Ah, fall. There’s just something so special about the return of sweatshirts and socks, jeans and scarves, comfy shoes and hot drinks. It’s not just a transition time for the weather, though. It’s a transition for so many of us. Moms with school-aged kids are tossed back into the school year that begs for us to be busy and involved and chaotic. (This can absolutely apply to moms with young children, too!) The options for activities are endless and if we aren’t careful, we can quickly realize that we have said “yes” too much and “no” not enough. I heard someone refer to this time of year as a “Mother’s New Year” and I think it feels so accurate. I’ve always felt that to some degree since my husband is a teacher so this time of year is always a period of readjustment. But once my children started heading off to school, that phrase took on a whole new meaning.
The emails from teachers and the PTO and room parents begin to flood my inbox. Backpacks come home with fundraiser information and Spirit Week details and extracurricular activities. My life could feel like it is actually just me orchestrating my family’s lives and not actually including my own needs in the daily/weekly/monthly plans. I intentionally say “could feel” because I fully believe it is a choice. The amount of busyness that our lives contain is 100% our choice. (I’m obviously NOT including health situations that require a lot of attention.) If you want to say “yes” to everything, that is your choice. There are many people who thrive on involvement and activity. But if you don’t say “yes” to everything, that is a completely fine choice, too. I certainly fall into that second category. Looking at a full calendar doesn’t usually bring me excitement--I tend to feel more exhaustion and anxiety, something I have especially been battling for the past year. It can be challenging to feel some semblance of control when it feels like the world around you is swirling with one million options and one million opinions. It’s difficult to think and become your best self when other voices are crowding out your own. For me personally, it has taken some work to get to a healthier place and it’s definitely a work in progress. I saw a therapist for a few months last fall. I drastically decreased my involvement and time on my personal social media accounts. I became much more intentional about giving myself rest time every single day. I wanted our home to be a place of respite and safety and relaxation and made the decision that if I wanted that for our home, I needed to fight against the magnetic pull to do it all.
Is this the only “right” way to live? Of course not. For me and my family is it the right way? Absolutely. Do I have this all figured out and don’t have any bad moments or days? Of course not. But all of this work to be my best self and to live the life I was created to live is worth it. I don’t want to get so caught up in what other people are doing and what other people can seemingly handle on their plate that I lose focus on what I can do for myself and for my loved ones at this current stage in my life.
If this season brings you anything, I hope that it brings you back to the root of life: love. How you give love and how you receive love looks different depending on the person. What I think does look the same, though, is making the decision to be present. We cannot fully love ourselves and others when we are distracted. Enjoy these cool nights with hot chili. Embrace the breezy weekends filled with orchards and coffee and cider and pumpkins. And as for me? You’ll find me striving to find joy in the growth that change offers us to accept (and eating doughnuts, of course).