace of summer living. The kids that is. My husband and I are still running full speed it seems between work, running a business, camp schedules, and the return to sports for the kids.
It’s been hard to pause because there is never a break - always a schedule to be arranged, rides to be given, food to be made and work to be done. As I was thinking about this, it made me think about running a marathon - which parenting feels like sometimes.
I’ve done this a few times even though I really do not like running. It is a long race. It is grueling and your body hurts, but you have to keep moving one step at a time. You cannot see the finish line, but you know it is there.
I feel like this is a good comparison to parenting, because the finish line is not tangible in many ways and the day to day can often consume us. No matter what we do, the race is going to keep going. The weeks will go by, the weather will change, holidays will come and go - whether we are ready or not.
The work as a parent doesn’t end and there won’t be a huge relief mid-race where my kids stop needing food or a new size of clothes - AGAIN - , but as in any race there are moments of relief and calm - a downhill that came from nowhere, a shady mile, or friends cheering you on from the sideline.
For the rest of this summer, I am challenging myself to take the moments in our fast-paced lives to slow down and embrace those moments. I am sharing three things I am going to try in case they are helpful and I’d love it if you share yours.
Connect with Nature
In our digitally driven world (with yet another social platform), it's easy to get caught up and overlook the beauty that surrounds us. I am going to plan on taking a break from my phone and venture outdoors. Some days it might just be sitting out on the grass while my sons play soccer (enjoying that small moment that is already scheduled in our lives), while other days we can plan a hike or spend time at the beach. I always feel better outside, so I’m going to try to soak in the time that already exists and create more opportunities to connect with nature.
Create a Ritual
As we all know from the baby daze - routines are great for all of us to feel a sense of calm and safety. They provide a sense of structure, meaning, and connection within our lives. For my family, we are going to plan a weekly game night that will allow us to spend time together, laugh, and enjoy the time at home that summer brings. Other ideas could be a family movie night, an outdoor barbeque, or a nightly walk around the block together.
Get Silly and Have Fun
One of the things I love about being a parent is how present and engaged kids are in the current moment, without judgment. They dance, they laugh, they play. Often I feel myself not being fully present with them because I have something else to do or on my mind. I am going to work on recognizing those moments and allowing myself to play, to dance, to relax. It shouldn’t always be the kids having all the fun. Better yet, joining in with my kids reminds them there is value in showing your joy and gives us all a greater connection (and updated dance moves).
So before you head to Target this weekend and have a panic attack that Thanksgiving displays are already on sale, give yourself a midsummer break to pause and reflect. Think about the moments that exist in your parenting journey today that give you a sense of joy and fulfillment. Prioritize these moments and make time for these activities intentionally. Take a deep breath, soak it in, share with friends.