Blog by Darrah Mozingo
The summer is upon us and I’m so ready for it! I am a pastor, a pastor’s wife, a mom and a career woman. I know what it means to be busy. When the summer starts, my kids aren’t the only ones who get a little reprieve. I don’t have to rush home from work to check that they did all of their homework and did it correctly, that all the paperwork and field trip forms are filled out and signed, or that I have turned in or paid for whatever it is they are needing for school these days (fundraiser donations, end of school party items, etc.). Summer is a time for my kids to have a break and just be kids. This time doesn’t last forever, and I want them to have wonderful memories of their summers.
Like other working moms, I have to make the annual decision: What am I going to do with my kids for the summer? I consider myself very blessed to be able to enroll mine in a Summer Rec program full-time. I have boys and they are full-on, all of the time! They need to be kept busy and having them in Summer Rec is something I have found that helps us get through the summer months. The kids have a blast and they still have a ton of fun learning opportunities and field trips.
Do your kids go to a babysitter instead? Maybe buy a summer workbook that is age-appropriate and have your kids complete a certain number of pages in it before they are allowed to play. See if there is a way to work in a field trip at least once a week. If the babysitter can take them, great; if not, make it a Saturday trip to somewhere fun and educational, like the aquarium.
Short on funds for field trips? Take a trip to a free museum or the beach. There are a lot of ways to get your kids to burn some energy and discover their world all at the same time.
Some days are busier than others. There are times you are busy at work all day, come home to make dinner, feed the family (including your infant, which kicks up the busyness a whole other level), do some things around the house, get ready for the next day, and catch up with your husband, while cleaning up the dinner aftermath. Before you know it, it’s 10pm and you haven’t even had a shower. While I am extremely blessed to have a very helpful husband, this is what most of my days look like. There are a few things I do that really help me keep my sanity on those super busy days.
I am so overwhelmed at times that I can’t seem to remember a thing. I have had more of those, “What did I walk into this room for?” moments than I would like to admit. I am not perfect at the art of organizing, but I have found that it makes my life a lot easier to have as much organized as possible. I gather all of my boys’ class schedules (including the Summer Rec schedules), the school calendar, and the upcoming church events I know of. I go month by month, one calendar at a time, and I write down all of the holidays, staff days (no school), early dismissal days, and any events for each of their classes and I put them all in my calendar. I also keep all things work-related, family birthdays, etc. in my calendar. This allows me to see everything I have going on in one place, and not have to rely on my memory. You can use your iPhone for this, but I am old school. I do my best not to commit to a new event unless I have confirmed that I do not already have something that same day and time.
I sometimes struggle in this area. I get overwhelmed but I don’t want to impose on anyone’s time. If a friend offers to help, let her! People will ask you if they can help with the kids, or help with the house. Believe me, these people do exist. Let them help, or put up your hand and ask for help! One day, you won’t be as busy and you will be able to either repay the favor or help someone else in their time of need. God puts people in our lives to help us through tough times. He doesn’t want us to do this alone. We could bear to learn a lot from the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Understand the season you’re in. Sometimes, you just have to say, “No” to things. For me, my busiest time for work is late summer into late fall. I have to choose wisely whether or not to register my kids in a fall sport. We don’t attend every birthday party for the kids at school. I do what I can without stressing myself out during this time and that’s okay.
Let go and let God
I just have to take a deep breath and stop trying to do everything in my own strength. I am a woman of God. I aim to be everything that Proverbs 31 woman is. You know, the one of noble character, who works with eager hands, and gets up while it is still night to provide food for her family? The scripture goes on and on to paint a picture of the characteristics we should want in ourselves, but we are not perfect and we cannot be all of these things without God’s hand at work in our lives.
At the end of the day, I try to be the best me I can be. I believe that God has brought me to where I am, and He has equipped me with everything I need to be successful. He has put people in my life to help me. I pray for Him to give me the strength to get through each day without losing my sanity. Of course, I could always make a better effort to read my Bible more, but that’s where His grace comes in. He knows my heart and He knows yours.
Jesus, I pray for each and every mom out there. I pray that you give her the strength to put her head down and charge forward, leaning on you for the support she needs. I pray that she sees your hand in her life, knowing that you are there to catch her if she falls. I pray that you will refresh her spirit and help her to renew her mind each morning. Thank you for making a way for her kids, and guiding her decision in what to do with them over the summer. Thank you for caring about every little detail in her life and for putting people around her to help her when she needs it. You are an amazing God and we love you. Amen.