Summer is filled with camps, travel, and a sort of free association with regards to scheduling. Kids love it because there is always something new and different to do each day. For me, I have mixed emotions about it.
I usually have about four weeks on my own, without Mina, each summer when she spends her vacation time with her father. On one hand, I enjoy being able to meet with friends at a moment’s notice or stay up late working, but it also just feels weird. There are times that it is hard to reconcile the need to be on my own with the fact that I am a mom without her kid. It feels like I have my shoes on the wrong feet.
Maybe I am boring, but I find peace in the predictability of planning our time, knowing what to expect, and having set routines to rely on. Shuffling between camps and not knowing how schedules will play out the following week make me feel like hyperventilating because I feel uncomfortable with the unknown. Life is handled on a week-to-week, sometimes day-to-day, basis. It’s hard to plan long term during the summer. Running from here to there, last-minute schedule adjustments, and the free-flowing concept of time hinders my ability to do what I need to do. Even the simple concept of getting to the gym is affected because camp drop-offs and pick-ups were at the exact same time as my kickboxing class. Summer became a symphony of extremes: Mommy time-off versus Mommy over-time. I become a yo-yo trying to balance it all.
With about one week left this summer, I am looking forward to regular schedules, a return to normalcy, and everyday routines. Having a 2-3 month block of time planned out between school, dance, aftercare, and parent schedules is a breath of fresh air. The foundation is set and I can plan.
As a Stay-At-Home-Mom-Entrepreneur, I set my agenda after looking at the foundational schedule of what our family needs. Having a set plan for pick-ups/drop-offs, etc. allows me the ability to block off chunks of time for me to get my stuff done. Once I have my stuff planned out, then I can check in with others to see how they need to be supported in the upcoming week. Layers upon layers of important dates and appointments set down in my calendar create security for me and I can begin to relax.
Being able to plan out my time helps me to move forward and be productive. It prevents me from spiraling down from feeling overwhelmed and helps me be a better mom and partner. When I can’t plan, life seems to pile up and exhaust me to the point that I can’t get anything done, even if I have the time. Maybe this all seems too rigid, but I have learned to be flexible when necessary. As a single mom, trying to rebuild her life from the ground up, moving from summer into a new school year brings me a sense of order that I need to maintain momentum toward my goals.
There is always a bit of sadness at the end of the summer when the kids go back to school. My Mina is getting older and time flies so fast! Wistfully, I wish I could just sweep her away for the summer and go somewhere exotic to explore where there are no camps, no running around, no work, no family – just Mama and Mina time. It will happen … one day. It’s on my long-term plan to do that, so I smile as I slowly say goodbye to another summer.