How to Handle the Stress of Graduation Season

It’s May – The Month of High School Graduations.

When we love a senior in high school, May comes crashing in with all her expectations and emotional overwhelm. She’s busy, loud, celebratory, and laced with a tinge of sadness. She’s a little bossy, and likes to clog our calendars. She makes managing the family schedule a nightmare as we wonder how we’re going to squeeze in all the events, our work and still feed our tribes, while we prepare for a monumental graduation celebration. We wonder why frozen pizza can’t be on the menu again.

May forces us to go shopping for another outfit for our graduates because there’s one more award banquet and our seniors are not going to wear the same dresses twice. She demands our sons wear khaki pants instead of shorts and flip-flops. (We know they will fuss about that.)

She wallops us with another fit of tears as we sort through old photos and read the poems our children wrote in first grade. She makes our hearts swell with pride as we watch our children with their friends. They’ve literally grown up together and now they look and act like real adults. She makes us wonder where our children went.

She makes us a little irritated that we have to run to Cosco one more time, and we can’t locate the perfect shade of cerulean blue for the napkins. She’ll leave us weary and exhausted with all the preparations for the graduation celebration.

Moving from Worry to Wisdom with the Holy Spirit

How about you momma? Do you feel the clamor of May? We recognize May has a lot to say, but so does our gracious God. When stress seeks to overwhelm us, the Holy Spirit whispers truth to our weary hearts:

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 NLT

God gives wise counsel on the topic of worry. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, momma. Take each day as it comes, and walk through the busy with your eyes on God. He will provide the grace you need for this season.

As I walked through this month with each of my five kids, I got a little wiser each time. (Take a look at what I learned.)  If you find yourself celebrating a graduating senior, try these three tips for managing the month with less stress and more joy.

3 Tips for Managing May with a Graduating Senior

1.    Stay present.

Goodness, how your minds love to rush ahead to fall when your child might leave for college, but that is not what you need now. This season is where you’ll stay present with your child. Soak in all the joy, pride, and beauty as your child performs on the stage, field, and classroom. Lean in and listen. Sneak away for coffee together. Go grab a burger together and chat. Study her face, listen to her heart. Your grown child is on the cusp of a big transition and they need you to be present with them, even as they try to pull away.

2.    Focus on what matters most.

You will want to get lost in the details of parties and events, but what matters most is doing what your senior wants. This is their season, their accomplishments, and their party. Don’t make a graduation a big “to do” about you. Serve the food they want at a place they’re comfortable with, and make it about them, not you. Less is truly more.

3.    Rely on God.

You’ll want to get lost in activity and squeeze out your sacred time with God, but don’t do it now. You need the gentle reassurance of our Savior now more than ever. He’ll help you process the emotions in a healthy way so they don’t come out sideways at a most inopportune time. Talk to God about all your feelings. You’ll waffle through joy, sadness, annoyance, and overwhelm but expressing them to God will provide the emotional support you need.

Goodness, May comes rushing in with all her beauty and stress for the momma who loves a high school senior, but when we set our intentions, the month can go smoother. Mommas, remember to stay present, focus on what matters most, and rely on God. When we do this we’ll find the peace we long for as we celebrate our beloved seniors.

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