The Silence of Summer

I say this often, whether to neighbors or co-workers or the darling pharmacist at our local pharmacy (really anyone that'll listen), summer is just hard on us as a family. It's hard on me, hard on the kids and tough for anyone having to deal with us. 

For 3 months the boys have 2 homes and neither full time, flipping on Fridays and staying at each home for 1 week. When I stop to think about what that's like... frankly it's exhausting. Yes, it is very difficult on me as their mother to be away from them for so long so often, but I always find myself thinking how difficult it must be for Conner and Chase. The split possessions, the whole "technically I have two closets and 2 wardrobes and 2 beds" thing, and the constant questioning of what day lands on whose week. 

ConChaseSummerSwim2015

I say it's difficult, but I know they truly enjoy most of the craziness the warmer, school-free months brings. I know they love their father and the time with him is important, and I make dang sure to tell them that often, but that doesn't change my missing them. 

My missing them never goes away.

Me understanding the importance of our summer custody schedule doesn't put laughter in my hallways, dirty towels on my floors, or hugs around my neck, but it does help them understand that this is good. And that I am ok.

It's during this time alone (my husband works very late) that I realize how truly lonely I am. I believe for many of us, our spouse is our best friend. Is that the healthiest thing? No, but I also hold the opinion it's not exactly unhealthy either. For me, though, I find that I don't crave friendship when the boys are home, which is also probably not the healthiest for me (but that's another post entirely). Here I am, fully acknowledging the fact that I don't have healthy friendships outside of my husband and children, and that I probably lean too much on my relationship as the boys' mom. I have likely saved myself a co-pay just by typing these words as affirmation. 

I think it's easy to hide behind the mom facade. A mom is busy, and therefore, does not have time for friends and social time. Not only do I use this excuse, I practically write the rules for it. Here I am with 3 months of every-other-week child-less time and I spend most of it at my house wishing for my children to come home. I have cleaned their rooms several times. I napped in my eldest's top bunk while holding my youngest's blanket on Sunday, yet if someone were to invite me somewhere I likely wouldn't go. 

"I'm busy". I'm busy, alright - busy missing my children and their presence at home.

I received a text yesterday morning from Conner, it read:
Hey.
Mom.
I love you.

And another this afternoon:
Hi when am I coming home?

I responded "Friday, baby. Do you need something from home?"

He responded "No. I do not need anything from home. I miss you."

I may never be the best wife, or even a good friend, but I will always have them as my sons. And one day, maybe summer won't be so hard on us, but until then I can only hope Fall comes soon enough.

Decluttering Our Tiny Space To Save My Sanity

Organization is not my cup of tea, and frankly, it outright makes me anxious. 

I have the multi-tasker's ability to organize the things that are truly necessary to sort, such as my calendar, my email (hello, color-coded tabs), my daily notebook, sometimes meals and the schedules of my kids. 

So it's shocking to me (and my mom) that I've been attacking various organizational projects around the house. Secret being: I'm so damn bored that I've resorted to cleaning.

My darling husband now works weekends after his job moved to another city and he could no longer afford the haul (or even make it on time). On top of several other factors, we know the change is right, but are very much struggling. Medical expenses are very high and our children aren't exactly getting cheaper.

This past week, I have slowly taken on several drawers in my bathroom (goodbye, excess sample product) as well as the various "art" supplies splattered throughout our home to keep me occupied. 

At the end of each school year, our children are sent home with minivan loads of half-used crayons, completely dull colored pencils, and at least 4 dried up markers per pack. I have literal stacks of mostly empty composition notebooks, Elmer's glue, and safety scissors. In 1,100 square feet, all of these items have begun taking up precious space now that the eldest is readying to enter grade 4.

Consolidation, my friends, is key to tiny living:

BucketsOfArt

First, gather all your orphan art supplies, sit down in your living room floor (all decent projects are best completed from the floor), and separate. I got out a blank sheet to test my markers, because I'm an awesome mom. You can be an even more awesome mom and designate a child for this activity. 

Win additional Mom O' Year points by sharpening the otherwise pointless colored pencils

Win additional Mom O' Year points by sharpening the otherwise pointless colored pencils

Remember to be totally anal about it and face all of the supplies in the same direction:

Markers

Little ones? Save those broken crayons for one of these sorta crappy art projects

CrayonCrayon
ColoredPencils

Save pencils, pens and erasers and place in a specific pouch/plastic carrying case. Label using a sharpie or other decorative nonsense "FOR SCHOOL ONLY". These are for homework. The violent rage that builds in my soul when a whiny child tells me that they can't do their homework because they can't find a writing utensil just isn't worth it. We have loads of pencils, they are just mixed in with 47 trillion crayons, dried up glue, and non-capped markers. Do your damn homework.

Then you can color.

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