Ever since June began, I’ve been humming that old song from Carousel, “June Is Busting Out All Over,” but adapting the lyrics to better reflect what this month has been like for me.
Over the next two weeks, my older son has a math celebration, an end-of-year picnic, and a bingo night. I’ve got to get all of his teachers end-of-year gifts and schlep him to end-of-year events and get all of his camp stuff together. My younger son has a Pre-K friendship celebration (complete with musical numbers) and an ice cream social (for which I am tasked with purchasing sprinkles) and a school carnival. Needless to say, I have to juggle my work schedule so I can attend all of these events.
And once school is over for my older son, he has almost two full weeks off until camp begins. My husband and I have been scrambling to make plans for him so we can actually, you know, work.
No one warned me about June.
Sure, I knew that back-to-school time was crazy and holiday time was crazy. But end-of-school time really took me by surprise.
I know I’m not alone here. Many of my mom patients are struggling this month, too. End-of-school rituals, dance recitals, pool parties, preparations for overnight camp…the list of June commitments is never-ending. When I was a kid, school just ended, unless you were actually graduating from one school and going somewhere else. Now it seems like every school year needs to be endlessly celebrated and memorialized.
I’m choosing to respond to June by making a concerted effort to take care of myself, despite the chaos of the month. I’m encouraging the moms with whom I work to do the same. This might sound easy, but making time for yourself amidst the chaos of June is very difficult. It’s hard to commit to doing something for yourself when there are 300 other things you could theoretically be doing.
If I’ve learned anything from my own and my patients’ experiences with June, it’s this: you will be able to cope more effectively if you schedule self-care time for yourself each day. Put self-care in your calendar, as you would a commitment for your kids or work meeting. Self-care can be anything you want it to be: watching TV, reading, getting a manicure/pedicure, exercising, whatever. All that matters is that you are doing something alone, and for the benefit of yourself only.
You don’t have to devote much time to self-care for it to have an impact. Thirty or even fifteen minutes each day can help. You need to view this activity as a mandatory part of your schedule. I often advise moms to set a “self-care alarm” in their phone, which goes off when it’s time for them to take a break and take care of themselves.
I’m sick of June busting my ass all over, and I know my patients are, too. Let’s all vow to take better care of ourselves so that we can make it until summer vacation. Which, of course comes with its own set of stressors…but that’s a blog post for another day! (Stay tuned).