My husband tries to be sweet. I was divulging my brain pattern with the current schedule of trips, appointments, homeschooling, menu planning, October goals, everyday life, and the fact that everyone is already shopping for Christmas while I cannot even get a craft done. He laid in bed listening and exploring, to offer a simple “You need to relax a little.”
“Relax?” I think, “Let’s explore this…” while avoiding the temptation to get flustered. He always means well and I wanted to get to the bottom of what he meant.
“How am I supposed to relax honey? What does that practically look like?”
“Just relax…” he said. I started to laugh a little.
It is typically black and white to him and there is always a solution to the problem.
We started to explore the idea. I have countless things to do each day and figuring out how to “relax” only adds to the stress. Nevertheless, the idea is a perfectly good one. All of a sudden, my favorite month of October just brought stress that usually isn’t present. Thus, what does it look like to enjoy my favorite month and relax while doing it?
1. Don’t race the clock.
There is never enough time and we all know that. Pick out and plan accordingly the things you want to do while the seasons are changing.
Examples might be: On Wednesday I will pull out the kids clothes for the next season. This weekend we will go apple picking. We will take family photos next month. Whatever works for your schedule — but getting some of these ideas out of your brain and onto paper helps the season come together with a little more organization.
2. Remember who is watching.
I feel like the first weekend in October there is an onslaught of Pumpkin Patch Posts on FB. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing your precious pictures. But I also feel the temptation to think, “Oh my, we haven’t been to a pumpkin patch yet — when will it get done?” Your kids will not remember that you didn’t make it to the Pumpkin Patch until the end of October. The only one sending reminders that you were the first one at the pumpkin patch is FB with those “On this day” notifications. Your kids will even survive if you don’t make it this year or walk to one in your pajamas like we did one Saturday. I find those spontaneous memories are better than planned or rushed trips.
3. Pick seasonal traditions that work best for your family.
As our kids grow older, we are continually assessing what traditions look like for our family. The kids dialogue with other kids about why their family does what they do and we see our older boys starting to own some of these things for themselves. It is easy to doubt your decisions about celebratory events or whatever you prefer during this time of year. But get with your spouse and stick to your guns about what the season would ideally look like for your family. Don’t let others and the million invitations sway you this way or that because at the end of all these things you will feel more tired than before the season started.
4. Plan Time to Relax.
Planning, planning, planning — you might be thinking I over plan. But with the ages of my kids and the pace of my day, a little planning goes a long way! My hubby told me to keep planning things that are relaxing to me even when the schedule feels a little bit fuller. I schedule evenings when I meet with friends, time to shop online/or in a new store that I want to see, massages and long runs. In the midst of farm trips, field trips, apple picking and trunk or treats, don’t forget to make time for yourself!
5. Be Present in the Moment.
When a big seasonal event finally comes about, it is easy to be relieved that it is finally here or consumed by the next thing on your calendar. Don’t fall victim to the calendar! Enjoy that special date or day without the kids. Use it to rejuvenate and count your blessings. Sometimes at one event my brain will even go to finding a babysitter or what I need to do for the next one! I have to fight my scattered brain and truly be present in the moment. Take extra pictures, talk to a stranger and make memories while the time is now. Before you know it, October will be over and you will be wishing you remembered half the awesome things you enjoyed.