As I’m writing this, it honestly feels too late to save my summer sanity. My kids have eaten 10,000 calories before sunrise. We’ve visited every playground in our neighborhood twice. Our Netflix and Disney+ viewing records are impressively cringe.
And we have laughed, and played, and swam, and run, and and and ….
You know what we haven’t done? Rest.
We all need it. We all crave it. But for some unholy reason, the soundtrack of my motherhood says I’m not allowed to rest until everything and everyone is cared for. And to this day, I have never once completed the everything list before I turned off the last lamp for the night. It’s never all been done when my body finally quits at the end of the day. And magically, the world keeps spinning, and my family keeps thriving, despite not meeting my own unrealistic expectations of the day.
So why can’t I rest? Maybe you, like me, are struggling to rest because you’ve been running so long that you don’t remember how anymore. So let’s work on it together. I’m challenging myself to hold Sabbath – and model Sabbath for my kids – in the final weeks of summer in these three simple ways:
Taking a Break From Social Media
I know. Some days that you’re home with your kids, sending memes to your best friend three states away is your only adult interaction. And we need adult interaction. Those relationships are important to invest in and maintain. However, the vehicle we’re using – be it Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc – is also drowning us in messages that are harmful.
Here’s a mom who works night shifts, stays at home with 6 kids during the day, and still finds time to run 10 miles. When does she sleep, or eat, you wonder? Well, they’re not showing us that part. We’re not seeing the normal human side of influencers. We’re seeing polished perfection, and it’s making us feel less than.
We are not less than. We are amazing.
I’m certainly not suggesting taking all these apps off your phone completely. Memes are the primary form of communication for millennials, after all! But for the rest of the summer, I’m going to pick one day a week where I don’t look at Instagram, and I’ll be using the downtime and screen limits on my phone to help me hold Sabbath from social media.
Taking a Break From Cooking/Preparing Snacks
I have lots of questions about kids’ appetites. How do they survive the school day with only one snack? Their summer stomachs seem to need two before breakfast, seven before lunch, fourteen in the afternoon, absolutely no dinner, but at least 3 desserts. Make it make sense. How will they adjust to school meal schedules again?!
Here’s my only solution so far. I put a basket on the dining room table with non-perishable snacks that I don’t mind the kids eating at any time of day – things like apple sauce, popcorn, crackers, dried fruit, oranges, etc. The rule is that they can grab from that basket during the day without having to ask me.
So with snacks taken care of, I set out the cereal boxes, bowls and spoons the night before for breakfast, took an excursion to Chick Fil A for lunch to burn energy, and ordered a pizza for dinner.
It’s not much, but it’s one whole day where I don’t get asked when or what we’ll be eating, and I didn’t waste any more of my limited energy on the neverending meal time duties. Seriously, you have to feed them every single day. It’s exhausting.
Take a Break from Scheduled Activities
What activities are your kids involved in? I naively thought that without school drop offs and pickups, I’d get a bit of reprieve from the rat race. I was wrong.
There’s the camps. There’s the pool play dates and park meetups. There’s the skating lessons and sports physicals and dental appointments. Then the back to school shopping. Then the vacation packing, vacation unpacking, and so much laundry that I’m starting to wonder where all these clothes came from. Who bought these?!
I’m challenging myself to set aside one day every two weeks with absolutely nothing planned. Nothing on the schedule in advance, but also being diligent about letting that space breathe and not saying yes to last minute offers or requests because the space is available.
This is a day for nothing, because sometimes nothing can be everything.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
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