Unexpected Expectations {aka, “summer shock”}

Jun 5, 2013

The other day a friend called as I was doing my usual Sunday afternoon grocery shopping. We spent a good 45 minutes just catching up. Isn’t it good to know what a friend’s been up to? (beyond status updates).

As I sit down to write I feel like I need a little “catch up” post on the blog...not necessarily a neat & tidy take-away truth kinda post…just the “this is what I’ve been up to” kind.

Monday was doubly (yes I just made up a word) special. Not only was it the 2 year anniversary of writing here at God Centered Mom. But my adorable husband turned 40! WHA? Can I really be married to a 40 year old? Fortunately he doesn’t look a day over 36.

I’d really wanted to record a fun “vlog” to reflect and remember all God’s done this past year for me and through this ministry…but alas 40th birthday celebrating and keeping four boys alive, dressed, and fed has been slightly time consuming.

I did film this on Monday…

How cute is he? Definitely a favorite around our house.

But y’all…truly? “Crazy” reached a whole new level now that all my children are out of school.

I don’t know why I had the expectation life would be easier once school was over.

Yes, there is no early morning rush. Keeping uniforms clean. Doing homework.

But these precious boys are in my home or with me all. the. time. When they do finally drift off to sleep (usually later than normal with all the summer fun to be had…) I’m like a zombie at night. As I wander through my house, each room contains an “unfinished project” glaring out me. Taunting me with it’s incompleteness.


Have you ever felt defeated in the battle of home life?  And the chaos is winning?

Last Friday morning I decided to get up at 5 am to get some things done before the boys woke up. Wouldn’t you know Knox was chirping at 5:30? And Bruce had to leave at 6 am for a work “team building” trip (at a ranch, with a spa and steak…let’s just call it a birthday weekend away so we don’t feel so bad) and there went my opportunity for productivity.

During that phone call with a friend on the way to the grocery store I shared with her all of this (she has the “four boys thing” going, as well). She led me to a place of grace.

Remember back to the beginning of the school year? With the new schedule and new teachers and new friends? Do you remember giving yourself some time to adjust to the routine? Figuring out exactly how long it would take to get ready for school. And how to get homework done between sports practices and making dinner.

My friend reminded me we need the same adjustment time as we ease into summer. With a more relaxed schedule, more variety each day, and more time “hanging” at home, we need a chance to break it in.

Another friend pointed out that given the “unstructured” play time our children will exhibit more undesirable behavior (which reminded me I struggled with this last summer…thus my post on the Sibling Summer Survival Guide). Whether it’s 45 minutes before heading out of the house or it’s a 3-hour stretch at home…my boys are scrambling to sort it all out and start getting frustrated with each other in the process.


I also think I need to adjust my expectations for our time at home. A “good” day may not mean I got all the dishes done and laundry folded…but perhaps that I met physical needs and connected emotionally with my boys. For these next few months I just may not be writing or completing projects as often as I’d like. But I’ll be building some good heart connections (and doing some “chore training” to get these guys to help me around here…maybe if I call it “Jedi training” I get better participation…).

This quote from “A Mother’s Heart” by Jean Fleming helped give me this new perspective:

I stopped to evaluate why some days ended in satisfaction while others ended with a vague sense of dissipation and discouragement. It dawned on me that ‘good’ days were those days when I scratched a lot off my ‘do list’. ‘Bad’ days were those days when I could show few tangible results for my day’s efforts…True, I had nothing visible to show for my day.  But I had spent time with God; I had focused attention on my children; I had made people more important than accomplishing tasks.  I had attempted to live by God’s values…I realized if I lived my life for what made me feel good at the end of each day I would give my life to things of secondary importance.

The results of living by God’s value system aren’t immediately apparent like clean windows or a newly papered wall.  But years from now, by God’s grace, my time with God and my children will produce results brighter than sparkling windows. I must take the long view.

So I hope as you adjust to your summer schedule, whatever it may be, you can adjust expectations, redefine a ‘good’ day, and live by God’s value system.

sidewalk chalk painting

Need help with some meaningful activities with your kiddos? I was thankful the morning after I had been in bed sick all day to entertain the boys with one of the KidVentures activities…homemade sidewalk chalk (click affiliate link in sidebar to check it out).

What has been your biggest “shock” since summer started?


  1. Mommy2cr

    Wow! I thought I was the only one feeling out of routine! Good to know I am not the only one. Thank you for sharing this on a day when I needed it. Going to try and bring my focus back to Him and less on the laundry pile that is still sitting there.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      thanks for sharing your struggle too krystal! We need to know we’re not alone. Hope y’all have settled into a routine and laundry is less as you wear swimsuits more!

  2. Kristin

    I always admire and absorb your posts. I love your transparency and realness. I the same way. I’m so task oriented so when summer arrived my anxiety increases immensely. I love my children, but I enjoy the small breaks that preschool and public school provide. The breaks allow me to get my tasks done without interruption. I know these precious gems are not supposed to be looked at as interruptions to my day. I know the summer months can be long and stressful, but I’m trying so hard to think above that and really be obedient to being “slow to anger” and “slow to speak”.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thanks Kristin for sharing your struggles, too. I’ll have to say after a couple weeks (and a weekend away for me!)…we are settling into a rhythm. Adjusting my expectations was definitely a huge part. Also them remembering what it’s like to share space and toys and time. thanks for commenting!

  3. tiffanie

    when the baby wakes up early on the day you wake up early – it’s a lose-lose. knox is such a cutie – love the video!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      amen sister. These molars are taking an eternity to come in…poor buddy.


  1. one less thing to worry about while running errands with your kids… | God centered mom - [...] few weeks ago I wrote my “summer shock”post. About how I had all these productivity expectations…and “making memories” [...]

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