It is hard to believe that this Fall will be my 12th season of the Back to School routine and if we include pre-school, it is over 18 Seasons.
As a mother of 3, the back to school routine has been both chaos and grounding, anxiety mixed with hopes, dreams and a desire for a great school year for each of my children. As a parent, when your child goes off to school, so does your heart, these little people (and young adults) carry our hearts everywhere they go. It is a time where logistics and love interconnect and emotions are managed along with a full schedule, and list of things to do.
All of these years, I have been a work at home mom with a successful business, that competes with my domestic duties and role as mom. Any working mom understands the struggle with the juggle, and we just need to be reminded we are all doing our best, and there is no “right way”, there is choosing the way that works best for you and your family. Patience and progress over perfection, that is the name of the game when it comes to parenting and the back to school routine. Let’s be clear, there is so much more to the cute back to school pictures that we see on Social Media, these pictures present the moment, the milestone and the love. What the picture does not show is the chaos, the struggle, the anxiety and the challenges that go on behind the scenes getting our kids and ourselves ready for back to school time. I am in the camp of enjoying this time, after having the kids home all summer, I am ready to have them back to school and me back to a routine, as I thrive on routines (and so do my kids). I need to remind myself each year that September for me is the most overwhelming month, the schedule of school, sports and activities are in full throttle, and those lazy days of summer are a thing of the past. September hits, and so does the Tsunami of school events, bake the brownies, volunteer, carpool, music lessons or sports, and what I dread most, homework! I have this mastered, not because I am incredibly organized and have it all together…. I have this mastered because I can be a hot mess if I am not prepared, and chaos and commotion can wreak their ugly heads. This year I send my oldest off to college for the first time, I feel raw, vulnerable and excited all in one. While we are starting a new chapter, I would love to share some tips from my chapters and years of getting kids ready and our family ready for back to school.
1. Plan & Prepare: Create a schedule and post it in a common area in your house, this will help everyone know what is going on.
2. Morning Routine: Create a routine for you and your kids, wake up at the same time each day, get dressed, breakfast and ready, not rushed!
3. Afternoon/Evening Routine: This can vary depending on activities but playtime, snack time, homework time on a schedule really helps.
4. Wardrobe: Lay clothes out the night before, this can prevent fights and struggles in the morning. Check weather, wool sweaters in Sept are brutal.
5. Hugs: You can never get enough of them or give enough of them. Hugs can smooth out the chaos and/or fighting that can happen at home.
6. Postive Affirmations: Share positive words and affirmations as our kids go out the door. To this day, I do it with my teenagers. (Expect rolled eyes)
7. Food & Fuel: Do your best to provide nourishing food and meals, protein in every meal, it really does help with energy & attention.
8. Get Help: You are not meant to “do it all”, get help be it a babysitter, carpool with others, and remember it takes a village, be vulnerable with this.
9. Sleep: Such a challenge to adjust to after late summer nights. Get your kids on a routine, remove technology from their rooms if it is a problem.
10. Self Care: Put your oxygen mask on first. Make sure you are practicing self-care and taking care of you so that you can take care of them. Daily.