Every year I remind myself that the 1,000 NIS I spend on school books here in Israel is nothing compared to the tuition payments I would be making for my kids, had we remained in the United Sates. It is always with a heavy heart that I make the first, of many trips to various stores to try to get all of my kids school books, before the first day of school. This is partly my fault, since I cannot stand thinking about school books in July, when we have first been set free. I am also not a huge fan of used books. This is because I am a complete nerd, who loved school, and I feel bad withholding the joy of fresh markers, clean books and fun notebook covers for my kids. I have used a used book or two in the past, yet I find that is the one that mysteriously gets misplaced during the year??
So now I am surrounded by books waiting for covers and waiting for the three mysteriously missing books the every store had under ordered and the one that has not even come out yet. It makes me feel like Summer vacation is over already. We are about to leave for a family get away, and yet the books are a reminder that school is really only a few weeks away.
With our book list is the reminder to get the workbooks to keep the kids cognizant of what they learned during the year, and a reminder of the prizes of bringing in a finished workbook when school begins. It always surprises people that a Type A overachiever like myself and self proclaimed nerd, does not push my kids to do this. I buy them every year, but I never push them to fill in the pages, except maybe on a hot hot day, when we have exhausted our artistic energy and I can’t stand the thought of anymore television or screen time. For me, part of loving school, was appreciating the summer.
Summer in Los Angelas always meant long days at a friend’s pool, or at the beach. Even though both my parents worked, we always had a day camp experience and plenty of lazy summer days. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the academic challenge of school as much If I had been harassed by my parents to do my summer reading list, as I saw my youngest sibling being, years later.
Isn’t it the same concept with all of the things we need to do, and can’t stand? Cooking and cleaning, laundry and carpool or paperwork and traffic in the workplace, all of these things are repetitive and thus unexciting. My philosophy is that I can enjoy the everyday things when I have a regular break from them. I don’t do dishes on Shabbat, so Sunday’s dishes never felt so overwhelming. I only write my blog posts on Monday, even when I post them later in the week. So keeping up feels like a treat every Monday. Even when I was in charge of all of the bid and shipping paperwork for a million dollar company, I had a day every week, that I did all sorts of other tasks, to give myself a break and avoid burnout.
Burnout is the worst enemy of any important lifestyle element, at home, at work or in your health. So I let myself have a treat that I would “never eat” once in awhile, I sleep in and skip a workout on a random Thursday so that the daily choices I make to sustain my health never feel like a never ending obligation. So I don’t buy school books in July. I don’t schedule dentist appointments or eye appointments or any non critical appointments in July at all. I give myself a well deserved break from the Mommy obligation of dealing with it.
So here we are in August and I am covering schoolbooks in between a visit to the beach and our vacation. I will make a dentist appointment and eye appointment and many others to be sure, before school begins, in between my special couple’s only retreat for my husband and I. I will make the Summer last in between the every day laundry and dishes, because I took a break.
Is your summer over? Have you given yourself any time to breathe? What is your favorite way to balance and sustain your joy in the everyday?