Celebrating Summer: Perspective Not Perfection but 3 ways to make it better

Today we’re kicking off an all-new series on TwoShadesofKraze.com – one I’ve been dreaming up for awhile, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. At the beginning of the year, I finally said yes to a nudging God’s had in my heart since we moved here, now 2 years ago, to use the blessing of our house to serve whoever He would send my way. I had no idea (still don’t) what I’m doing. What would I talk about? I can hardly keep my house clean enough for us to live here, much less have people over on a consistent basis! I relent and am embracing that obedience is more important than perfection. There’s nothing I love more than the connection and encouragement I pour into and receive from moms in different places and stages of motherhood. So… I started a mom’s group with this really great group of moms that God, no doubt, placed in my life. Every other week, we share brunch and an encouraging word around my dining room table. Here I’ll let you sneak a glimpse into the conversation and food we share…and with this series, I’ll uncover little entertaining secrets and what’s on the menu for each week, and we’ll call it Brunch with ME (Moms Encouragement). I can’t imagine a more fitting time to kickoff our first post than the first day of summer (ok, it’s officially the first weekend of summer now, but we’re not striving for perfection here, remember).

 

For as long as I can remember, summer has always been my favorite time of year. Summer meant lake days that lasted until the sun went down (in Texas that was until 9:30 at night), eating outside for almost every meal, beach trips, fruity drinks, a great tan… And one of my favorite days of the year, my birthday is smack dab in the middle of summer! More than anything, I’ve found myself being more spontaneous, free and positive during the summer, when I’m at my best.

For three very special reasons, summertime is a bit different now. The days are still long but some day are loooonng (I know you feel me mamas)

Let’s take a poll….

  • Are you the “Make it Monday”… “Water Wednesday” with an activity planned for each day kind of summer mom?
  • Or do you like to plan multiple activities (camps, trips, etc) over the summer but leave a little room for spontaneity?
  • Anybody like to keep summer wide open for 3 straight months of ‘who knows what we’re going to get into’?!

“Kenzi pre-kids” was person #3 – that was the life of being married, both working, no kids (we were the definition of DINKs – Double Income No Kids), so any free time we had, we were spontaneous and adventurous! Now with 3 children, there’s no way I’m going to step into 3 months of having no idea what the heck we’re going to be doing. Option number one would make me feel completely trapped by “Water Wednesdays” when I want to go to the beach on a Tuesday. As silly as that sounds, I know myself well enough that if I’ve chosen to implement this, I would feel so uneasy to stray from it. What’s best for me is right in the middle… planning as much as possible to know ahead of time how our weeks will be spent, but leaving enough freedom for days to spontaneously check off our summer bucket list.

No matter what works best for you, as moms, summer can be busy and complicated, exhilarating and exhausting…but I’ve learned that I can still be my best self by holding on to what I’ve always loved most about summer.

3 Things I’ve learned over 5 summers of motherhood:

Please know I’m sharing my own experiences, which will look different for each of you based on where you are in your journey and what works best for your family.

  1. Set expectations
    • Before your children can weigh in, set the expectations with your husband. He needs to know if you’re going to go mad if you don’t have at least one outing a week planned or something of the like. Once they’re old enough, give them boundaries and let them know what needs to happen/ not happen in order for you to not lose it have the best summer possible. A couple examples from our house: 1) After breakfast, take your plates to the sink, brush your teeth and make your bed. (I could and might do an entire post on the morning routine and why) 2) Put away the first thing before getting out another to play with.
  2. Write down fun things do as well as goals
    • This is the first year I was able to involve The Kraze in coming up with a list. I got my big white board and they each chose a color marker to represent themselves. I wanted to be able to keep up with whose ideas belonged to who, so everyone got an equal voice (talking over each other is a real struggle ) and I can be intentional about scheduling in their ideas as equally as possible. It was so much fun to hear their ideas, and my biggest takeaway is that kids don’t really ask for much. A few items included “pet cute puppies”,  “bake a key lime pie”and “meet a friend at the park” (ok, there are a couple “Disney World” and “SeaWorld”). See the full list in Stories.
    • Lists and goals keep me grounded, especially in such an unstructured season. This summer I wanted to be intentional about teaching them the important things like tying their shoes, hanging upside down on the monkey bars and reading. Yes, even teaching them to read. It’s so fulfilling to help them achieve something they’re proud of, plus, the intentional time is invaluable.
  3. Keep perspective
    • Summer is so fleeting – the days will become notably shorter and the kids will go back to school before we know it. I recently told my husband that I’m overwhelmed with the feeling that everything that annoys me right now are going to be the things I’ll miss.  These truly are the days… The days are long, the sun is shining, we’re all together, and they actually beg to wash your car for you.

 

Perspective not perfection

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This verse isn’t referring to special circumstances. God knows we we’ll spend a whole lot more of our time in ordinary moments than we will in the extraordinary ones.  Whether we’re at work, taking care of our children, talking with a friend, or even cleaning our house, it’s clear that WHATEVER we do and whatever we say…we are to do it and say it in the name of Jesus.

Over the summer, we’ll have way more ordinary days than special, planned out days and while we can talk about keeping perspective and giving thanks to God in all of it, I don’t believe that means we can’t feel human. “in the name of the Lord and giving thanks to God” doesn’t mean I’m to be happy in every moment of motherhood. Some days we’ll feel like super mom and some days we’ll feel like giving up… Some days we’ll be thanking God for every little moment and some days we’ll be thanking God that he’s there to lean on…  We can be grateful for these amazing blessings and be absolutely over it at the same time… if it were easy, if it were nothing but bliss, would we remember we need to lean on God – would we remember that our strength comes from Him and not our own power? 

Sometimes it’s ok to say “we’ll try again tomorrow” because God’s grace is new each day… with a few more hours of sunshine to enjoy your little ones!

 

Photo Cred: Southernboy Dishes

On the Menu

To maintain a no-pressure vibe, everyone brings a shareable dish if they’re coming, so we’re sure there’s enough food for everyone. 1) You make whatever sounds good and is doable for you 2) No biggie if you were up all night with the baby and you can’t get out of the door that morning

Drinks: Coffee (this will be the first thing you see on the menu every week – obviously a must with a group of moms) + a variety of creamers and sugar and OJ

Mozzarella, Tomato Bruschetta

Cinnamon Rolls

Banana Bread

Blueberry Scones

*Clearly everyone was feeling carbs this day!!

 

I’d love to know what summer plans you have with your kiddos??

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