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Thursday, October 9, 2014

That One Summer I Forgot How To Be A Mom

By the time the last day of school came around this year I was insanely excited for summer. No more homework, getting the kids up early, forcing them to eat a nutritious breakfast, and dragging them out the door to school. I was ready for summer! I bought a new pool for the backyard, I had new patio furniture and a porch swing. Bathing suits and summer clothes and sunscreen were all ready to go. I even pulled off a fantastic last day of school party with the neighborhood kids. The last day of school was a wonderful day full of promise of fun for the next three months. And then it all came crashing down around me. I had been spoiled during the school year, two kids in school everyday and the third going to preschool two days a week. I had time to myself for the first time in a long time and I found myself enjoying that peace and quiet. Summer break was not peaceful nor quiet. It seemed like from the time the sun rose until it set my children were at each others throats, fighting and complaining all day long. They were bored and hot and hungry and grumpy and sick of each other in a matter of days. At first, I tried to tackle it head on. We went to the dollar store to make a "bored box", a box filled with activities to keep them busy. They went through the box in about a day and half and then it was no longer fun. I took them to the splash pad, the park, and the library but by the time we argued our way through getting ready, getting in the car, and driving to the destination, we were all too frustrated to have any fun. About two weeks in, I was done. I can't explain why exactly but I had lost my enthusiasm for full time motherhood, and I felt awful about it. I wandered around yelling at my kids and letting them have way too much screen time so I could sit and stare at the wall and wonder what happened to me.  I had always been very fulfilled being a mom. I really enjoyed taking care of them all the time, it was exhausting at times yes, but never before had I felt this worn out and completely clueless. I felt like I had forgotten how to be a mom. I spent most of the rest of the summer trying to make myself do outings and activities and salvage the summer, to make it the best summer of their lives. In the end, I realized two things: first, I was not in a good place. I wasn't happy so it was nearly impossible to be a great mom. I needed to stop worrying about my kids fighting, stressing about a messy house, and obsessing over gaining a few pounds. I needed to just be happy. The second thing I realized was: I am not perfect so I will never be a perfect mom or have a perfect summer. Things were changing, my kids were older and I was older. Things were not the same as they had been the summer before so I couldn't expect to have the same kind of magical summer I kept remembering from the year before. A friend of mine recently wrote in her blog about her season of life changing, her kids are getting older and things are so different than when they were babies. I feel the exact same way. The days of my kids being completely content, if not overjoyed, playing with a set of stacking cups is long gone. As our kids grow, their needs, wants, expectations, and attitudes change and we as mothers have to change with them. I think all that change finally caught up with me this summer. I had to erase all the thing I learned from the baby days and start over. I had to become a full time mother of an 8, 6, and 4 year old. The one constant in motherhood is change. Once you think you've mastered it, the rules fly out the window and you have to start all over again. Summer was over before I realized all of this. We had a crappy summer, with a few great highlights, but nobody died, not even me! My kids still love me and I still love them. Our family is happy and together and now I look forward to the changes going on in my life right now. I do love being a mom, it just took a long and grumpy summer to remember that.


  1. You put in to words so well what I think we all feel. Sorry it happened that way, but I'm glad not to be alone in this mom thing. Best of luck for another magical summer in a few weeks!

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