Did the summer with all the kids at home wipe you out? Almost every day during the summer, I came home from work and found my wife exhausted after being with three small children all day. She had fun over the summer spending endless hours at the pool, soccer camps, parks and camping trips. But despite the fun, she couldn't wait for summer to end to have a small break.
But after dropping the kids off at school on the first day back, my wife came home to find an empty house and was surprised she felt a twinge of guilt and loneliness. There was guilt because she felt she could have spent more time with the kids over the summer (I'm not sure how), and loneliness because the house was now empty and quiet. A few other moms I've spoken to felt the same way, so I asked my wife for three suggestions to help overcome those feelings of guilt and loneliness.
1. Record your summer memories
Create a summer scrapbook, download and annotate all the pictures you've taken, write in your journal, edit those summer videos or just do something to record those priceless family memories. The summer has been fun and fast. So take a few minutes to remember those fun summer days.
Every few years I create a family video with some of the best family pictures. Out of the thousands of pictures that we take, I pick several dozen and put them to music and annotate them to highlight some of our best memories. The kids get a huge kick out of watching themselves and remembering all the fun they've had. I've cried a few times watching it as it takes us down memory lane and helps me appreciate the moment.
2. Exercise and take a nap
When was the last time you had a few minutes to yourself? Take the opportunity to take care of yourself by exercising (so you don't feel lazy), then take a well-deserved nap so you are at the top of your game when the kids come back home.
If a full-blown workout is too daunting, then grab a friend or your dog and get out of the house for a walk. It's amazing how just a walk around the park with the sun shining on your cheeks can make you feel so much better. Your mind and body will feel alive and rejuvenated. It may be difficult to muster the strength to get out, but once you do, the reward is exhilarating.
3. Make a treat
While the children are at school, make some cookies so you get to eat as much cookie dough as you want. When they come home from school, sit and talk about their day but don't just ask "How was your day?" Ask them specific questions such as what they played at recess, how they liked going to the library, what frustrated them that day, how they liked or disliked math or art and more. The more specific your question is, the more specific their answer will be. This could be the start of a fabulous after-school tradition.
Remember that there are many other women who are feeling just a little blue, so make some triple-chocolate brownies, go over to their house and enjoy some treats together. You will feel so much better.