Finding a Summer Rhythm
I love routines, quiet and solitude. With these conditions, I thrive. And then summer comes and I feel all topsy-turvy.
It is a true privilege to have warmer days, more daylight hours and a bit more breathing room in our schedule. Likewise, I am very blessed to be able to set my own working hours and be with my children during the summer days. I need to remind myself of this good fortune as I look for a rhythm in our ever changing summer schedule.
Summer calls for rhythm over routine. A little less structure and a lot more flow. For my family, the days and weeks of summer vary wildly. Some days we have activities or appointments scheduled. Some weeks there are day camps or Vacation Bible School (VBS). Everything seems to start and end at different times. Then, there are days of travel and changing time zones. Rare is the peaceful day at home. Even when we are at home, peaceful isn't the word that comes to mind. My kids are lively and loud. I remind myself this also is a good fortune and a blessing.
As my children grow older, our summer rhythm is changing. The oldest has aged out of being a participant at VBS and, with some coaxing, moved into a volunteer role. Likewise, said child has become too old for some day camps. Instead, it's weekly tutoring, music lessons and physical activities. All of which, require a driver and break up our days, leaving me with small chunks of time that can easily be frittered away looking at a smartphone.
Ever hopeful, teaching my kids life skills is added to the summer agenda as well. I ramp up the list of household chores and introduce new skills, which eventually become daily habits. This just might be the summer that I teach my kids to do laundry or convince them to minimize their possessions. Ask me how that went come September.
In order to give myself some sense of balance among the lack of a regular routine, I am increasingly intentional about my use of time and self care. Following David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, absolutely everything that needs to get done is written down and categorized in my planner. This frees up my mind to be more present with my kids, or at least be patient enough not to shout at them. These categorized lists of action items, also allow me to tackle small tasks during the previously mentioned bits of time and larger tasks when the kids are scheduled to be out of the home for the day.
Being more present and patient with my family is an ongoing intention. It comes easier when I feed my soul first. In addition to the ways I mentioned in my post from February, I am basically treating myself like a small child this summer: going to bed before it's dark, getting up before dawn, following my morning routine, eating on a regular schedule and being active outside as much as possible. For the occasional late night (which isn't really that late) I will sleep past sunrise or nap or eat ice cream. Ice cream solves just about everything.
Through it all our home remains clean and tidy. The simple routines to keep it that way can be squeezed in between all of the activity. If you would like to learn my "Secrets to Maintaining a Clean and Organized Home" please join me on July 26, 2019 at Ann Arbor Rec and Ed. There are a few spaces remaining and I would love to see you!
P.S. Still working on the organizing retreat for fall 2019. Please let me know what skills you would like to learn!