Parents.....we've seen this on social media and pinterest, and you've heard it spoken to you....and if you're like me you cringe every time, your stomach knots up and you want to curl up in a ball and cry out "whyyyyyyyyyy" .
Now.....We realize we're not naïve, we KNOW our children are going to grow up, hah! We didn't become parents and think "I can't wait to have them little FOREVER", but it's hard to grasp right? As much as we want our children to escape difficult stages in their growing up years we also don't want to rush time, ideally I would like my kids to stay young, we often joke with our kids that we are going to walk around with something heavy on their heads so they don't figuratively "grow up". But to be honest, as sad as it is to imagine them growing up and becoming adults and moving out I also look forward to watching them grow, watching who they become, watching them discover the things that bring them joy and all the friendships they will form and the love they will find.
So until then we strive to live each day to the fullest and be intentional in all that we do.
These are our people, The kids we are fortunate to raise, teach and love each day. They challenge us, they push our buttons, but most of all they teach us patience and what the true meaning of unconditional love really is.
We have had an insane year and a half of moving, living with my parents, building our home, Living in our RV, all while trying to keep a sane house, happy kids, solid fun marriage and a God centered mission of simplifying our lives. phew!! I wouldn't trade the last 18 months for anything, but boy am I excited to be settled into our new home and slooooow down. oh, and I have GOT to get better at saying "no" to things!!!
It's August and I'm counting down the days we have left of "summer vacation". I've done this thing the past 3 years called "End of summer parent guilt" you know......the guilt of not doing all the things. The beach trips, the park days, getting ice cream, sleepovers.....and the list goes on. In the years past I didn't just feel guilt but I suddenly felt like a horrible mother. How silly I was!! I know you've felt the same guilt too which makes me feel better, but when June came and the kids had their last day of school I decided I was going to do things differently. Yes we still made our "Summer bucket list" as the kids love to do, we decided whatever we couldn't do BEFORE school starts we could do those things another day!! for instance......Crazy Shakes at our local bakery could be a reward for an awesome report card! Rock climbing could be done on a rainy Saturday afternoon in the fall;) realizing those things gave me some breathing room and our intentional focus this summer has been this: Commit to less. Read more. Cook together. Learn responsibility through chores. Take the kids on individual dates. Garden together and simply make memories. Yes some of the fun things on our "Summer bucket list" have been checked off and we are getting ready to embark on our annual road trip to Florida but looking at our summer and the things we didn't get to, I can say I am satisfied:)
No more guilt for this Mama because I CHOSE to make a simple shift in our days and live each day intentional. To me that meant waking up and slowly starting our day.......Coffee in hand, snuggles on the bed with the little ones who enjoy waking early;) The kids did daily chores, and as long as I had a few hours of time spent working my personal jobs, working on the house or unpacking, we made time for a few hours at the pool, the park, at a friends, or the summer dollar movies!
As we approach a new school season, and new routines, I can say I am looking forward to having a schedule! Am I looking forward to my kids being gone at school? not hardly. Am I ready for my 5 year old son to start Kindergarten? nope! most days I ignore that it's about to happen or I just cry;) But this goes back to our children growing up.....It has to happen, we have to let it happen and we have to learn to enjoy each day to the fullest.
so....Instead of focusing on the amount of summers we have with our children, I'm focusing on EACH DAY. Yes those big planned out trips are so fun......but do you know what I remember the most from my childhood? I remember my dad taking me out for breakfast, or when he would pick me up from school the year before I got my drivers license and take me to the same gas station for sunflower seeds:) Those are the things I remember and cherish......even helping my momma in the garden are times I will never forget. It's the little things.......Kids are so simple! so I'm simplifying my parenting!
Maybe you are a stay at home mom or dad, maybe you work full time or part time.....whatever you do, never feel guilt and focus on the little things that bring joy and memories to your children. Maybe its that you let them help you cook dinner one night, or read your grocery list at the store. My big girls love to flip through my favorite cookbooks and meal plan for the week (which is a very new thing to me ever since we lived in our RV and had a Barbie sized refrigerator, hah!) but you know what? I really love it and I think I will enjoy sticking to a meal plan through the fall. we love doing themed meal days. Breakfast Monday, Taco Tuesday, and our favorite is pizza on Fridays with a family movie!
I've always admired my husband and his goal to spend time with our kids individually......He loves taking them on "dates" :) sometimes it's a movie, sometimes its out to dinner, and other times its driving 5 minutes down the road to the sheetz gas station for a donut;) He is doing something so simple, yet to our kids they feel so special having one on one time. Those are moments they will never forget and I appreciate him so much for making it happen! So remember, you do not have to make big plans, break the bank or travel far! Maybe you have a great local bakery, or a park you can take a hike at, maybe you can pack a picnic and go fishing;) whatever you do.....do it! make it happen! drop those "to do" lists parents, because you know what? your children won't remember how clean you kept your kitchen or if your linen closet was organized. they WILL remember the moments you thought of them and took time out of your day to get to know them better:)