Disclaimer: Although this piece is geared toward women, I do understand there are many men that may also relate to the thoughts presented here.
EarlyAutumn: A chill begins to descend as the daytime wanes and the trees begin to shed their leaves. We take inventory of our childrens’ clothing and footwear, peruse Pinterest for Halloween costume and home decor ideas. We may get the slow cooker out so our families come home to hot meals.
The notices from school come in: fall conferences, concerts, supply lists, parent organizations. We try to keep up on our childrens’ needs after working all day and attempt to have a healthy meal ready to share with whomever we live with. There are sporting events and activities to dash off to. We may have time for a bubble bath or work out at day’s end, but oftentimes our beds call out to us before that occurs.
School fundraisers begin. We call upon our friends and relatives to buy magazine subscriptions or trinkets they really do not want or need. Classroom teachers request volunteers and there are Halloween costumes to make or buy. Our homes may need winterizing, the autumn rains bring in muddy footprints, we have bills to pay, organizing to do and it is time to begin planning holiday gatherings. Meanwhile, the kids may be coming down with viruses and we may be losing pay to stay home with them.
As moms, we take this all in stride and the rewards of a happy family are worth all the extra effort. It seems we are always on the go and the demands and requests are supplied endlessly. We pat ourselves on the back for a job well done or lament that we could not fit everything in.
We just finished up with either hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, or visiting loved ones throughout the day. Even if we did not host, there were extra errands and cooking to do to make this a memorable day of thanks. Chances are many enjoyed football on television, board games or visiting while the people that did all of the cooking are now doing the clean up.
With Thanksgiving over, it is time for holiday shopping, baking,decorating and cleaning. We scour the ads for good deals, stand in lines, decorate, stay up all hours looking for perfect gifts online, plan parties, attend parties, and may even make homemade gifts. There are usually extra activities at church, synagogue or mosque, cookie swaps, craft fairs and fundraising drives for the less fortunate.
Every year there is a new electronic or toy “all the kids” want that we “must” supply to our children. We envision our families delight as they open gifts for the holiday we celebrate. Most of the time, we are successful in creating a happy day for our loved ones. The children play with their new toys and our partner relaxes while we do clean up. Usually, we are fine with carrying the holiday workload, as that is what generations of mothers and grandmothers have done before us.
Late Winter/Early Spring
The magic of the holiday season has worn off. Depending on where we live, we have been sunshine deprived and are weary of driving on ice and scraping off car windows. The kids are getting bored and we are feeling cranky. We may try to immerse ourselves in a good book or movies to escape, but those fleeting times are peppered with “Mom..can you…? Honey…can you…?”
The air is less chilly and signs of new life are appearing outdoors. We feel hopeful and are looking forward to walks, biking, swimming and picnics. If Christian, there is Easter to plan for. There is more mud to contend with, spring cleaning, new clothes to buy and the kids have spring school activities. By this time, we have established an ebb and flow, so it feels less hectic than the beginning of the school year.
With summer’s arrival, the main concern is childcare if our kids are school aged; yet too young to be left alone. We plan vacations, family visits and picnics. The past year flew by quickly and summer goes by way too fast, We try to cram in as much fun as we can.
There seems to be a pattern moms/parents/nurturing women follow. We go through the day trying to make sure life flows smoothly for our loved ones. If we are empty nesters, we may still be acting as the the “glue” that holds family together: hosting holidays, caring for parents, and still acting as the primary housekeeper in our partnership. Our earlier patterns may be continuing.
Who said you have to be the one that holds it all together for family? Ponder this for a moment.
If it brings you joy to do all of the things discussed earlier, great! Keep on doing it. If you feel stressed or worn out most of the time, most likely you are becoming a robotic woman. How do we change that? Do you feel stuck?
Now, let’s go back to the earlier question: Who said you have to be the one that holds it all together for family? I think the answer is : ourselves. Stop telling yourself lies! We are not responsible for another’s happiness. Happiness comes from within!
Practice using the word No, take time to play, lock the bathroom door when you take a bath, schedule a spa day, meditate, take a fun class, demand an hour of uninterrupted time, let the deli do the cooking for your events, ask for help, take shortcuts, have fun! The world will not come to a halt if you do these things!
One thing I do to for healthy meals on the go is enjoy delicious bars called Life Bars. They fill me up and on especially hungry days, I enjoy with a handful of nuts.