Parents just like children, can reach a point where they are completely burned out. It can happen at any point, but for many parents it shows up right around the end of the school year. It is the point where parents zone out, because we know if we have one more conference with our child’s teacher or one more fight with our children about their school work, grades, or behavior we will literally go mad!
It’s called being “at the end of our rope,” and it’s okay. I know this is a difficult spot to be in as a parent because we’re superheroes right? And superheroes never get burned out. However, it is true that by the end of the school year, we’re just as tired as the teachers and our children are. We want a break too. It becomes overwhelming when you feel like you’re single-handedly responsible for keeping your family together, handling demands at work, and making sure your children are on track with their summer homework packets. How do we “cope?”
My first suggestion is to take some time to actually unwind and relax. You put in just as much work during the school year as the teachers and students. Give yourself two weeks to decompress and focus on recharging yourself. As parents, we have a tendency to overdo it and exhaust all of our energy on others without taking care of ourselves in the process. How are we going to be helpful to our children if we don’t take the time and help ourselves? Step one is critically important if we’re going to be able to do step two.
My second suggestion is create a plan to get the summer packets done. If you have not started on your summer packet, the good news is, you still have time. We all know of the studies that focus on “summer brain drain”. Our children will “lose it if they don’t use it” during the summer. So the summer packets are there to help. Give yourself some time to relax, create your plan, and implement. Your children and you will appreciate the calm mom helping with their summer work :-).
My third suggestion might be the most important one and that is to forgive yourself. Understand that the achievement gap isn’t going to widen because your child started on their summer packet a month after getting out of school. He or she isn’t going to forget every single thing they spent the past 8 or 9 months learning during a 2 month vacation. It just isn’t humanly possible. And you’re not the worst parent in the world if you’re simply tired and don’t feel like teaching lessons today, tomorrow, or even next week. You’re just simply…tired. Don’t give those feelings more than what they deserve. There’s nothing wrong with being tired.
So forgive yourself and understand that there will be a time in the near future when you are rejuvenated, organized, and ready to be a fully present, continued active participant in your child’s education program. We’re parents – superheroes to some, but human to all. We can only take care of others when we first take care of ourselves.
I hope these words of wisdom will help you have a great summer and ensure that your children do as well. Enjoy!