The Long Hot Summer

Anytime I post about the challenges of being a mom, I worry. Because our culture wants to oversimplify things and make everything one-dimensional. So when I post about challenges or concerns, I often worry that people will think (wrongly) that I am not grateful for my children, that I am not cherishing my time with them, that I see them as an inconvenience. In fact, I adore my children and am very aware of the fleeting nature of my time with them. But that doesn’t negate the fact that motherhood is the hardest task I’ve ever undertaken. I just isn’t simple. I am a mess of contradictions when it comes to my emotions about being a mom.

Take summer.

The fantastic foursome eating ice cream in Estes Park last summer

There are so many things I adore about summer: Sno-cones, little tan children, watermelon, the smell of sunblock, swimming at my mom’s house, sandwiches and fresh fruit at lunchtime, trips to see family in Colorado. I realize I am blessed with a flexible schedule that lets me be home with my children when I am not traveling. I do love the time with them. I often marvel over how long their little limbs have grown and I snuggle them close and kiss their face before they get old enough to tell me to stop it. But summer is also daunting to me. Hours upon hours and days upon days and weeks upon weeks with the kids looking to me for almost everything. The comfortable workable routine of our school year is gone, along with the support system it affords, replaced by the need for me to come up with activities to occupy, engage, and challenge my children all day long every single day. My freelance work, housework, and schoolwork suffers, because of the lack of time where I am alone.

I saw this e-card the other day and loved it. For me, it sometimes feels like I just get the kitchen cleaned up from one meal when they are ready to eat again!

Courtesy of someecards.com

It is a little overwhelming.

So if you are new to motherhood, or don’t have girlfriends who are honest with you, and you feel these feelings but are afraid to say them out loud, can I just say I get it and I’ll be your friend even if you are so sick of laundry and the dishwasher and the high-pitched voices that you could cry?

I read once that the kindest thing in the world you can say to somebody is “me too” and I’ll just say if summer and motherhood in general sometimes overwhelms you, me too. If you fall on the sofa worn out after saying the last goodnight, praying the last prayer, fetching the last water, and exhausting the last stall tactic and you think “finally”, me too. If your house is never completely clean and your laundry hasn’t been completely done and put away since sometime in the 90’s, me too. If you pray and desperately ask the Lord to somehow redeem all the mistakes you made with your kids that day, cataloging the litany of ways you screwed up, me too. If you need grace for each moment and have never needed the Lord more than now, me too.

We can do this, moms. We can make this a great summer of joy and connection with our kids. There may be days we put on a movie three times because our laundry has reached code red status (meaning our husband is to the point of re-wearing underwear), and that is okay. There may be days our kids eat the same pizza and applesauce for lunch and dinner, and that is okay. There will hopefully be days we nap while they nap, and that’s okay. Let’s give each other, and ourselves, grace.

And let’s meet up at the splash park as many days as possible, watching them run themselves exhausted, so we can talk to another adult and enjoy moments of sanity. Because we deserve it, and this is hard, and we need each other. Let’s spur each other on in righteousness, encouraging each other and loving each other, pointing each other to Christ when we are worn out. Because He is enough and He will help us when we are at the end of ourselves.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Have a happy summer, friends!

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