Finding perspective in the dog days of summer (and parenting)

This originally appeared in the pages of the July 2016 issue of Simply Family Magazine. Check out the digital edition, here

With just a month left of summer break, it seems as though we’re faced with two realities:

  1. The official downhill slide of summer vacation.
  2. Refrains of “I’m boooooored! There’s NOTHING to do!” gaining momentum.

Ahhh, so what’s a parent to do as the dog days of summer take over and we lose anything resembling perspective regarding these precious, patience-breaking young ones ruling our worlds? Surely as your eye starts to twitch, and we contemplate taking all of the “nothing” away and sending it off to far more appreciative children, someone posts something like this:

I’ve seen this image bandied about on Facebook for quite some time, and every time I see it my heart sinks a little closer to my toes. Every time - after I’ve sarcastically muttered to myself, “Thanks for that,” the guilt starts sinking in…

  • I’m not doing enough
  • I am wasting, WASTING these precious days
  • Boy…Patience...That would have been good today
  • Stinkin' real life, making parents miss crucial memory making moments since forever
  • Electronics, now there’s a time suck…Boundaries, Limits! that’s what we need!
  • *Sigh*

But before all the guilt really bogs down, there’s another great truth about this parenting gig:

Isn’t it true that we can be counting down the minutes to bedtime, but the second they’re tucked away our hearts ache for wanting to see their sweet (please, stay sleeping) faces? The truth is, it’s okay not to bask in every moment of parenthood, but it’s just as true that every once in a while we need a reminder to savor the little things. To stop and take it all in. Because one day, before we know it, we’ll be living in the land of the empty nest and I for one will long for interruptions like the one that came while I was writing this:

My girl and her cousin counterpart wanted permission to take, and I quote, “these bowls, fill them up with water, and pretend we’re dogs drinking out of them on the floor? We’ll have mat things underneath them!” They earnestly informed me. I love these moments, even if they derail my train of thought, I (often) miss these interruptions during the school year. I live for the random squeezes, ponderments, and questions that are volleyed my way during these summer days.

In parenting you never know when one moment is the last of its kind...Let’s make ‘em (most of them a lot of them, anyways) count!