Too Much Summer?

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"Too much summer?" by Laura Nelson (CatholicMom.com)

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I may be alone here, but I have to confess that I’m really close to being over summer. With all the romanticized hype that goes with summer (long, lazy days, picnics, pool parties, fruity drinks, and all), it almost feels like blasphemy to confess that I’m just about ready to move on to Fall.

It could be because I live in Texas and summer in Texas is, well, you know…hot. Really hot. In fact, I didn’t know that summer could be pleasant until we took a trip to northern California several years ago. For the first time, I understood why people wanted to go outside in the summer.

It could be because I prefer cold weather but, I really don’t. I get cold way too easily and (being Texan) I don’t really even have a good wardrobe for colder seasons.

No. My reason for being discontent with this much-loved time of year is more about the schedule than the weather. I miss structure!

Don’t get me wrong. At the beginning of summer, I was all about the loose bedtimes and wide-open flexibility of the vastness that is summer. But that was early June and now we’re at the beginning of August and … I need boundaries.

Beside the fact that the grocery bill goes through the roof in the summer when all the kids are eating all their meals at home (plus two college kids home for the summer), the house is crowded and we have gotten very little done the last six weeks.

I try to lean in to the go-with-the-flow mentality of summer. I really do! But when I do “lean in” I find that it takes a gargantuan act of willpower to get even the smallest task accomplished. Since the world doesn’t applaud me for managing to get the dishes done or actually remembering to show up for a doctor appointment that was made months ago, the little I manage to get done doesn’t seem satisfying in the least.

But, the big problem isn’t my to-do list, it’s my physical and spiritual health. Not only have I been relaxing my way to some summer weight gain, I’ve also lost my prayer routine that I hard worked so hard to establish during the school year. When the days were predictable, room was reserved on the calendar for exercise and prayer. Now that I can’t keep track of what day of the week it is, I can’t seem to find time to “squeeze” either of them into my wide-open calendar.

I need structure. I need rhythm and pattern to help me stay the course. Rhythm and pattern help me focus less on what to do and more on doing it. When I have a healthy structure to my life, I don’t have to think, “What should I do next?” Instead, I can focus my energies on exercise and prayer instead of deciding to do exercise or pray.

Do I need the rest and break from routine that summer brings? Absolutely! Does the rest and lack of schedule in the summer help me appreciate the schedule I have the rest of the year? Definitely!

What about you? Do you find that your spiritual life takes a hit when your plans are wide open?


Copyright 2019 Laura Nelson

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About Author

Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Visit her blogs at Green for God and Suburban Sainthood.

6 Comments

  1. While I am firmly in the “don’t let summer end” camp, I do miss some of the structure and observe that productivity – esp. among the kids, is WAY down. I think that’s good – to a point. (I type this as my two youngest have their umpteenth argument that has degenerated into one trying to choke the other.)

    • LOL! I know what you mean. Striking the balance between rest and unhealthy idleness is so hard. And with young children even dangerous to their health!

  2. Hi Laura,
    In general, I have found that anytime I don’t have a regular schedule to my prayer life that it is not as intentional as you are describing. The days slip by way too quickly. I love the way that you talk about the importance of the need for rhythm and pattern in your days. Some years back I started creating intentions for the “rhythms and routines” of different seasons of life (though I don’t always remember to do this, it is always a good thing when I do). Specifically related to prayer, one way that I have tried to prioritize throughout the year is to have some core aspects that remain, regardless of the season. For example, I wake up at 5 am to start the day with prayer for a little bit. Mass and Adoration are other layers that can be year-long and that I can schedule other aspects of life around. The challenge is persevering or getting back into the routine when something throws me off. I appreciated your thoughts and am happy for you to be back to the comforts of your routine soon.

    • Amanda, I love your insights and your approach! maintaining intentionality is key to not letting summer (or any time of rest) out of hand. I definitely didn’t enter into this season with intention. Instead it was more of a desperate lurch toward the finish line that is the school year. Perhaps next summer I can use some of your ideas to keep some of the structure of and flow of the school year while allowing the spontaneity and rest of the summer to refill my and my family’s tanks.

    • We’re never alone! But, we often convince ourselves we are. Must be The Liar at work…

      Glad this gave you some consolation that you are not the only one that struggles. Thanks for reassuring me that I’m not alone too!

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