Easing into Summer: thoughts on slow mothering

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Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. ~An Affair to Remember

Throughout the school year, I am a high-ranking lieutenant in the army of efficiency. You can bet your firstborn on the first load of wash started before school drop off, gymnastics on Tuesday and the crockpot soaking after dinner most nights. The kids and I will have a snack and a chat after school, then homework (no matter how dumb) and then running the bed/bath gauntlet.
By the time the last of school was swirling down the drain, these Blairs were fried from a fire-hot schedule.
After just about 48 hours into a sloppy, lazy, and, I might add, irreverent summer sticking its fat tongue out at my laminated chore chart and high hopes, my thoughts about Fun Mom evaporated like a popsicle on a Texas sidewalk in July.IMG_3801
I don’t mind adding that my attitude matched the sticky, nasty stain left on that same sidewalk. If I am lieutenant, I am in charge of soldiers.
And mine weren’t no good.
They didn’t rise at the crack of dawn and make beds and jump to chores as I thought they might. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite.
They thought they were getting a break because summer.
I thought I still might have school-year control.
Therein lies some major tension for all of us.
After silently cursing at the children again and wondering more times than I’ll admit it here if I’m even a little normal, I remembered a text I got from one of those kinds of friends that makes me a better human. It said, ‘I voxed you! Prayer for summer. Let’s do some slow mothering.’
I rolled those two words around like M&Ms in my mouth and let them stay and melt a little.
slow mothering
Yes.
There are rare days we are handed the keys to the kingdom and I knew this was one such time.
This.
This felt like righting the way of our bull-clumsy entry into this new season.
Some days slow mothering feels as oxymoronic as a freezer burn.
It’s certainly not our natural bent, is it?
God wired mamas as a multi-tasking sort who remember to pack snacks for the certain just-in-case, can see a spill coming from a mile away, and the ability to bandage a boo boo and make dinner simultaneously.
We are an efficient sort on the whole. This is good for making things go. But once we get to making things go?
Do not even.
Not even you, Summer, with your free-willy-nilly tendencies with sleeping late and eating at odd hours or your flagrant disrespect of bedtime.
You just don’t fit the neat schedule.
And just while you’re at it: you can forget silly and wild freedom or even giggling too much at the dinner table, mister.
But.
I’m thinking you must factor importantly because seasons and I need a rest from me and I remember summers as fun.
And God willing, if love is the bones, and good, efficient function is a skin covering all…may slow mothering be a new and fresh life-giving air to the lungs of our family this season.
The day I began writing this I dug my heels in hard to being a slow mama and I got lost downtown with my girls, and later that day we all fed the geese, and we played in the sprinkler with our popsicles.

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These were all miracles.
And I say (as God might say?):
This is good.
This is good.
Could we?
Re-learn to linger.
Be led by the wandering.
Have adventures and giggle too much and walk bare in the grass and watch hummingbirds and eat ice cream before bed and tell stories and play tag and color and let watermelon drip off our chins and watch for fireflies and get muddy and water balloon dad when he gets home from work. Our schedule will wait ’til fall again. I promise this.
Time is ours just for the taking and so I say, ‘Go slow, Mama.’
This is our last summer like this one.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Kim | 9th Jun 16

    Love this! Perfect timing (as usual) too! This is the week summer insanity set in, because not only did I agree to paint Jessie’s room the same week I am planning a road trip, but I also agreed to get a puppy! (I told Allie, “Life is short! Why no?” To which she replied, “really Mom, your new motto is YOLO? ?) But now I have a fresh perspective…it’s NOT summer insanity! It’s slow mothering! ?

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 11th Jun 16

      This made me smile to read…sometimes slow mothering is easily mistaken for insanity 😉 LOVE what your girl said and also your ‘why not?’ (Those are two fun words, too, you know.) Every time I hear from you I feel like I am hearing from a friend I grew up with and we just happened to move away and are just living parallel lives in different parts of the country and it makes me miss you…isn’t that funny? Have a fun, slow, perfectly messy summer, mama.

  2. Holly | 10th Jun 16

    I want to get lost with you! Let’s make it happen – please!!! I’m REAL good at slow mothering! 🙂

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 11th Jun 16

      I know you are good at being a slow mama: I painted pottery with you for hours last summer! Yes! Let’s get lost for sure (I am very good at getting lost ;)). Miss you, friend.

  3. Brenda | 11th Jun 16

    Friend, yes! Slow mothering is where it’s at! And since I’m not the queen of efficiency (no matter how hard I try) I embrace slow mothering: blow up pools and squirt guns, homemade slushies, indoor Nerf basketball competitions, and Ramen (is that part of slow mothering?!). I love your words and your heart! Thank you for weaving these words here for the reminder!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 11th Jun 16

      I don’t know if I’m the queen of efficiency so much as the King of Control (when I want to be because we all know I’m just a little bit crazy) BUT I do know I want to do some slow mothering in some weird Kansas town with you and your littles this summer. One year when our blow up pool was on it’s way out to the trash, we filled it up with dirt and made a mud pit. I really think Mad Max would love this. Aunt Melissa’s on her way!!! Love you, friend. Miss you all the time. Can’t wait to see you.

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