The lazy, hazy summer months are upon us, and I find myself longing to be home more and more. Being a work-outside-the-home mother is something I enjoy. Most of the time. Some of the time. Eh, I’m not sure anymore. Lately I’ve dealt with pangs of working-mom guilt when our kiddos ask if they can stay home from summer camp. Playing outside in the extra hours of sunlight and sleeping in late are rights of passage and the hallmarks of childhood summers. When you’re a working mother, the rules of childhood summer shift. There’s no freedom from schedules, deadlines, or commitments. Lazy days are few and far between.
It’s my son’s last summer before kindergarten – a monumental milestone in his young life. Perhaps it’s the weight of this milestone or this mother’s realization that time with him is fleeting, but I feel the need to carve out more lazy days of summer not just for him but also for me. He’s at an age where he still wants to hold my hand, snuggle in my lap, and spend endless amounts of time with Mommy. Years from now that will come to an end. Motherhood is funny in that regards. We look forward to each milestone in our children’s lives but some sneak up on us with no warning. The day he stops wanting to hold my hand is one I can’t predict so until then I’ll cherish his squishy little hand in mine as much as possible.
Why do the days leading up to vacation create so much stress? It seems to put my Type A personality into overdrive. Packing, wrapping things up at work, and trying to remember everything in-between. Balancing everything creates a substantial amount of mental clutter. The older I get, or perhaps the busier, the more mental clutter negatively impacts me. By the end of the day I feel overwhelmed and exhausted dealing with anything requiring brain power. The only solution I’ve employed is to watch mindless TV or surf the iPad. Neither of which is productive or helps with getting quality sleep.
You can read countless articles on the invisible workload mothers carry (start here). We tend to worry and stress more; hence my increased stress over vacation. The problem is now that I’ve identified the problem what am I going to do about it? When the thought of coming up with a solution exhausts you, you know there’s a BIG problem.
Tonight I’m going to try 3 things. First, no iPad time before bedtime. Losing myself in Instagram isn’t the solution. Secondly, I’m going to take a bath. If I feel like it I’ll read a magazine. If not, I’ll just breathe. Relax and breathe. Sounds delightfully simple, doesn’t it? And last I’ll go to bed at a decent hour. It all sounds so easy. Now I just have to do it.
What strategies do you use to reduce your mental clutter?