The most important thing to do before summer ends ~
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
I want to tell you a secret: there hasn’t been much space in my brain lately. The reasons for that are both super involved and kind of boring, so I won’t trouble you with them.
The reason I mention it at all is this: by the time June rolled around, I was so, so glad for summer to arrive.
I was glad to let go of routines and bedtimes and the kinds of decisions that don’t relate to swimming and ice cream. I was ready for cutoffs and tee shirts and flip flops and sunglasses, all day, every day. I was ready for “playing with the puppy” to be the only thing anyone accomplished all day.
I was ready. It was time.
My brain was telling me it needed to slow things down. My body was telling me I needed more sleep. It was telling me to put down the nonfiction and to pick up a light, summery novel.
It was telling me I needed to find a handful of things I could say “yes” to every time the kids asked, so I wouldn’t have to decide about anything else.
(Right now I’m saying yes to letting the kids make their own milkshakes, watch movies in the afternoon, and swim every day. I can say no to pretty much everything else, I don’t have to make any other decisions, and everyone still has a glorious summer.)
Maybe you don’t need exactly what I need. (Honestly, that would be a little weird, right? We’re not all supposed to need the same things at the exact same time.)
Maybe what you need this summer is adventure, or to be outdoors for hours on end, or to take one amazing vacation, or to go deep on a creative project while your kids play outside, or to take time to plan for next year. But whatever it is, can I remind you of something?
You know what you need.
The Most Important Thing to Do Before Summer Ends
You are the expert on your own life, and you know what you need.
I bet you’re great at knowing what your kids need—from the daily stuff (whether she needs a nap, or he needs a snack, or they need to get outside) to the logistical stuff (who’s going to need a new pair of sneakers by fall?) to the growth and development stuff (maybe he needs a different kind of math program, maybe she needs a mentor, maybe they need a new project to focus on).
Especially during the fall and winter and spring, when everything seems to move faster, those needs can fill up a day without our even noticing. But as I’m writing this, it’s summer. The days are longer, no one is doing anything that looks like math (at least not at my house), and everything is moving a little slower.
It’s kind of the perfect time to practice listening to your own self to find out what you need next.
You are a whole person: mind, body, and spirit—and all the parts of you are trying to give you good information about how you’re doing and what you need.
If your body is exhausted and your muscles are tense, there’s probably a reason. If your mind is racing, there’s probably a reason. If your soul is whispering that something isn’t okay, there’s probably a reason.
If we ignore our bodies, minds, or spirits, we’re going to end up burned out and not able to show up for our families or for the wider world in the ways we want to.
And that’s not what I want my kids to learn from me, either. I want them to learn to listen to their whole selves and to pay attention to their own needs, just like they see me taking care of what I need.
Listen, and then take one next right step. You really do know what you need.
And I’ll be over here with my big old glass of tea, making as few decisions as possible.
Because that’s what I need right now.
What is the most important thing you need to do before summer ends – for your brain, body, or spirit? Reply or comment below to let me know!
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