Mom Confessional: When Settling into a Fall Routine is a Good Thing

Mom Confessional: When Settling into a Fall Routine is a Good Thing

One mom confesses why she’s excited to fall into the parenting routines of autumn.

By: Lexi Walters Wright

I confess: I look forward the end of summer.

Don’t get me wrong — the classic family scenes from June, July and August thrill me to no end. I adore watching the sunsets and fireflies with my family on the porch. Each time my toddler son and I pick peas at a local farm, I implore my subconscious: Let me remember how his grin spreads when he eyes a pod.

“Can we have ice cream before dinner, Mama?” Yes! “Can we ride the Ferris wheel again?” Absolutely! “Wanna go for an early bike ride, honey?” You got it, my sun-kissed darling. My default summer setting is “go.”

I’m no summer curmudgeon by any means, but I’m also a type-A planner, a work-from-home professional, a lover of schedules and routine. And summer, with its forever-long daylight and fun-fun-fun offerings? Well, it falls under my category of Very Good Things that Must Come to an End.

Why? Because I am tired of the summer pandemonium. I will not miss:

  • Half-eaten ice pops strewn around the house
  • “It’s still light, I can’t sleep!” protests
  • Feeling guilty about not letting my 3-year-old stay up even later to appreciate a particularly striking blue moon
  • Errant fireworks going off nightly through August
  • Zucchini
  • Hog-tying my son to get sunblock on him
  • Wet dog smell
  • “Please can we go back to the playground? Please?”
  • Fruit flies
  • The threat of hand-foot-and-mouth disease
  • Tending bare knees that have met pavement
  • Bottomless laundry piles of varying degrees of dampness

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While autumn comes with a slew of new parenting concerns, even the expectations of the season feel like improvements over the drop-and-go un-scheduling of summer.

There will be long pants and coats to buy, a garden to clean up, and physicals to schedule. I’ll join the throngs of shoppers vying for remaining lunch sacks and sneakers. They are chores, yes, but they feel purposeful and needed. I’ll tick items off my to-do lists with satisfying flourish.

Grilling season will cease, and I’ll be forced to cook actual meals again, not just make kebabs out of whatever’s left in the fridge. Meal plans will recommence. I’ll troll the Internet for weeknight recipes and add them to my calendar every Sunday. I’ll unearth the slow cooker from beneath the trays used for watermelon slabs.

And our days will have predictability again. My son won’t bolt up with the sun anymore, so my partner and I will sip coffee in silence together before he bounds down for breakfast.

The number of kids at his day care will shrink, their popular summer program over for the season: My child will be sated by the calm of learning and playing with a tight-knit crew of friends each day.

I’ll dig back into work full-steam now that time at my desk can be more consistent. I’m grateful to have a flexible career, but summer days away from my desk — camping excursions and beach vacations — plus sudden day trips meant I’m away more than I’m normally comfortable with through Labour Day.

I’ll look forward to the cadence of planning, executing and reflecting on work. I’ll complete tasks every day that don’t only involve my dishwasher.

The weeks will regain their patterns. My family members will settle into our familiar roles. Autumn will roll into the winter holidays.

And oh, how I’ll pine for my rut then.

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