FEELIN’ THE NEED–to reach out into cyber space and hook arms with some fellow mommas right now…’cause summer, she’s upON us. And let’s be honest, she’s a mixed bowl of farm stand cherries—some sweet, some straight up sour. The question is, how are we to maximize the bliss while putting up with the pits?
Ah, summertime…most glorious of seasons, when the schoolhouse spits out its captives, sunshine warms the earth and all the people say “Amen!” Families frolic, unfettered by responsibility, and the only agenda is to dream the day away on a pool float, sun kissed and stressed-less.
Room to breathe. Time to play. Truly, I look forward each year to this idyllic time with my children…until it’s NOT so idyllic. Because eventually the novelty fades, things become altogether too roomy, and the family’s left staring at each other.
And then, the great American pastime commences—no, it doesn’t involve a ball and a bat (at least not used in the traditional sense), but slanderous words slung; the players, under-stimulated children, grown tired of summer lazin’ (already?!?!?!?). And the ref? Well, that would be mother-dearest. Lord, have mercy.
Brace yourselves, mothers–for summer vacation has descended. Let me go ahead and dissect this reality for you: the team’s bored. Stiff. It’s time to pull out that ol’ beach bag ‘o tricks–and not only to keep the natives entertained.
A mama’s GOT to keep the peace.
Lest my words savor of bitterness, I’ll go ahead and confirm your suspicions…with the soaring temps, my blood’s been set a-boiling daily by my own precious offspring–leaving me groping for coping mechanisms.
I saw my usually bright-eyed, enthusiastic friend at my daughter’s volleyball camp last week, looking a little haggard. We hugged, and I shot her a knowing glance.
Me (authenticity, or bust): “Are your kids fighting like crazy, too?”
Her: (Sigh.) “YES. I completely lost it in the car this morning. I never do that.”
Me (gaping): “Seriously?!?!? Wow–that’s GREAT!” (Truly inspired. Mental note: Hang with this girlfriend more.)
Her: “Well, I used to be the yelling mom, but I’ve really been working on it. But seriously, it’s like EVERY word that comes out of their mouths is fighting!”
Me: “I know, our house is a warzone too—it’s brutal. Happens at the beginning of every summer, so I just expect it now. Every mom I’ve talked to is in the same boat. It’s survival mode, ‘til everyone adjusts.”
Her (countenance brightening with relief): “Oh, thank you for saying that! That makes me feel better!”
I wanted to kiss her cheek, give her a shoulder rub, and bring her a meal in that single moment. Because, I got her–equally worn by my own darlings’ drama. We women crave commiseration–we’re born for doing this life together; encouraging each other through the hills and valleys (and crazy-making summer breaks).
And it’s not just a matter of craving—we need regular fillings of friends’ empathy to get us through. Case in point: just WHAT can make a weary woman crankier than a pack of bored children thundering down the stairs with a whiny chorous of “Mo-oooooom, SHE (fill in the blank)!!” Followed by an impassioned, “BUT HE (fill it)!!!” Knowing there’s another exasperated mama out there suffering similarly brings a breeze of relief—it just seems to soften the bellowing. A bit.
Oh, the tattling; the endless discord…it adds years to our lives, and baggage under our eyes. What’s more, it grieves a mama’s heart to watch her peaceful home deteriorate at the hands of her young ones, ripping into each other with serrated words.
At a cadence of CONSTANT, no less. Like a plague of thirsty mosquitoes…
Ain’t NO mama got time for that.
(Up next, I bring you the way back to bliss! Visit the blog tomorrow for The Bummer in Summer, and the Way Back to Bliss, Part 2)