Soaking in Summer

Though it technically isn’t summer for another week, in our house summer comes as soon as the boys’ morning preschool lets out in early May. Since the changes this spring, life has gotten busier it seems. Free time is rare, or should I say Me time. Most days, we have one or two activities planned, such as playdates, hikes, swimming lessons or pool time, community activities, etc. It’s been great, but I have a feeling I’ll be worn out by the end of the summer.

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Every 10 days or so, I get overwhelmed by how behind I am—on cleaning, laundry, freelance work, organizing, cooking/freezer meals—that we stay home all day so that I can get things done. Only the Rowdy boys sure know how to mess up a house when we’re home all day. The floors are soaked, muddy and covered in food. Actually, that’s every day.

I have to constantly remind myself that everything will never be done. There will always be more to do. This is why I should live in the moment more…instead of playing with my boys while meal planning in mind, instead of reading them a book while mulling over my to-do list, instead of lecturing them for jumping on the couch while I’m folding laundry a few feet away. My desire is to be more mentally present for them, even if in small chunks throughout the day. I have no idea how I’ll get everything done in a given week, but my time is God’s time, and His math is never wrong.

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These thoughts have piqued my interest in minimalism the past couple months, though living in a consumer-driven world, I have to remind myself daily that even though everything is at my fingertips, I don’t need everything. Our toy-filled playroom serves its purpose on rainy or cold days, but half the time the Rowdy boys have wrecked it in less than 10 minutes. I’ve considered redoing our playroom with a Montessori-style approach, where toys are fewer, simpler and more stimulating, and everything has its place.

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Soon after these swirling thoughts began, James mentioned the idea of a family RV trip a year or so from now. At first thought, I was terrified of living with three young kids in such a tiny space, but the idea has really grown on me. I’m enamored with the idea of living with less and exploring at will. We’ll see how the next year pans out, but regardless, this idea is now on my bucket list.

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Until this little dream takes fruition, we’ll continue to fill our summer with countless trips to our neighborhood pools, local lake beaches and the grandparents’ lake setup while it’s too hot to do most anything else.

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I joined a local branch of a hiking group (Hike It Baby) and am loving getting the kids outside and moving, discovering new places and befriending like-minded moms and kids. Fresh air rejuvenates the soul. It reminds me that toddler tantrums don’t last forever and God’s grace covers all, even the mom who is short on patience trying to mother Rowdy boys.

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Loving three kids is quite easy, but disciplining is hard. As soon as you learn an effective discipline approach that works for your child, along comes No. 2 to give you a run for your money and throw any past techniques out the window. I lack patience and kindness with my Rowdy boys. And, once I regain my wits, I have to ask for His forgiveness and theirs, as I reach for the outstretched hands of God’s grace. And then the cycle happens again the next day, and the next, and the next.

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This mothering thing is no joke. I can only pray that I’m raising these Rowdy boys to be good men, hoping that I’ve done enough by the time they fly the coop. And our tiny princess? Maybe, just maybe she’ll skip the tantrum phase.