Long Days and Short Years

just trying to pay attention so I don't miss my life

Pass the Predictability Please


The month of August is not my friend.

So there.

(Picture a thirty-six year old woman looking like a disgruntled three year old in time-out.  Welcome to my month.)


Now.  Nothing very bad has happened.  In fact, some very pleasant things have filled the unseasonably comfortable days.  Both girls learned to swim, beloved family members visited from afar, and our “chick experiment” (an attempt to get a broody hen to adopt 10 mail-order chicks) went smoothly.  I went running with friends more than once, and my husband made lots of good Mexican (Indian, Turkish, Vietnamese…) food.  On paper, not a bad month.

And so I keep asking myself… why am I in such a bad mood?  I have been certifiably grumpy nine days out of ten, and today when our mother’s helper came (definition:  a babysitter who is old enough to play with your kids but not to watch them solo, so you just go upstairs and pray that you won’t hear little footsteps coming your way) our oldest said, “Mama, I wish that you could just leave.”

I think that she meant for an hour or two, but a few days might do everyone good.

August, august, why do you torment me so?  Here is the answer, or at least part of it:  I love routine.  Like preschool on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  Saturday afternoon dance lessons.  Thursday morning Bible study.  7 a.m. wake-up and 8 p.m. lights out.  Weekdays and weekends.  Routine.  Love it.  Especially if that routine includes regular times when I am by myself, so that I can actually hear my thoughts (or even just think some).

In June, the unscheduled summer seemed like a grand adventure.  And it has been.  But it’s not June anymore.


Now it’s August, and I’m ready for life to settle down a bit, and to fall into some categories and time slots.

(Just remind me that I wrote this when I’m complaining in October.)


8 thoughts on “Pass the Predictability Please

  1. I am so with you! I’ve been kind of beastly (and saying ‘kind of’ is my way of giving grace to myself) for weeks now too. I feel guilty for counting down the days until preschool starts. I mean, shouldn’t I be lamenting over that fact that my first-born baby is growing too quickly? Nope – counting. down. the. days. 23 actually. I cannot wait for bible study to start and for that sacred, holy time when I get to talk about things that go beyond a simple, immediate toddler observation that will be incessantly repeated until I acknowledge it with, at the very least, “Mm-hmm. Sounds good honey.” As always, Jen, thank you for this post! You always always make me feel understood. 🙂

  2. Jen, I have felt the same way for years. But this summer has been very different for me. I have been scheduled with the hot dog cart five days out of seven, some days double booked, working a new job that I am finding I really don’t like and of course scheduled time with Aidan which I love. So I am feeling just the opposite this year, craving more unscheduled time. Are we ever really content?

    • That’s the real question, isn’t it? That’s why I ended with the tongue in cheek “Remind me in October…” b/c I know that a couple of months into the fall I will be sick of getting Lucia to the bus stop on time.

      The best I can seem to do is pray for contentment and be honest about my discontentment… I expend a lot of energy trying to find that magic spot between scheduled and unscheduled time, which isn’t all bad, but perhaps I should work just as at being content in each season.

  3. Last summer, I was so excited about the prospect of having unscheduled time with the kids for the first time. It was to be my taste of full-time motherhood. My enthusiasm lasted exactly one day and then I hated it and could not wait to get the kids back in daycare. I’m not good at unscheduled time and, honestly, neither are my kids. Lounging around the house leads to whining and fights in our world. Everyone functions better when we’re in our routine!

  4. Yes, it can be a bit of a struggle with the kids out of school- even the kids themselves can sometimes be overwhelmed by all the time that they have. What about trying to add more structure t your days even though there is no school? Are the new chicks not a great distraction for everyone? Isn’t there extra work to be done with the chickens now?

    • The chickens are distracting, though the older kids next door do a lot more of the chicken work than my preschoolers do. And yes!–adding some structure to the day does help… but maybe after so much structure-creating in June and July I’m simply a bit burned out. Thanks for your comment and I will be looking at your broody hen post. Our brooder has been a great mom!

  5. Love, love the thoughtfulness here, and so agree! Unscheduled summers get too long…. Early morning scheduled drop-offs get too rushed and stressful… contentment… the ever elusive goal. But so love that we can press on towards that goal together!

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