You guys, in just a few days — if your kiddos haven’t already — many kids and teens will be heading back to school. #victorydance
At the same time, getting to the first day of school can be nerve racking for kids and parents alike. I mean, aren’t we in August where it should be all fun and sun? How can I be thinking about pencil cases, math problems and monogramming school uniforms? Mama is not prepared… I need a glass of wine.
While there are endless bloggers talking about the most effective ways to get ready for school, let’s keep it real here for a minute. I’m not super mom. I’m the mom who is grateful for the super moms. My husband and I share school drop-off duty, working around whoever has an early morning appointment, and sorry, not sorry, but you’ll never see my face at pickup. Doing the best I can and grateful for our afternoon help.
At the same time, I’m a pretty organized mama that is trying to keep things in check for our six year old daughter entering first grade and our two-year old going to preschool. I’ll be honest: elementary school was a mega reality check, where going from a 9-9:15 am easy preschool dropoff to a 7:50 am dropoff was a game changer. I am not, I repeat, not, a morning person. It was a brutal adjustment.
I’m still learning how to best prepare for the reality of back to school. I mean everyone has a million ideas, opinions and charts to keep us in check so let’s just think big picture for a minute. Ultimately, beyond school our goal is to raise good, kind humans. So as any parents hit a little panic mode, here are a few key things I’m reminding myself (and PLEASE comment below if you have any real ideas to make this process easier for all of us!)…
- Keep an open dialogue with your child. Put down your phone (move it to another room), turn the TV off and connect with your kid. Our daughter gives us no scoop, no intel, on the car ride home or at dinner… everything is “fine” or “good.” (so frustrating). Cuddling in bed though? She shares it all… bits about her day, fun stories, class stuff, etc. I’m sure she likes that she’s staying up a little later so I just plan accordingly time-wise. Work with what resonates with your child and do your best to meet them there.
- Meal plan: Complete transparency… I suck at this and it’s totally on my 2016-2017 school year must-do list. Last year’s meal situation was a hot mess in my house. Breakfast was packaged muffins, and sometimes cereal or frozen waffles, plus fruit, and our super picky daughter eats about three carb-loaded meals each night for dinner. I’m not saying this year we’ll be winning an Olympic medal in meal planning but I’m focusing on creating three quality dinners each week, and waking up 10 minutes earlier each day to prepare a better breakfast.
- Recognize that Facebook and Pinterest are not realities. There are about four moms in the universe making all those enviable Pinterest dishes and DIY projects (right?! I mean who has time for that and why do my inventions never look like that?!). Everyone only shares their best, happiest moments on Facebook and Instagram. Did you know my counselor told me she’s seen more business as a result of challenges people are having due to perceived realities (or actual reality) on social media? No one’s like is that shiny so don’t give yourself mom guilt if your family isn’t living up to the hype you think you’re seeing. It’s smoke and mirrors. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of us have amazing lives, but there are also tantrums and whining
- Involve children in the process: Create processes, structure and homes for everything so everyone on your “team” knows what to expect. Our backpacks are hung on hooks by the back door (and I’m hanging a bulletin board there with fliers and info I don’t want to forget), and shoes go in a certain place when we get home. My daughter has been learning to read so instead of getting books for her, we go together to the library to select what she wants… it makes a big difference. She’s starting to cook with us more, and I’m fostering my 2-year old’s love of the vacuum cleaner. 😉
- Don’t freak out & give yourself a break. The world will continue and your child will still love you if you forget a certain theme day, if something gets missed, etc. Yes, you have to create a system — my husband and I share our phone calendars and I also add our kids events on there with 12 hour reminders — but I know we had screw ups last year that felt monumental and now, I can’t recall even one. Chill, you’re doing an awesome job and keeping up with the million and one tasks, to do’s and requests you’re fielding each day.
You guys ready? Ease back into things and know it will take a few weeks, even if you start today, getting back into the schedule. At least we have the long Labor Day weekend to look forward to!