While reflecting this passing summer, the words that I would use to describe it would be … terrible. And the overwhelming photos and posts on social media make me feel even more terrible. What really hit me and sparked this outpouring of building emotion, was an article I read last night called ‘Summer is nearly over- are you making the most of it?’ Nope, not even a little bit. I know I shouldn’t compare our life to posts on social media, but I was already feeling guilty enough without its influence. And if any of you reading this might be feeling these feels too- I get it, and maybe you’ll find peace in knowing you’re not alone.
This summer has been utterly exhausting, and worse yet- unproductive. Due to varying life circumstances, this summer has led to both my husband and I both working full time. Which in turn means our ‘non-work’ hours are limited to yard-work, housekeeping and just the basics of living. This also means that those great summer memories with the kids/family are non-existent. Even a quick stop at the splash park, an evening of fishing at the riverbank or trip to the farmers market has been non-existent.
The guilt, resentment, and regrets I have are overwhelming and it makes me angry
Don’t get me wrong- we’ve tried to make the best we could for our kids. We sent them away to the lake with Grandma, drove countless miles each early morning and evening to have them at a day camp, rearranged schedules to pick them up from family that has graciously offered to take them to an event. But as we are nearing the end of summer, we are now left with exhausted/shuffled children, burnt out parents, a longer to-do list than when we started, an empty photo album and with how events unfolded this summer, an uncertain future.
And all for what? To prove that we can do it all? To meet the expectation we are great employees? To put a little extra in our savings that will ultimately be spent on extra-curricular activities come September? To avoid disappointing someone? I’m reconsidering if raising our own meat or growing our own produce is really worth the sacrifice of a few hours spent as a family. Are my children’s tears at 6:30am when their bodies are utterly exhausted to get up for an hour of travel to day-camp worth meeting a quota at my job? Even our dog has taken up residence mostly at the neighbours because no one is ever even home, nevermind time to actually give him the attention he deserves.
And I hate it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! The guilt, resentment, and regrets I have are overwhelming and it makes me angry. My youngest starts school in a few weeks- and instead of building on his excitement, I’m scrambling with interviews for part-time childcare. Is dismissing his desire to share his feelings because I don’t have time to stop to acknowledge them really worth it?
I’m measuring daily success on what I can cross off the ever-growing to-do list, not on our children, my marriage and certainly not on myself. When we are together, I allow the kids to distract themselves with technology, fight with each other for attention and everyone watches as I prioritize everything, but time with any of them.
Your partner and children are meant to be the most precious aspects of your life- yet here I am failing them all. Everything else became a priority this summer, and I’m now in a cycle where I don’t know even know how to stop it. While it wouldn’t be a surprise, my biggest fear is that my kids will look back at their childhood and say that they wish Mom (and Dad) were less distracted by everything else. And to foresee that… it hurts.