The Aussie summer holidays are here! Some of us will be spending it with loved ones, or we might be flat out entertaining kids. Some of us are working all through the season, and others might be spending this summer alone. Whatever your plans, something in the air (and the tv ads, shopping centres, songs, and supermarket specials) tells us that it’s the time of year to celebrate, reflect, relax, and get ready for a new year and a fresh start. Even when a fresh start doesn’t always match where we’re at, right?
Instead of spending the summer relaxing and counting our blessings, we might be struggling to make ends meet. We might be flat out juggling kids, work and social events. Some of us might be feeling pretty lonely. Some of us co-parent, and maybe it’s not our turn to be with the kids this year. Some of us might be feeling tension with family or friendships. Some of us have made mistakes, or are doing it tough, or simply find sharing the season with others complex. Some of us are single parents carrying a lot of pressure on our own. Some of us have loved ones overseas, across closed boarders, or really far away. Some of us have lost someone we care about this year, and some of us have even lost a child. So, while the season is singing summer fun and good cheer, behind closed doors some of us are navigating huge changes, big emotions, and even heartbreak. And on top of these challenges, 2020 has been huge. We’ve battled a pandemic. We’ve watched the world around us spin with emotions and face the unknown. And we’ve raised kids while doing that!
So, let’s remember it’s okay if this summer doesn’t look like the movies, greetings cards and catalogues. It’s okay if we’re feeling pretty worn out, if we want to keep this one simple, or even sit it out. It’s okay to say no to too many BBQ’s, to spending all our money on gifts, to limiting screen-time, to a holiday to-do-list, and to that big fresh start when that clock ticks over to 1 Jan. It’s okay to be gentle with ourselves, our exhaustion, and to let things get messy while we rest a little.
But if we’re sitting this one out, let’s keep in mind that there are people who have our backs. Whether it’s our mates, other parents, our school, our church, our community centre. Or even online – a chat with the guys at Parentline. A search through the services at www.oneplace.org.au (there are HEAPS providing us with support for the summer holidays and Christmas season). Let’s not keep it quiet. Let’s let each other know – hey, things have been tough lately and I’d love some company. I’d love some support. I’d love to keep things simple this year. I’d love to just do handmade gifts or just spend time together instead of the big shebang. I’d love some help making a budget for the summer. I’d love a hand making ends meet. I’d love someone to listen while I think through all this big stuff through. Letting others know where we are at, and what we want out of the silly season is key to getting what we need.
So, let’s avoid the guess work, share our needs, and talk it out. And if we’re the lucky ones who have had an awesome year, have thrived under the changes, have kicked goals, or are simply living happy and healthy lives, let’s remember how lucky we are, and that others might be doing it tough. Even some of our closest friends might be going through stuff without us realising. So, let’s be gentle with each other. Respect the needs around us. And make this silly season one we’re we meet each other where we’re at – whatever that looks like.