May Madness

Its summertime - we made it! The last soccer game was completed and the trophies have been handed out. The piano recital was beautiful. The pre-school party was precious. The kindergarteners had beautiful weather for their beach-themed finale. The baked goods were cooked and the special treats were provided. The library books have been returned. The last school drop offs and pick ups have been completed. Church discipleship is off for the summer. The school teachers have been appreciated and hugged. The tears were shed as I realized how much my sweet kids have grown since September. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Is it really supposed to be like this?

The older my kids get, the less I am enjoying the month of May. The effort demanded of parents during this time is insane. Each year it is leaving me increasingly spent. The activity required to close a school year is borderline nuts. Crazier still, is that our family is merely on the cusp of the May Madness. Our oldest is six and just finished kindergarten, so she is basically our only child participating in any full-time school or activities at this point. Will I have the stamina to make it through May with several school-aged kids? Sometimes I feel woefully inadequate for my role as a mother.

A good thing about parenting, excluding the case of multiples, is that you begin slowly. First a baby, then they grow into a toddler, then the second baby comes. It is a slow progression. For most people, waking up one day with a toddler and a baby would send you into a tailspin. I'm hoping the same theory applies here. We slowly ease into the busyness of school year activities - first with one child, then two, then summer swim team and sports camps. Hopefully the gradual increase will give me time to adjust to each new phase.

There are also two other aspects that I suspect will be vitally important if I hope to combat overall burn-out. One is to choose activities wisely. I think we do this fairly well now, but as we have more children and they get older, we will likely have to be even more selective. This sounds easy, but realistic implementation will be an entirely different challenge in this overly competitive, uber-parenting world. Theory is one thing. Putting it into practice is infinitely more difficult. Secondly, we must rest when the schedule allows. There are natural breaks throughout the course of the year. Seasons wind down, holidays happen. We need to cherish those times, spend them as a family and try to rest and recover. May could be unsalvageable, but we do have some control over June through April.

For now, I've survived my first really busy May. My babies are home and we will not be spending our days in the car. I have scheduled minimal activity this summer because doing things with an infant in tow can be exhausting. We will have busy summers soon enough, so we are going to try to rest, reclaim the chaos that is our house and enjoy family time for now.

By the end of the summer I will likely be clamoring for more structure. Ahhh, the pendulum swings and the grass is always greener...

1 comment:

kelly said...

I hope you don't think that I am some kind of "cyber-stalker", but I just started blogging last week, and at the top of the blog, it says "next blog". (have you ever clicked on that??) Anyway, I was thinking I could get some layout ideas or whatever, and up comes your blog. I have to tell you - I read the entire thing and am just wishing that you lived next door to me. Your thoughts echo mine in so many ways it is as though you are living my life in a different city...
My best girlfriend, actually, speaks in almost the same style as you, and I find it eloquent, touching, and refreshingly honest. I just wanted to thank you for your blog - and hope you don't mind if I keep up with it just to enjoy your words. Thanks for reminding me that it's ok that things don't always look so pretty - we are growing children, and that can be pretty messy sometimes. Thanks again!