Two or is it three? weeks into summer, and we still have not exactly found our rhythm. And unlike summers in the past, there is no camp or trip to Nana and Poppa's to look forward to. (shhhh, I haven't broken the bummer news on that last one yet.) Going into summer, I had just one or two expectations, (or so I thought), of being relaxed with the kids and just hanging out around the pool, combating my workaholicism. I even talked with a friend about helping one another plan fun things to do.
So far, it has been anything but relaxed. I have found myself totally on edge, snapping at everyone, frustrated with myself, and downright angry with the kids. I am appalled by my own behavior, alternating between making excuses and making lists for myself. "How's the workaholic thing going, Vanessa?" I would say kinda lousy.
Finally, in a sit-down with Robb (punctuated by at least 4 interruptions), it starts to clear up for me. I'm a work-at-home mom and I just added three people into my life and routine. And then I wondered why it wasn't working. Duh. I failed to adjust my expectations. Summer means kids, pool and garden need my attention now too. It's no wonder I was angry and on edge. I've been trying to do too much.
I've been reading Geri Scazzero's book "I Quit." Geri is Peter Scazzero's wife and co-writer of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book that Robb and I read last summer and then studied as a church together at Vintage this year. I'd like to have coffee with Geri. Actually, I would have liked to have coffee with Geri when I was 25. That would have been really helpful. Last night I was reading her chapter on Anger, Sadness and Fear. It seems so elemental, but she wrote, "Through anger, God may help us discover what we really want, get us to pay attention to even deeper emotions, help us identify unmet expectations and sometimes, see the folly of our sin."
I was annoyed with myself for being angry. It didn't match with what I wanted to be this summer. I felt defeated by my emotions as I saw myself pushing Robb and the kids away by my brusque attitude. I could feel myself slipping further and further into a negative quicksand that I couldn't seem to escape.
Now what? Well, I'm blogging. That's healthy. I'm having coffee with a friend...my first time to get out of the house alone since....um....I can't remember exactly. I've asked Robb to make dinner a couple of nights a week and help with menus to help shoulder the load of feeding my three charming Bottomless Pits three times a day. And I've made a schedule for the days that helps me keep track of what I need to accomplish daily. And we realized how much we have missed our family morning prayers since school ended, so we're trying to have them in the evening now. Probably the biggest difference, though, is recognizing unrealistic expectations.
So I'm curious about other work-at-home moms and dads. How are you managing your summer work-load?