Ah, summer. It’s finally upon us. With it comes the opportunity for a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year, more time for freedom and fun, and . . . a few new challenges.
You may remember that I overindulged in the fun and freedom last summer and found myself depleted and in desperate need of some me-time.
This summer I’m experimenting with a new plan to see if I can retain some much-needed balance and hopefully keep my sanity intact while still enjoying the many adventures with my family.
Care to join me? It’s a simple process. Before I dive in, I’m going to set some intentions for how I want my summer to flow. You may be accustomed to focusing on what you want to DO during the summer. We all plan our calendars - full of activities, trips and the things we want to accomplish. Intentions are different because you focus on how you want to FEEL. Knowing how you want to feel and making choices to allow for those feelings will hopefully make a huge difference in your experience of summer.
You can use this tool whether you stay at home with your kids, whether you work, or even if you have no kids at all.
Here are the questions I’m considering.
How do you want to feel overall this summer? When you imagine summer, do you envision yourself feeling scheduled, organized and in control? Or would you rather feel relaxed, unstructured and free to do as you please? Are you and your kids comfortable with lots of time at home? Or do you need activities and outings to keep you from going stir-crazy? How do YOU want to feel? And how do your kids want to feel?
As for me, I want to feel peaceful, relaxed and connected to my loves, and filled-up personally.
Everyone’s different! And you’re likely different from your kids. Don’t be afraid to ask them too. I’ve been asking my kids for their input since they were around 5 years old. You might be surprised at how insightful they are about their wants and needs.
How do you want to feel when you’re with your kids? When you think about your relationship with your children, how do YOU want to be with them? Sometimes it’s tempting to focus on what we want our kids to DO. Focusing on how I want to FEEL as a mom reminds me that I am the only one I can control! It also reminds me that the best way I can influence them and have the relationship and the peace I crave is to find ways to feel connection to them.
Besides connection, lately I’ve been focusing on feeling playful with my kids. Play doesn’t always come naturally to me. My default mode is to be more serious. When I’m playful, everyone lightens up and we all have more fun. My kids LOVE it. I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities to focus on playfulness this summer.
In order to get to your desired feelings, you may need to lay some groundwork to make sure you and your kids’ needs are getting met. Here are a few more questions to consider.
What boundaries need to be set for you and your kids to have a great summer? For many parents, video games and electronic devices are a struggle. I get it! What’s your comfort zone when it comes to technology time? What other boundaries need to be set?
I get asked a lot how I handle technology. Here’s what I do: I negotiate. My son and I sit down and talk about what’s important to us individually, and we come up with a plan together that we both agree on. Most of the time after the plan is in place, we don’t have many issues or conflicts about technology. When we do, we sit down and renegotiate. I find that when I’m consistent, he’s consistent. It’s when I’m inconsistent that boundaries don’t work. Again, my main focus is on myself – whether I’m being clear, consistent and compassionate.
What do you need for YOURSELF this summer? How can you get it? As nice as it feels to have the extra freedom, summer can be a tricky time for moms because they’re so focused on family that they have little personal time. Don’t forget to take care of YOU. What are your essential needs for your emotional well-being – those things that keep you connected to yourself and filled up with happiness and joy? How can you get them in each week? As difficult as it may feel to make time for ourselves, it serves our whole family when we get it in. I’m making this a priority this summer!
Once you know how you want to feel and what boundaries you need in place, you’re free to enjoy the journey! Of course, it's not going to go perfectly - nothing does. When you find yourself struggling, just remind yourself of how you want to feel and ask what you need to help you get there. I hope that taking this time to get clear on what you want to experience serves you well. Happy Summer!
Love and light,