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Slow Down and Enjoy the Season You Are In

Life with kids can go by so quickly.

Just as quickly as the leaves on the trees turn their colors, moms and dads can find themselves in a new season of parenting. Seasons change quickly and can sometimes feel like we blinked and missed the exact moment this new spell arrived. That is often how I feel as a parent. My kids will surprise me with a new found maturity that I did not see coming. I blinked and suddenly I have two almost 7-year-old mini adults demanding their independence.  

I find myself full swing in the new season of navigating back to school which requires open houses, PTA meetings, shopping for new back packs and sorting out routines and schedules. That alone feels like a full time job, but the demands of keeping up with the excitement of fall fun stack up alongside those obligations can feel overwhelming. It is definitely a challenge to balance school life demands with prepping our home for the change of nature's season, and finding time to pick apples and pumpkins. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to fit it all in.  


This week alone I am checking off volunteer hours, open house night, and starting a new homework routine. Looking at my calendar feels a little bitter sweet. The days used to be our own to make them what we wanted. We didn't have to try to cram fun and responsibilities into one weekend at time. We could pick apples on a Tuesday if we wanted, or meet up with our friends at local farms to get some fresh air on a Monday. We took our paints outside after lunch to enjoy the sun and spend time being creative. Now we spend our week days apart following separate routines. Saturday mornings are for putting away lawn furniture and hoping to have enough time to take the kids on a hay ride. Our week nights are shorter with demands of homework and packing up lunches. It's a new season of learning and growing and finding a new way to balance our family life. 


So, how do we begin to enjoy this new season we are in? Here are my thoughts:


Simplify- our family life often relies on schedules and routines to keep us going through the week. It can often feel like we are just going through the motions of getting things done and we miss out on time to just connect. Taking things back to basics and trimming the number of activities we participate in helps. If we have a birthday party on Saturday we try not to do anything else. This way we can be connected to that experience and then have time together as a family after. We have a set family night each week where we make a pizza and watch a movie together. This weekly tradition gives us something to look forward to and grounds our week.


Let some things go- I know every single parenting professional, seasoned parent and mommy blogger says the same thing: "the dishes can wait." And it is absolutely true. Identify some little things you can let go of to enjoy extra time with your kids. Be spontaneous and give up a chore to run through some leaves together. Raking the leaves is important to cleaning up the yard, but running through the leaves is just as important to your joy. 


Schedule time to connect- spending your weekends on the soccer field, running errands and trying to fit in every drop of fall fun can be exhausting. And none of it is actually allowing you to spend time with your kids one on one. Little ones will benefit from a lunch out with one or both parents, or simply taking a car ride just to get a treat. It's easy to find what little kids need to connect, but it can feel daunting trying to figure out what a tween or teen may need to connect. I don't have teenagers yet, but I have teenage nieces and nephews and I love spending time with them and being in their world for a little bit.  I can tell you selfies go a long way. Schedule a morning hike with your teenage, or plan a visit to a local sculpture park and take some silly selfies they can post online (or enjoy in secret because they don't want to tell you it's cool).  Just grabbing a "coffee" and taking a walk by the river can create time to connect. You don't have to ask teens a lot of questions to get them to talk. I find they have a simplified wisdom you might miss if hustling from one activity to the next.


Enjoy this season - the most difficult reality of parenting is there are no do-overs. Everything goes by so quickly and if you don't take time to enjoy it now, there are regrets to live with. I tried to soak in every breath taking second of holding my tiny humans because I knew that feeling wouldn’t last forever, but I also regret the days I insisted things had to be done a specific way. Not every season of parenting is enjoyable (I am still not a fan of potty training), but there is something to enjoy in every season. During the most difficult moments of trying to make everything balance, I try to list things I love about having two 2-year-olds, two Kindergartners and now two first graders. 


Some seasons of parenting are harder than others to find things to love, but whatever challenges the season brings they will pass. There will be things you can only enjoy for today because a new phase will be here before you know it, bringing new challenges and new things to love. I hope you can slow down and enjoy your new season to the fullest. 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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