With spring flowers blooming, the temperature rising, and the grass getting greener, spring has certainly sprung. And, summer is right around the corner. It is a great time of year for getting outside, enjoying warmer weather, and lighting the BBQ.
Spring brings change. There is a video going around the internet about May being “Maycember”, and this certainly seems to ring true. Despite the opportunity for family outings, hikes, farmer’s markets or beach trips, everyone’s energy still seems tense. There is a hectic nature to the schedule of May. As the school year comes to a close, parents are left trying to organize their summer schedules, attend recitals, shows, and end-of-the-year parent teacher conferences.
In New Jersey, children have also just finished standardized testing, so their stress levels are higher, and they are itching for summer break and a chance to break free from the schedule.
I want to urge you to take a break, enjoy the family and say no to the ‘chaos’. But sometimes, it’s just not a possibility. Sometimes you have to ride out the chaotic wave, hoping for a break in the schedule to catch your breath before the next wave hits. It is times like this where parental self-care is so hard to maintain, but is so important.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that May and December are also the busiest times of the year for our practice. Parents are calling for help with navigating their child’s behavioral spikes, anxiety, school avoidance, or mood disturbances. I truly feel that children respond to what is around them, and they can sense the upcoming change, the stress of their teachers, the impending schedule shift, and the overwhelming feeling of going from game, to practice, to concert and back again.
In my home, the same chaos ensues. My children stop listening; I find myself more irritated and short with them. In the crazy moments of managing day-to-day life, I forget to take my time, to take care of myself, and I become angry, burnt out and exhausted. Those are the times when I try to go to bed a little earlier, come up with a plan to schedule in some time with friends or family, go for a hike, or hit the gym. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking 10 minutes to eat a salad sitting down, and not standing up chewing bites between phone calls and children screaming.
It’s important to remember that this time is not forever, and that when you are able, you need to hit the reset button, and allow that to reset your family time as well. Maybe this looks like a family movie night, or a dinner out. Perhaps you have always wanted to do a game night, or spend a Sunday catching up on chores at home. Whatever this looks like for your family, I urge you to schedule some downtime, to rebalance and reset, because your energy does affect the energy of your children.
Start planning some fun activities or a summer bucket list. What are some things you would like to add to your life or things you would like to get done? What do you wish you could do together as a family but just haven’t made the time for? When we look forward to what is to come, it can help get us through the stressful times. There is light at the end of the tunnel… and it’s called SUMMER!