Maycember is upon us, y’all! End-of-school parties, testing and exams, graduations, end-of-season playoffs and celebrations, awards ceremonies, confirmation, post-Lenten baptisms, spring programs, teacher gifts, WHO SCHEDULED A BIRTHDAY PARTY?! VBS supply drives, summer camp registrations, the principal is retiring, summer time-off requests are due, and your teacher needs MORE tissues? What is it… allergy season?
Our kiddos feel (and respond in developmentally appropriate and mind-blowing ways to) the hustle and bustle of the constant motion of end-of-year mania. Trust me, I’m a teacher. The crazy of Maycember is equal parts excitement (for the fun things), anxiety (for the unknown and loss of routine), and exhaustion.
We all benefit from a priority check this time of year. Our kids need models of self-care. They need advocates for rest and sabbath.
Is WWJD retro yet? As a reminder, when things got crazy in the temple, Jesus flipped over tables. When the storm raged, Jesus commanded the rising waters to be still. On multiple occasions, Jesus withdrew to a time of solitude and prayer. There is precedent for pause, and it’s holy.
Let’s talk flipping tables.
Jesus acted out because the priorities in the temple had gotten away from the people. What was designed as a house of prayer and reverence had become transactional. If we look at our calendars, is it a place reflective of the reverence in our lives? The love of others and community? Does our time celebrate beauty? (To clarify, competition, sportsmanship, musicality, service to others… all forms of beauty. I’m not talking about penciling in daisy spotting.) Where does family time fit in? What about rest or fitness for you? Like revising drafts in the classroom, some details may need to be deleted or moved around for the best version of your product. (In this case, that’s your family and YOU!)
Command the calendar to BE STILL!
Give each “to do” real estate on your calendar. Ground them. Once each event or task has a time and a place in your day, week, or month, they are much less likely to flood your consciousness with “Did you?” “Remember!” “Check status of…” That complete calendar isn’t a bad visual for how busy things are right now and a good reminder to give yourself some grace. Maybe even say no to an invitation.
Phones may need a time out too. Have you ever scheduled “Phone Away” time in your day? What kind of phone habits do you want your kids to observe? Are you able to meet those ideals yourself? Maybe just turn on “Do Not Disturb” and check all those notifications on your schedule.
The holiest gift you can give is your attention. And how often are you the recipient of that precious gift? While a weekend with friends or a yoga class may sound like a luxury, can you build in 10 minutes before carpool to sip a LaCroix and scroll Instagram? What about waking up 30 minutes early so you can enjoy coffee and a book. Prayer and meditation can happen in mere minutes. My kids are always talking to me, too. And it’s okay to step away anyway. “Guys, I’m a little overwhelmed and need to clear my head. I’m going to time out in my room/go for a walk/whatever for 10 minutes.”
Withdrawing as a family is also powerful. Parents are THE BEST bad guys. Family pizza night, a movie, and no phones allowed? Dinner out? Random bowling outing? When our kids want to maintain some street cred, “forcing” them to put phones away and be present with family can be liberating for them. “My mom/dad said I *have to* put my phone away early,” (insert eye roll).”
And it’s amazing how calm rolls in, too. I used to travel with middle school students, and they weren’t allowed to have their phones except in museums and an hour to call home at night. As chaperones, we would hold onto them, and kids told us they loved the lack of interruptions and no pull of needing to check notifications or respond or know what’s going on. We are the grown-ups. We set the tone and make the rules.
Caffeine up, Buttercup. Maycember is here. What’s your battle plan?