It’s that time again. After an amazing summer, filled with fun summer camps, plenty of down time, pool and beach time and enough money spent on the ice cream truck that I could of bought that summer home I rented at the Cape… it’s now time to jump into the school year.
Most of you probably jump up and down saying, “YES! Back to school – structure and routine…my kids in school for six hours and I don’t have to think of structured activities or day trips or listen to “I’m bored” or feed them nonstop…”
But I think – can I run at super warp speed again? Can I do this school year any more efficiently than I did last year? How can I squeeze anything else into my already jam-packed day? What can I possible leave out? Every year it’s the same thought, how can I make this school year less hectic than the last? Have I learned anything year-to-year about the back to school time of year?
Yes, I enjoy the preparation: all items are bought, schedules are secured, and of course the excitement, anticipation, the positive thinking of…
Yes! this is going to be a fantastic year! This year will GREAT!
But then…the let down; oh no it is all happening again. The activities, the school projects, the field trips, the lunches, the earlier bedtime routine, and I wished it just ended there but it doesn’t. The messy home. The endless amount of dishes, papers, sneakers strewed around the house. Just when I am ready for the KITCHEN IS CLOSED sign to go up, hockey practices end at 8:30 pm and he needs another full meal at 9pm. The nonstop laundry – add that to my mental check list of about 100 other chores. The fun birthday parties, the holidays, the I “should “ bake something, but will go to the supermarket instead for those cupcakes, the waking up at 2am worrying that I didn’t sign the agenda book and the last minute realization that it’s crazy hat day.
Yes, the kids will go to school for six hours, five days a week – time when I don’t have to monitor, entertain, supervise, etc. BUT why does it always seem that that time away just makes the hours they are home so much more chaotic?
This September, I will start my seventh back to school year…what have I learned?
1. If you are going to have any chance of getting this school year off on the right foot, you must get adequate sleep. Being overtired makes everything worse. Get yourself into a relaxing bedtime routine as soon as possible – and I mean this for YOU AND your kids!
2. If your kids are still young, get yourself a good reliable babysitter. You can’t be expected to do everything.
3. You have to carve out time for you during your week. How? Say NO to other nonimportant engagements. Might involve disappointing someone who counts on you every year to decorate for the Halloween bash or teach Sunday school, but you need it. If you only can find one hour a day (even a week), grab it like your life depends on it, because ultimately it does. If you are stressed and haggard, what good are you anyway to those around you?
4. Did you know the top stress reducer is exercise? When you find yourself no longer taking pleasure in the simple things around you, you are snapping at your children more; might mean you are stressed and need to burn off some internal steam. Join kickboxing, go for a walk, take Zumba. No excuses for you, do something that makes you sweat.
5. Start a monthly dinner night out with your friends. Eat and stay longer after the bill is paid to chat and laugh, what’s your rush?
6. If you live with a partner, then that’s what you need be, partners. Share the burden. If you are carrying it all, what fun is that?
We may be superwomen, but we can only do so much. Don’t over schedule your children nor yourself. Say no more often this year to all the little stuff and Yes to the big stuff. Put yourself up at the top of your list, after all, you deserve to have some fun too.
And make this a fantastic year!