Popsicles, Patience, and Prayer


This is the first summer I’ve had in my Mom Life where it’s not just another season, regulated with hotter temperatures and a reading program at the library.

My oldest, you see, has just finished first grade. She’s home for the summer.

Which is great.

It has also made me really consider how much more she needs me than she did when she was, say, 18 months old, like her brother, or even four, like her sister.

On the one hand, this makes perfect sense. The teens I know need their parents far more–in far different ways–than my preschoolers needed me. Sure, they can take care of their own bathroom needs, but they need brainpower in a whole new way.

On the other hand, I was unprepared for this reality. My oldest is seven. She’s not a teen, not even close. Even so, I’ve been finding out that this summer is a whole new ballgame for me.

Due to a few other obligations I have, I’ve been busy in a way that’s different from what I consider normal. All of my kids are around me in a way that also doesn’t feel normal. That means I feel busier, muchmuchMUCH busier.

And that has meant praying more.

In between handing out popsicles by the dozen, closing the porch door again, and trying to figure out where the toddler boy got that small object in his mouth, I’ve found myself muttering quite a few pleas for heavenly help.

I must be getting more patient. Two years ago, I would’ve popped my top if I had a small green tractor embedded in my foot while an ice cream cone dripped from the ceiling fan. I know I couldn’t have dealt with an extra three kids, the tent of much stuff in the front room, and the responsibility of a Confirmation summer class series.

The answers I’m getting to my mumbled prayers are unexpected, but not altogether surprising. My desire for down time has involved dirt and water some evenings, Adoration on others, and sometimes even a good book and a comfy couch. When I asked God to help me through a day not so long ago, I had three different notes of encouragement within an hour.

On the days when I worry that I can’t possibly get anything done well, I find I need only to pause for a few moments of silence to have it all put into perspective. How firm is that deadline I’m facing? Turns out it’s mostly self-imposed.

How am I going to keep my all-too-fragile temper in the heat of girlchild bickering, my own wacky mood swings, and the high temps outside? Funny how slowing down and de-screening helps all of us.

What’s your biggest challenge in the summer? How do you deal with it?

Text copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard

Photo copyright 2012 Jon Fitz


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. hi Sarah, It’s been awhile since I comment on your Blog. But this summer is new experience for me too. In Jan I started a new job where I work from home, doing IT support. My boys at 17 and 12. I remember when they were little and in daycare and thinking to myself, “I know it is better for my family for me to work outside the home, but I hope when they are too old for daycare that someone, me, a grandparent, etc can be home for them.” And now I am. But I don’t have an office with a door separated from the rest of the house. I chose to set up my work space in the home’s dining room. While my boys are old enough to understand I am working, they often forget, since I frequently walk into the kitchen and have conversations with them as my work flow allows.

    I crafted a makeshift door out of foam core board and it serves as a visual reminder that I may be busy. But it is an interesting challenge.

    • You know, that’s funny, Maggie. My “workspace” with my laptop is right in the middle of my kitchen. I think it’s easier that way…but harder in others. Ah, well. Embrace the chaos, I say! 🙂

  2. It’s interesting – since Adam has come home from camp he seems to be in much more of a “hang around with Mom” mood. We’ve done thrift store shopping, gone out for tea, and had several long talks in the past few days. This has the dual result of being amazing and setting my workload even farther behind. But work can wait and he won’t, so my priorities are clear. It has left me feeling a bit frazzled, but also happy to have such an amazing young man in my life. And he leaves again next week for a bit, so I can catch up then… Praying for you today!

    • Tea? With your son? I knew I loved you for a lot of reasons, but this adds to them. I hope my guy likes tea (I’ll take coffee, though, if not) and hanging out with me someday.

      And I think being “behind” is sometimes a state of mind, you know? I blame it, many times, on how I approach things with a “this must be done yesterday” mindset, instead of seeing how self-imposed so much of my deadlining is.

      Then again, I am about 1/4 or less as busy as you. 🙂

  3. My desk is in the living room, smack in the middle of it all in my house. I’ve been tempted, in the past couple of weeks, to carve out a workspace either in my bedroom or in the basement (which would be tough, because my older son’s college stuff is all living in it). Sometimes I just need uninterrupted time (or at least semi-noise-free time!) What’s stopping me? I’m not doing anyone in my family any good if I’m hiding from them. Somehow, I will figure out a way to balance (there’s that word again!) my need for solitude (introvert problems) with my family’s need for my presence. That will probably all fall into place the day before school starts in the fall.

  4. My biggest challenge is that I am a Head Start teacher and have summers off with my kids but have to draw unemployment, which means much less money. I love being off with my kids but we rarely get to do much traveling during the summer so I must be creative with our time!

    • I’d love to hear your creative ideas, Alicia. I find my kids have more fun when I spend less anyway. (Not that that makes it easy, I know.)

      Good luck to you!!!

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