Thursday, June 20th, 2013...9:35 pm


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You’d think I’d run out of the school building screaming with joy about the start of summer. You’d think that I’d jump feet first into pools and playdates, splash pads and swinging. You’d think that I’d be a pro at this summer home with the kids thing after five years now.

But I don’t. And I’m not.

My very first blog post here on this blog was about the uncertainty of summer. About having finally figured out what it meant to be a working mom, how to manage to feel (most days) like I was balancing it all pretty well. About how the days of summer were looming and I had no idea, really, what to do with a toddler all day long.

I feel that feeling at the start of every summer, whether I realize it or not. I felt it yesterday when I was suddenly in a bad mood and I couldn’t really figure out why.

I think the hardest part is figuring out the routine again. It’s different from a weekend routine since now there really is no “weekend.” I have to relearn the rhythms of my children and of myself (and Ken, who works from home). And sometimes I’m hard on myself for not just knowing these things from the get-go. But every summer we are all a year older, a year wiser, into new things, clinging to new ideas. And we have to give ourselves time to adjust. I need to remember that.

At work I am largely in control of my destiny. I have projects and goals, lists of things to finish and check off, never to return to. I get measurable results and lots of feedback that lets me know I’m being successful. That isn’t how parenting works. We don’t get to “finish” many things. We, most of the time, aren’t completely in control. We can’t fix it when the pool closes or the splash pad breaks or the naptime is too long or too short. The results we get are far from measurable. Each summer I have to surrender myself to a new path, a new feeling of just going with it, of finding joy in the smallest of victories. I have to figure it out all over again.

I know pretty soon, in a few days or a week, this will be my new normal. I will balance it all, find a new rhythm.

And then, come the end of July and the start of August, just when I’ve figured it out again, I’ll feel a new set of emotions. Tears will rise even when I will them not to or I think I’ll finally be immune to the return to days away from sweet smiles, constant requests for snacks, trips to the library and lounging by the pool. I’ll wish the summer was longer, that the new normal could stay that way just a bit longer.

I remember that feeling well every summer. I remember the dread of leaving them again, of stepping back into the rush of the morning and the long hours spent away. I remember not wanting summer to end. But I forget that sometimes this, the beginning of it all, can be hard too.


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  • Sorry, I have to say this one more time. I would love a change of pace. The only way I can get a break is to quit or retire. I have an MBA, so it is not for education that I work year round. Every Sept the teachers come back wondering how our summer was. What summer?
    My college professor friends complain because only 6 of 12 weeks they have overlap for vacation. I immensely respect what you do but education is out of touch. I know I should delete this but will leave it to provoke thought.
    I’m taking 10 days off later this summer, all my work will be there when I get back. No substitute, no temp= new reality.

  • This is so true about life in general! By the time you adjust to a new reality, things change again. I am still figuring out life as someone who works from home, and I now realize that even if I do magically figure it all out in the next few months, I’m in for a very different reality by December.
    The first summer my parents were married, my mom was at home with 5 kids ranging in age from 6-10. She survived, but I suspect it was a long summer for her!
    Julia recently posted…The January Day Guide to Surviving Morning Sickness with Style and GraceMy Profile

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