rest

You Can REST, but You Can't QUIT

There’s nothing like the month of May to remind you how tired you are. Moms and kids alike are counting down the days until school is out and dropping the ball on all sorts of stuff. You may remember this blog post by Jen Hatmaker that went viral a few years ago:

A few weeks ago, I forgot to take my son to church. The church we’ve been attending every single Sunday for the last ten years. The church where my husband is the actual pastor. That church. As I was getting off the exit, Aaron called me and said, “Forgetting someone?”

Whoops.

In my defense, I normally drive two kids to church on Sunday, and since my younger daughter had a friend spend the night the night before, I did have two kids in the car—one was mine, and one was our neighbor.

So yeah, I forget someone. And I didn’t even have time to go back home and get him.

Two weeks after that, I forgot about a club meeting being hosted at my house. I might have begun thinking I was in the early stages of Alzheimers, but since my co-leader forgot about the meeting too, and she’s nearly a decade younger than me, I didn’t feel so bad.

We’re all in this together, folks.

May is filled wth sports tournaments, dances, end of year parties, and tests. Our brains are TIRED.

I was behind a bus on my way home from a meeting yesterday afternoon, and I counted 17 kids who all exited the bus while staring down at their phones. They were zombies.

But who could blame them? If I wasn’t the one driving, I probably would have been staring at my phone too! And truly, I do find myself zoning out at the end of everyday. It’s a conscious effort to keep going.

(This is the quote that hangs in my daughter’s room. She’s a runner.)

Unless you puke, faint, or die KEEP GOING.
— Jillian Michaels

I don’t want to wish away May. It’s a beautiful month. We’ve finally said goodbye to winter. The grass is green, the trees are filled with leaves, and warm weather greets us every morning. The key to having an awesome May is the key to every busy season: PREPARATION.

In September, I know that May is going to be busy. This should not be a surprise. I have a calendar. I know what sports my kids’ play. I know there will banquets and teacher appreciation and graduation parties. I know all of this MONTHS in advance. None of it should take me by surprise.

1) Begin stocking the gift closet after Christmas or at least take notes on things you see that would make great gifts. These are some of my favorite go-to gifts for graduates: You can purchase this or this and it will be here in two days. And of course, cash is always appreciated. No advance planning necessary.

2) Plan easy meals: My kid-friendly favorites are these Ham & Cheese Party Sandwiches, Homemade Pizzas, or anything that uses a grocery store rotisserie chicken (Chicken & Noodles, Chicken Tacos, Broccoli Rice)

3) Remember to exercise. This is the one thing you’ll be tempted to drop immediately. After all, who has time to exercise? I say, who has time not to? I love to work out in the morning, but during this season, I realized I just couldn’t do that every day. On the days I can, I do, but on the days that are just too busy I settle for running up to my gym while my daughter is at dance. I can only get in 30-40 minutes, but that’s enough time to do what I need to do. Plus, I don’t feel guilty about wasting time in the car or resentful because I didn’t get to exercise at all. If all else fails, just take the dogs for an extra lap down the street. That’s all it takes—a little bit extra and you’ll feel great.

4) Schedule a day to spend time with friends. There’s a lot to celebrate, but in May it’s almost never about you. Even Mother’s Day comes with pressure to honor our own parents and grandparents and spend time with our children. It’s lovely, of course, but celebrations are important for morale. They give us hope and remind us that we have friends and purpose, and that life is fun. Grab coffee with a friend, go for a walk together, see a movie while the kids are in school. (I did this today and lingered an hour longer than I probably should have, and I don’t regret it for one second.)

5) This post is about rest. It’s about taking a break for a moment when what really sounds good is taking a break forever. As the school year draws to a close and the kids are cleaning out their desks and throwing out all their old papers, think about how you can implement this same ritual at home. This is a great time for you to take a personal inventory of all the things you really don’t need anymore (Say goodbye to all the yucky water bottles and lunch boxes. Say goodbye to all those papers you’ve been saving just in case.). Get rid of the stuff you can see, and then get rid of the stuff on your calendar. What do you want to continue? What is coming to a natural end? What makes you feel alive?

Enjoy your summer, and we’ll talk about next year in August.

See you soon!

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