No, not vacation. We are, instead, in the trenches of transition time. I knew this was coming – I have been slowly preparing myself for the coming transition and now it is here.
It feels like the trenches because, as is inevitable with transition times, everyone is adjusting to a new routine, feeling out new structures and schedules and getting used to a different sense of how we spend our days together.
I decided to prepare this time around. I came up with some summer expectations for morning jobs and chores, a built in quiet time each day for reading or other solo activities, a schedule for screen time and what needed to be done before screens could be considered an option. I made a point to leave plenty of wide open time for unstructured activities, outdoor time, family adventures.
Sounds good, right?
Well, the kids didn’t seem to think so. I spent our first day of summer vacation listening to complaints as to why structure was the last thing they needed in the summertime, complaints about the amount of chores they would be expected to do, negative comments about my need to be in charge and tell them what to do.
I was about ready to tell them all that they could retire to their bedrooms for the next ten weeks, and I would see them at the end of August when school was back in session.
I found myself getting angry and discouraged that we would all spend the summer arguing and being irritated with each other.
In the land of coaching, I might call this the “thistles and burrs perspective.” Poking and needling each other, being uncomfortable and stuck together, and unsure how to disengage and let the much needed air flow through.
So, this morning, I asked myself to find a new perspective. And I came back to that image of wanting the air to flow through. I asked myself, “What would ‘air flow’ look like?”
Air flow – it means breezy, fresh, light, airy. So what would our start to summer look like from there? It would mean getting out on our bikes. It would mean trying something fun like making lemonade, building a fort for the chickens, or telling jokes out under a tree in the shade. It would mean letting negative comments blow away in the wind, rather than latching on to them as something to be resentful about.
Just articulating these images has lifted me to a place of possibility. I am not naïve enough to think that the thistles and burrs are long gone. No, I’m pretty sure they are only a few eye rolls and grumbles away. But from a place of possibility, somehow they don’t seem quite so sticky and prickly.
Feeling my way toward this new perspective helps me to realize what I am prickly about. I am feeling protective of my time. I am anxious about how I’m going to continue to take time for my work now that the kids are home all day. I don’t want my work to become low-man on the totem pole.
Holding this new awareness gently, I begin to feel myself softening. I don’t need to be so hard on my kids. I don’t need to hold on to expectations of jumping right into summer w/ smiles and “sure, mom!” I can give them permission to feel things out, get a lay of the land, and try on summertime to see how it fits this particular year.
And I don’t need to be so hard on myself, either, to create the best summer for my kids and grow my business by leaps and bounds in the same moment. I can give myself permission to carve out time for myself, for writing, for walking, for making connections and coaching. And I can let go of some work expectations to enjoy moments of being fun and free with my family.
This isn’t a lesson in having my cake and eating it, too. It’s a lessen in letting the binds loosen, letting the air flow and letting love in.
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