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.
Prefer to listen instead?
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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I NEED to pick up my paint brushes. I NEED to create my own space and visit it regularly to paint for relaxation and joy. I put it all away to focus on the kids but now there isn’t any me in my life.
I hear you. I put away my sewing during the year and it’s almost suffocating….. but the guilt of sewing during the year when I should be present with the kids is too much for me to mentally handle. So I do it in the summer and a little on Christmas break and let the kids watch tv and tell myself it’s ok.
Ugh. I NEED to catch up on appts., bills, and …. something else. But I also need to spend some quality time and fun with my family. We are doing too much of doing nothing and I’m getting antsy, yet exhausted all at the same time. ???
I need to sew and sew and then sew some more while the kids are playing outside or even watching tv or video games and not feel guilty. I need to drive over the plains of Wyoming (where we live) and Look at the looming mountains 🏔 and how magnificent Gods Creation is. I need to take the kids to the pool and play and splash with them without judging other Moms for the bikinis. I need to eat healthy and spend as much time as needed in the kitchen to Get life giving foods into my body. I need to laugh with my Husband and take evening walks with him.
I so wish to reduce the number of decisions in the summer – but the things that my kids want to do require planning and decisions! They are in need of new friends as many friends have moved away this past year – find and connecting with new friends require a lot of energy. But yes, a good reminder to recognize what we need ourselves, and pay attention to that.
I need to finish reorganizing our basement before August. We’ve moved our school area downstairs, so now it’s give, put and throw away. August is supposed to be a rest month before school starts back up.