We are going on month two at our house and I can’t believe the summer is already halfway over. But I also feel like I can’t remember what life was like when I didn’t have a set of stairs separating me from my kitchen. Or a yard.
How did I ever live without a yard???
I’ll try not to get too used to it because we’re heading back to the city in September. In the meantime, I am going to try to make the most of my August.
Last summer, my friend Seri (who also has a house out here) and I made big plans to take full advantage of being away from the city. We said we were going to get sitters and go out at night. We said we were going to take the kids for picnic dinners on the beach every week. We said we were going to do work while sitting on lounge chairs with our laptops out by the pool.
But most of those things happened only once, if at all.
The thing is, I still work during the summer. Out of my home, which almost makes it harder. My day goes from camp drop-off to working at my kitchen table to Harlow’s camp pick-up at two to Mazzy’s camp pick-up at four. Then I try to get the rest of my work done while the kids play with Annie, but sometimes they can’t keep themselves happy when they know I am just in the other room. That means that on especially busy work days, I have to make sure I am out of the house when they get home.
In the evenings, it’s battling over dinner and bath time and trying desperately to get them to go to sleep. Then I have to shower at night so I can wake-up in the morning with plenty of time to pack lunches, pack camp bags, get everyone’s bathing suits and sneakers on and sunscreen fully slathered and then I’m out the door by 8:45am.
Yes, it’s summer but it’s no easier than the rest of the year.
Thankfully, as part of my participation in Aetna’s #takeamoment campaign, I’m reminded that I have to make a conscious effort to take a moment for myself. Take a moment with my husband. Take a moment with my friends. Take a moment with my parents.
One of the great things about being out here at the house is that we can have visitors. In the city, there is no room for house guests so we have to do all our socializing by going out in limited engagements. At the house, we can spread out our time with friends and family over an entire weekend.
My sister came over a few weekends ago and it was a blast. She has a three-year-old and an almost one-year-old and it was so amazing watching our kids all play together, creating more meaningful relationships with every passing hour.
I got to spend quality time with my niece and nephew too. I got to sip wine late at night with my sister while all the kids (including our husbands) were sleeping. We got to go to the beach and watch the kids laugh and run around in the waves.
As a kid, I remember the beach always being unbearably hot, but by the house, it feels like such a lovely relief from the hot temperatures. I love letting the water wash over my feet to cool off. I love seeing Harlow run in the sand and Mazzy jump the waves; their giggles louder than the ocean. Each year, I get less afraid that their little bodies will somehow get pulled off the shore by a large wave and allow myself to actually relax.
We have new friends that moved to our beach town this year and it has been an absolute joy hanging out at their house. We’ll sit around the pool during the day and then at the end of the night, the kids will go inside to watch a movie while the adults gather over grilled steaks and wine.
At Seri’s one Saturday, Mike lugged over a deep fryer and we fried wings in the driveway, drinking cheap wine on lawn chairs while our kids experienced their very first four person sleepover.
The next morning, the whole house woke up late. I think it was about 10am. We stumbled out of bed wondering if we were the last to get up but it turns out everyone got lucky.
Then we had pancakes and coffee and before we knew it, the kids were back in the pool while the grown-ups lazed around with nowhere else to be.
Their counsellors show up too, so often they will run around with the kids while the parents get to sit back on our lawn chairs and blankets.
Yes, it’s sad to see your babies grow up, but there are so many wonderful moments that come with it too.
For starters, you can let go of all the stress that comes with constant vigilance over your kids and trust they will be okay in the half second you aren’t completely focused on them.
Then you can actually enjoy a moment (or two) for yourself.
I’d love to hear how you #takeamoment! Leave a comment below and check out my new video for Aetna about mindful parenting:
I am working with Aetna for their #takeamoment campaign. This post is sponsored by Aetna, but all opinions expressed are my own. Aetna believes health is about the body and the mind. Stress can affect emotional and physical health – and reducing stress can boost holistic wellbeing. To learn more about mindfulness, visit aetnamindfulness.com.