The Teen Years & Summer Fun

Summer break with a 13 and 15 year old.  Where to begin?

I’m not a mom that LOVED the baby stage or toddler years.  Every stage had it’s special moments, memories and milestones but I don’t ever WISH to be back in any of them.  At this point I can say I prefer relating to my sons over caring for them (as I did when they were little boys).  Our conversations, their connections, the ah-ha moments of adolescence are awesome.  Truly developing into adults, citizens of the world, opinion holders and discussion participants.  I love this time.

So what with this budding independence comes the push and pull of summer.  We’ve never been big on scheduling our kids summer time.  One, maybe two day camps in their lifetimes.  Our summer days are best spent hatching a plan the night before or morning of.  What do you feel like doing today?

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Post-Conservatory Pic

Until now.  The teen years have brought nesting, hiding out, hermit-like qualities.  I don’t care for it.  So the prompt has shifted to So today we’re going to either do A or B.  Which do you prefer?

So far so good.

Example 1: So today we’re going to the Conservatory of Flowers or the Beach.  Which do you prefer?  The Q & A begins.  What will we do at the Beach?  How long will we be there?  What’s a Conservatory?  Is Japantown nearby?  Ok, let’s go there.  Decision based on lunch options.  These are definitely my children.

Example 2: So today we’re going to walk the Golden Gate Bridge or head to the Beach.  Which do you prefer?  Same kind of Q & A.  Breakfast was negotiated into the beach trip.  And the drive to Doran only resulted in 4 identifiable road kill specimens (the record is 14).

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Frisbee at Doran Beach

And so it goes.  I love this time I get to spend with my kids.  Quality time, laughing, learning, settling arguments, getting slow and steady peeks into what they love, what they believe and who they are.

Each of them keep track of the time.  Jacob likes to get to baseball practice 30 minutes early, and Joshua has reading to do for his World History class.  Both of their evening commitments build in a need for downtime without their mom pestering.

Oh, and chores.  A reality of life at Casa Haugen.  On the mornings I go into work, the list is longer but when we have a plan for our day, we cut back on chores.  It works.

So this approach to our summer days works.  It’s a nice ebb and flow that makes my heart happy.

Work/Life Balance. #reset

If you know Jen Kloczko, you know she’s rockin’ the challenges of being a principal and maintaining work/life balance (even in the midst of opening a new school site).  I admire the choices and priorities she makes between work, family, fitness, reflection and fun.  Not a exhaustive list of items to balance, by any means.  Like Jen, I believe this balance is critical to our happiness, longevity in the work and ability to continue to support the myriad people in our lives.

Let’s just start by saying, I was flailing.  But the good news is, I’ve experienced a reset.

IMG_0723First, I’ve started actually eating lunch.  Eating.  At a table.  For a whole 15 minutes.  Without working.  In the past, I’ve wolfed down my lunch in between other tasks, nibbled mindlessly here and there, or just plain skipped it.  So the result was to eat everything in site upon arriving home.  Or snacking on the who-knows-what left in the staff room.  The interesting part of sitting and eating lunch is how hard it is to just do one thing.  I have to self-correct constantly as I reach for my phone, pick up a document or try to leave mid-bite to attend to things that can wait.  And that’s the big a-ha.  Things can wait.  Unless the school’s on fire or a major injury needs attention, I can take 15 minutes of my day to eat.  And so now I do.  And I’m going to continue.  I even mark it on my calendar to make sure I don’t abandon ship.

Second, I’ve found exercise that I like.  I hate(d) exercise.  I quit the swim team in high school because our coach made us run.  I didn’t sign up for track, lady, I signed up to swim. But now I’ve found my people, my place, my activity and my time.  5am, Kaia Petaluma.  It’s dynamic, interesting and kicks my butt.  And the ladies I exercise with are positive, encouraging and fun.  The kind of people I try to always surround myself with.  Lifting others up.  Celebrating the small wins as much as the big ones.

IMG_0761Third, I’m re-embracing family time that often involves traveling and watching our boys play sports.  A recent post on FB: One day you’ll wake up, & there won’t be anyone left to take to practice (sportsdadshub.com).  So true.  And so sad.  We had two big transitions at Casa Haugen this school year.  Jacob started junior high, and Joshua started high school.  I have a high schooler.  How did THAT happen!?!  So rather than grumble at the travel ball schedule, who’s picking up from soccer practice or the cost of sports equipment, I’m embracing it all as time with my family.  Hubby and I sweat in the stands as we cheer on the team, take pics and discuss the calls and rules.  Whichever son isn’t playing spends his time cheering and chatting with us, wandering the complex or making runs to the snack bar.  We are in it together!  And the clock is ticking.  Sooner than I realize, I won’t be needed for a ride or to help pick out new cleats.  I’ve always loved to watch my boys play but somewhere along the way I focused less on the joy and more on the chore.  I’m choosing to focus on the joy again.

It’s not all figured out but I know my friend, Jen, would applaud my efforts and encourage me to continue.  I still work too much.  I don’t have good boundaries about email and phone calls.  I volunteer for too many things and try to squeeze too much into a day.  There’s a lot of work still to do.  But I highly recommend tackling what you can.  I feel good.  I have more energy, and I’m doing better work for my school and my family.  It’s been an amazing #reset.