Jared told me recently about some article he read about a mother who won a mother of the year award (the fact that Jared read this article, remembered so many details, and told me about it makes me worried). Anyway, mother-of-the-year has a “system” that he tried to tell me about, but I tuned him out (I mean, what IS he trying to tell me?!). Something about spiritual, educational, physical, musical experiences for each of her many children each day. Lately, I have been contemplating summer and I’ve read a bunch of blog posts by moms who are full of amazing ideas. Setting up “school” at home for the summer. Or a new letter/number for everyday of the summer with corresponding foods, etc… Or cute ways to display your goals for the summer.
Flashback for a second… I remember being a kid on summer break: I am bored, I play outside, I tease my brother and sister, I bug my mom, I read, I go back outside. Maybe we go to the lake and swim now and then or to the library.
Another flashback, but make it say, 100 years ago. What would a mother of four children think about summertime? Is she coming up with a theme for each week complete with a list of books to check out at the library and a corresponding field trip? I doubt it. She has work to do. Feeding, cleaning, teaching, loving – not just in her family, but her church and community families too. Funny, I have all those things to do too. Sure, the microwave and washing machine lighten my load, but the world seems in need of more loving and teaching these days so I think we balance out.
I know there are moms out there who have “systems” and love them, but let it be known that I am not in the running for mother of the year. I think that we make life harder for ourselves by inventing “systems” and placing new and extra expectations on ourselves. After a lot of thought on our summer plans, the verdict is… freedom! For the kids: freedom from homework and bus rides, freedom to play outside all day or curl up with a book all day, freedom to be bored. For me: freedom from someone else’s idea of a great summer, freedom to make my kids entertain themselves without me scheduling our every hour, freedom to focus on the basics of my job as mother, freedom to have fun with my kids doing whatever we feel like doing (or not).
PS – notice the cute apron I’m wearing in this random picture of me. My Aunt Martha made them for the ladies in the family for Mother’s day and I love mine.