This summer was a lot different for us than any other summer.
And at first I thought it was THE WORST.
In summers past I had nothing but time with my kids. We focused on lazy mornings, beach days, and outdoor adventures.
But not this summer. This summer was different. The kids and I all had a hard time wrapping our heads around it. I should be totally honest and say there were moments that I was kind of bitter about the whole thing which is kind of silly considering this was my choice.
Let me backup just a bit: for over 2 years I have had a part time gig outside of holistic health coaching that I love just as much. I have taught adult basic education for a local non-profit.
I love that gig.
And when they offered me a full time position, I couldn't say no.
But a full time position outside of my home was a huge change for the family and for me. When I accepted the new position I did so knowing there were be some bumps along the way.
I began my new full time position July 1st, right as summer began.
So there we were, kicking off summer by getting up earlier than they had during the school year, the kids seeing me less, and all of us adjusting to a brand new reality of a full-time working mom. (And yes, of course I am still coaching! Couldn't make me stop if you tried, haha!)
There were tears some mornings, sometimes at night. (From the kiddos and from me.)
I was sad about all of the things I was missing. I wondered more than once if I was doing the right thing.
My kids were super lucky to be able to spend the summer days with their generous and fun aunt who planned fun-packed days at the snap of a finger. I couldn't have asked for a better arrangement. But I still spent some time feeling bad and even grieving the end of how things used to be for us.
As moms I think we are pre-programmed to feel guilty ABOUT ALMOST EVERYTHING. And this new situation was no different for me. I had to pep-talk myself out of guilt and regret many times because ultimately I wanted this new gig. It came with adjustments to my home life but that is what life is about, right? Nothing stays the same, everything changes and being able to flow with those changes is key.
I could see all the adjustments as "sacrifices" but I refuse to go there.
Instead I decided (somewhere in the middle of the summer and bad feelings) to find all of the silver linings, all of the blessings, and all of the happy moments.
Life is what we focus on.
If I CHOOSE to focus on the hard parts of change the hardships will overwhelm me.
If I CHOOSE to focus on every precious moment this summer, those moments will carry me through.
Although those moments might be fewer this summer than they were in the past, guess what? They are just as precious to me and my children as well. When recently asked about a favorite part of the summer, my oldest could have chosen any of the adventures she has had this summer while I was as work: beach days, road trips, museums, zoos, aquariums, boardwalk arcades....
...but she named one of the days I was able to steal away with them, when we headed to a local amusement park, got caught in the rain and had ice cream for lunch. THAT one day stands out for her. It stands out for me too.
I learned a lot this summer about the power and importance of a gratitude mindset. Whatever it is that makes us think that guilt needs to be a part of everything should just back off.
I am shaking the guilt and embracing the gratitude.
I am endlessly grateful for all of the days I have had with my children this summer. I am grateful for all of the ups and downs and all the lessons learned. This summer might have had limited adventures for the first time ever, but if I can see it for what it is really worth, it makes all the difference.
Yup, motherhood is tricky. You don't have to navigate it alone. Join us in the Real Moms Collaborative, a free online community for moms. We support each other in healthy living, parenting, and lots of other things along the way.
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