Well, this Tuesday marks the official end of summer for me and my one last remaining kid. It’s the beginning of school. Where the heck did SUMMER GO?? Didn’t it just start?? Why is it that the older we get the faster time spins out of control and leaves us smacking our foreheads going “How did I get here?”
Summer is awesome in a lot of ways. I hope you enjoyed it.
One of the beauties of summer is that it comes with loosey-goosey schedules and a lot less structure and unclear boundaries around time.
We reschedule our normal routines in favor of vacations. We cancel our plans and adjust depending on what opportunities present to enjoy the summer with people we love. If you’re like me, you eat out more, spend more time outside, maybe stay up later, sleep in more, let your kids stay out later more often, etc. It’s nice for a while but the lack of structure starts to take a toll.
Fall brings with it a return to schedules.
For some of us this is tough. For others we feel a sense of relief for more predictable days. Personally I feel both! Part of me will miss having all the free time, part of me is excited to have a better structure and theoretically more time for things that are important to me that take a back seat in the summer.
This brings us to the topic of Boundaries. In summer we let our boundaries soften. We get more loose and free flowing. We don’t stick to our plans as much as in other times of the year. We tend to have softer boundaries with others too.
I have no idea, for example, what time my son came home from the climbing gym last night. “It’s summer, Mom! Who cares??” True. And climbing IS exercise. It’s not like he’s out partying!
Anyway, you get my point. But all this softening, while it definitely has its perks, (who doesn’t love the lazy days of summer??), it can really have a downside too. It can make us feel scattered and even more anxious and overwhelmed. It can bring frustration.
If you’ve had weeks home alone with your kiddos without structure, you could be feeling really burnt out about now. Perhaps in need of some “ME” time? Or maybe some “take my brain out of the box time” or even some “adult conversation time?”
This could be time to re-prioritize and re-evaluate your life so that it’s more fulfilling and more in alignment with what you really want.
I talked last week about how finding your most fulfilling life is really about having the self-love necessary to ask yourself “what do I want?” And giving yourself the time and space to explore what it is that brings fulfillment and even joy.
This week I want to talk about boundaries.
This is the practice of weeding out those things that we DON’T want. Boundaries require self-love as well, but it also requires honoring our time and our life over the lives of others.
As women, we are typically just terrible at doing that! For moms it’s even harder. We have been required to prioritize the needs of our kids in a way that we never had to before being moms. And we’ve done it for so many years now that it’s really hard to get out of that mindset!
I learned a hard lesson in this just this past week! My son came home from college and I literally dropped everything just in the HOPES that I could spend time with him! I felt like lovestruck high school girls waiting by the phone just in the mere hope that her crush will call! Remember those days?? Or am I the only one that used to do that??
I’m sorry to say, it’s no different now! I canceled appointments, got ready, made a cool plan and then was disappointed that the actual time together ended up being several hours later! I could have done my own stuff! The stuff that would have contributed to my well being, my fulfillment and even my bank account, but I am still prioritizing my kids needs (well, honestly it’s more MY need to be a mom) over the needs of my True Self.
I have told myself a million times in the past couple years to never to cancel MY plans for my kids. But I keep doing it! They are old enough to take care of themselves. They no longer need me to cancel plans in order to be available for them. When they were little, different story!
It would also be different if they were struggling with some challenge and really needed me to be there for them, but this was just to spend time together.
Even in the midst of writing this blog, I just did it AGAIN! My son called to say he’s swinging by to pick something up and instead of continuing to work, I hear myself offering to make him a cup of coffee, so he’ll stick around longer!! WHAT IS UP WITH ME??
Obviously, I value my relationship with my kids a LOT. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but at some point we have to get back to ourselves. For some moms this is easier than others.
Honestly, it’s a bit of a privilege to even be ABLE to prioritize my kids this much right? If I had a full time grind, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a blog on Friday afternoon at my kitchen table. I’d be workin for the man (or woman). Spending time with my son really couldn’t come first, even if I wanted it to.
I can’t be the only one who does this, right? Please tell me I’m not alone here!
Do you cancel your plans to be there for your kids? Do your kids really need you at these times or is it more out of your need to “be a mom” or just because you enjoy their company?
The role of parent is such an all consuming thing for so many years, that it is very difficult to let go of even when it’s no longer needed or at least not needed to that degree.
Of course my kids need me and they’d be pretty sad if they came home and I said “see ya.” But I think I’m definitely going above and beyond the needs of my kids in this role.
This is one reason that I’m launching this Back to School, Back to YOU program.
We’ve all gotten loose over the summer. We’ve all done some version of letting our own needs slide for either the good of our kids, the good of our families or the good of our partners.
Let’s get our groove back by prioritizing what fulfills us. Not to say we don’t get fulfillment from our families, of course we do!
But sometimes we go overboard and sacrifice our own needs in the process. This leads to burnout and a lot of grief when our kids, partners, families don’t do the same for us. It also makes empty nesting a whole lot harder.
So what can we do??
We can take time to focus on the inner journey. This is the essence of Back to School, Back to You.
This means setting aside time away from our phones and away from the constant demands of the day and spending time just getting reacquainted with ourselves. To do the things that spark our personal joy. For me, this includes recommitting to my meditation practice and morning routines. It means writing more, journalling more and taking the time to examine my life as it happens.
What does it look like for you?
As we dig in and start to prioritize ourselves, we often find that this is also a great time to set aside time to do a deep dive into all the feelings that are coming up for us in our lives as they are now. We begin to understand more about where our feelings, reactions, habits and limitations come from, and learn that we can transcend these things and truly create a life that we love. We find that our deepest suffering can be alchemized into deeper purpose and meaning, but we need to set aside time to do this. When doing these deep dives, I have always found working with a therapist helps as they provide a more objective perspective on my life and help me see my own blind spots.
So, it’s time.
Like it or not, summer is moving on and fall is coming fast. Don’t let anymore time pass you by. Make a decision to reclaim your boundaries and start your journey of self-love this year.
Join me for the journey by either participating in our Back to School, Back to You group experience (more details dropping soon), or let’s take a deeper dive and do some one-on-one work this fall.
If either of these sounds interesting and valuable to you, please reply (or comment) with Back to School, Back to You, or Deep Dive for more information.
I would love to help you along your journey and be your midwife to your midlife, as you give birth to the latest version of yourself whether that’s Self 2.0 or 13.0! We ALL keep evolving!