Monday, June 13, 2016

5 Things To Do This Summer

The first week of summer is officially over... and I'm sitting here wondering what in the world I've accomplished.

I am a list person by nature - if I don't have a numbered, prioritized reminder of what I need to do each day, I feel ridiculously lost and unproductive.  Along the same lines, I really like setting goals.  And while my track record for actually completing said goals is debatable, the satisfaction of having made them in the first place is enough to make me feel like I'm doing something with my life.

So, here we are, a new season of life has begun (summer, stay-at-home-mom-ness), and I am feeling the urge to sit down and list my life away.  Usually my to-do lists and goals end up being an exhausting exercise in micro-managing my time and resources, so instead of trying to overcomplicate things, I've come up with just five things "to do" this summer, in no particular order...

1. Have Fun: So obvious, right?  I think most mothers of young children would agree, though, that sometimes you forget about having fun when every day is the same old-same old.  I remember last summer I became so weary of the daily monotony - morning jog, make breakfast, clean kitchen, laundry, clean something else, make lunch, nap time, laundry, clean something else, errands, make dinner, bath, bedtime, clean kitchen.  I was not very good at allowing myself to have fun each day, to enjoy the time I had with my baby boy.  It was still a great summer, but especially now that Jackson is older (almost 2!), I am realizing that there needs to be a little element of fun, big or small, every day.  The park, the pool, the splash pad, the library, the zoo.  A museum, an aquarium, an adventure somewhere new.  Making meals together, reading books together, playing with cars, blowing bubbles, building block towers and knocking them down, running around in circles (literally - he makes me run around the house with him), jumping on the bed.  For both of us, we need to have fun - not the overly-planned, super-elaborate, Pintagram-worthy kind of fun, but the ordinary, regular, natural, easy kind of fun.

2. Stay Active:  Last summer, Jackson and I went on a 2-mile jog first thing almost every morning.  Then school started.  Then I got pregnant.  Then school ended.  A + B + C = no exercise.  And yes, I am still pregnant, and oh, we are moving in about two weeks, but at some point the excuses have to stop, right?  If I can get in at least 30 minutes of some sort of physical activity each day, I'll be happy.  Even if it means 30 minutes of chasing after my child who has yet again run away from me (true story).  

3. Eat (Real) Food:  About three months ago, I simply gave up on making dinner for my family.  With the stress of teaching, being pregnant, buying a home, taking care of baby, and dealing with life, something had to go.  So making dinner went.  It was worth it to out-source that one meal if it meant I didn't have to worry about standing in front of the open fridge for ten minutes at 6:00 every night, wondering what in the world I was going to feed three hungry people.  So we learned to embrace take-out.  Now that school is over and I am not away from home for 10 hours a day, I don't really have an excuse not to provide some sort of nourishment that doesn't come from a box or a bag for my loved ones.  So having, preparing, and eating real food is a goal for me this summer.  Silly, I know, but when you consider that grocery shopping is my least favorite activity in the world (second only to folding and putting away laundry), this is going to be a challenge for me.  (And by food, I don't mean the overly-planned, super-elaborate, Pintagram-worthy kind of food, but the ordinary, regular, natural, easy kind of food.  Dinner staples in our house are hamburgers, chicken tacos, and pasta w/ meat sauce.  I have learned from bad experience that if it takes more than 30 minutes to make a meal, no one is happy.  Especially the one making it.)

4. Create Me Time:  This is really hard for me.  I forget to schedule/ask for/insist on/require/plan for time to take care of myself, and so I usually end up resenting others (husband, baby) for the perceived unfairness of never having time for my needs/wants.  Along the same lines of remembering to have fun every day, I need to remember to create my own me time. 10 minutes of reading a book just for fun, a quick power nap in the middle of the day instead of doing the dishes, not feeling guilty for playing a round of Two Dots while baby plays by himself, a pedicure once a month, 30 minutes spent learning something new (really want to experiment with bullet journaling, would love to finally figure out how to use my nice camera).  Above all, not feeling guilty for admitting that I can't do it all, that someone else needs to take over and handle the house, the child, the meals - I just need some time off.  (The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner is a great reference for this kind of self-care.)

5. Don't Stress: Hmmm, maybe I should have listed this one first.  We just bought our first home and are in the middle of what has now turned into quite the remodel (new paint, new trim, new lights, new flooring, new doors, new pantry and laundry room).  We are supposed to be moving out of our current house and into the new one in two weeks.  I am about 30 weeks pregnant.  My 2-year old constantly runs away from me in public places (just yesterday at Wal-mart, no joke, he ran from the food aisles all the way to the opposite end of the store to the sporting goods section as I waddled behind him, softly yelling at him to stop, which he never did).  I am facilitating two sections of an online basic writing course for BYU-Idaho (20+ hours of work per week).  Stressing out comes fairly natural to me, so yet one more challenge.  I might need to have this tattooed on my forehead...

Or I just need to remember to have fun.  Which includes lots of "jump-a, jump-a!" on mommy's bed.