The Fear of Summer: Romancing the Routine

mom, I spy your routine!

Summer evokes a mild case of panic in me.

Oh, sure, there’s the good stuff. Long, sunny days. Outdoor swimming pools. Vacation plans. Quality time with the kiddo. But if I learned anything in all my years of schooling, it’s that summer is synonymous with the loss of routine.

I was one of those strange children who didn’t like weekends. More at home with the rhythm and clear expectations of the classroom, I skidded toward summer break on a downward spiral. And I know I’m not alone.

We Type As like our routines. Changes in THE PLAN are exciting, but they can be frightening at the same time.

Maybe you’re not Type A. But maybe you’re a parent. Maybe—I’m guessing here, you and your children thrive on some semblance of structure.

Come on, moms and dads. Back me up on this. Doesn’t the thought of filling all those unstructured hours of your child’s summer vacation strike a wee bit o’ fear in even the bravest of super parent hearts?

Ridiculous, I know. Yet the fear of summer lingers. It nabbed me yesterday morning in yoga class. I like my yoga instructors Grace and Boomer. I’m comfortable in this routine, this respite from the stress of relocation, motherhood, and what to cook for dinner. I don’t want to give it up.

But how will I continue to do yoga when my son’s out of school for the summer? What will I do with him during class? Turn him loose to run wild through the YMCA? Sit him in front of the Wii for an hour? What if he wanders out to the pool alone? What if (insert catastrophe)?

runs with shovel

And how will I blog this summer? When will there be time? Who will read it? What about the other projects I want to pursue? What if I miss all the opportunities? What if I wake up in September and they’re ALL GONE? What if the world ends tomorrow? What if (insert catastrophe)?

The only way to roll with the changes is one step at a time. One season at a time. That’s why they usually don’t happen all at once. Thank You, Lord.

I’ll take a cue from yoga. Follow my breath. Put my shoulders back and down. Let myself feel grounded. Take a moment to be thankful for another day.

Then I’ll put on my sunscreen and forward march into summer.

The day is Yours, and Yours also the night;
You established the sun and moon.
It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth;
You made both summer and winter. Psalm 74:16-17 NIV

Dear Routine,
Though we’ve got to say good-bye for the summer, darling, I promise you this: I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter Sealed with a Kiss.

How do you roll with the changes in your routine?

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17 Responses to The Fear of Summer: Romancing the Routine

  1. D

    Hi there. I can easily agree with you and reading it just made me smile. Nice to know I am not alone on the thought that your daily routine that you got used too will be in a pause during summer. No choice, yet let your motherly instincts guide you to deal with it love and a smile.

  2. Joy

    Ha! Love this one. Me too. Except I try to create a school like routine at the house. More for myself than the kiddos. But pool time, that is daily. And I’m stoked for it :-)

    • We are a lot alike. The student in me has created a large poster for “Camp Whetstine”–an attempt to create the school like routine you mentioned :) Pool time daily is reason to be stoked. I need to put that into practice. Thanks for the comment, Joy!

  3. Betsy

    This must be why I’ve signed my kids up for lots of day camps this summer…not too many, but enough to fill up some of those long, hot weeks with a little temporary routine.

    • Hi, Betsy! Thanks for the reading and commenting. Excellent suggestion btw! I’m employing the help of several day camps too. They give children something to do plus time with other kids. And they give parents time to get something done.

  4. I’m not remotely Type A, nor do I have kids, but I dread those 4 weeks I’ll be out of school for the summer. Exactly because of the loss of routine. My husband works overnights, so when I don’t have something to ground myself to a daytime schedule, I skid back and forth between waking up at 4am, or going to bed at 4am….
    As a kid, however, I usually liked summers – my fencing club stayed open almost all the way through, so I fenced mornings and nights both, and every year I went to our big international camp (where I ended up meeting my husband).

    • Sounds like summer’s been good to you, Nusy!
      The swing shift bedtimes would throw me for a loop though. Maybe you could use those four weeks to write with abandon. Store up posts in the queue. Or you could just take it easy and store up energy for your next slate of classes, which would be fine too :)

  5. My kids are in the process of making lists of what they want to accomplish this summer. Once we get those goals “ironed out” this weekend, then we will be launched into summer as well :) They are involved in a lot of sports and chores on our farm which helps to keep them focused, but there is more down time in the summer and I think that it is important to teach them to manage this time effectively—a great life skill.

    As far as blogging during the summer—if writing moves you (as I suspect that it does), then you will find time for it. I love your verse today–thanks for sharing.


    • Anne, thanks for reading and commenting. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. I like your idea of having the kids set goals. It’s a good reminder for me to engage my little guy in doing that too. Wonderful suggestion to teach the life skill of time management, while momma practices it finding time to write!

  6. Elizabeth Whelan

    You are singing to the choir girlfriend!! My friends call and ask, “What are you doing”? Playing cruise director!! Plus, with an only child like you, things can get challenging at times. My neighbor up the street in pregnant with her fourth..she will have four ages 6, 4, 3, new born…she says she has it easier than me becasue the kids entertain each other. I make an excellent playmate but my energy level pales next to a six year old with an average day of tennis, golf, soccer, baseball and now hockey!! And by the way, I cannot even respond to half the posts you make because I feel I am on the fast track…I do respond in my head!! Is that working for you??

    My final word…sometimes these kids just need to figure it out. We did and I “think” we are ok. We have camp spread throughout summer and I will be counting on you to write some inspirational posts to get me through the dry spells! Sorry to do that to you!!!
    My oh SO favorite blogger you!!!

    • Elizabeth, there’s a whole other post in your comment. Maybe two or three other posts: parenting an only child, parenting when you don’t live near family, parenting an energetic youngster, letting them figure it out, etc.
      I’ll try to come through for you when my charge is in day camp. Can’t let my favorite reader down!

  7. You’re going to have a fabulous summer! I can’t wait to hear all about it at the end of August. Hugs.

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