Every so often there is this thing that every parent can do, AND it’s stressful AND I highly recommend it—it’s called CLEARING THE SLATE. And I do mean, clearing it.
There was a point in my life, a few weeks ago, when my husband and I were just entirely bogged down with upcoming responsibilities—and by that I mean, extra stuff we had taken on that was cluttering our brains. Should we do this job here and travel with our kids? Is it worth it? Three simultaneous birthday parties. Another small job over here that could be a good opportunity but not necessarily so. Also traveling with the kids. Could we think about working through one of our vacations? Couple more birthday parties. Classes. Organizing summer activities. Stickers for the car. Unpacking after TWO MOVES IN ONE MONTH…
And then we did this. We looked at each other, and then we looked at that fully set formal dining room table, firmly grasped the white linen table cloth, and pulled everything off all at once.
We canceled everything.
We bowed out.
And it feels great.
It had gotten to a point where we couldn’t even prioritize one thing over the other. Everything was just a big jumble of work jammed together with people pleasing and constant chore-doing, with an ominous clock ticking away in the background.
So we did this, and it was painful at first: we carved out some very specific upcoming no-work’ time. There will be no work done during certain periods of the summer, and that is going to be phones–off-unreachable-consider-me-in-Antarctica-time. Period. Will we miss some opportunities that may come our way? Yes. Will it be worth it anyway? Also yes. Because, if we don’t slow down, our brains are going to explode, and that would be much much worse in the end.
And we bowed out of a whole bunch of social obligations.
Because you know what? It’s OK TO RSVP NO’ TO SOME THINGS. It really is. I think we all forget that we don’t have to go to every single party there ever is. It’s OK that you don’t want to go to the party because you just want to sit in your apartment with your kids. Or go to the park and play. Or ride bikes. Or watch a movie. IT’S REALLY OK. You don’t even have to lie about it! It’s really that OK. (If other people aren’t OK with it, just send them my way and I will teach them how to be OK with it.)
Now we have limited ourselves to doing two things well (parenting our kids, and our regular jobs) instead of trying to do ten things poorly. That’s it. No extras. And now we get to see the whole summer through a fresh set of eyes.
Call it what you want; hitting the reset button or a scorched earth approach to summer. I’ve never felt more relaxed in my life.
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