Back To School Time is Tough!
I haven't gone anywhere. I'm still here... just trying to stay awake and alert during this month of September. I'm a preschool teacher and a mom, so I know how September can take a toll on a family.
Do you know what I'm talking about? How you can't seem to wake the kids up in the morning, you're running around packing everyone's lunches minutes before the school bus arrives, and you're shedding a tear as you sign check after check for school fees and extra curricular activities. And all of this before and after work, chores and errands.
As I drove in to work in back to school traffic this morning, I thought of all my best no-stree advice I could share, that I have gathered through experience, friends, and professionals, to make it through this month in one piece.
Plan For September Way In Advance
Leading up to literally the day before school, I see numerous Facebook posts complaining about the amount and/or cost of supplies, or asking if anyone has happened to find a yellow (not green or blue) Hilroy exercise book, half lined, half plain, and if so, where?
I’m lucky; my daughter’s school puts out the supply lists in July. And while you probably don’t want to think about supplies right after your kid has left school, I take that as an opportunity to stock up, ASAP. Better when no one is thinking it, then the day before school when everyone else is bumping into each other with shopping carts, trying to find the same notebook that is out of stock. And might I add, dropping hundreds of dollars at one time. Supplies are just one less thing for me to worry about when it’s time to get back to the grind after Labor Day.
Take it easy after school and work.
One family therapist gave us her trick about what she does on Tuesday nights; Tuesdays just happen to be her family’s hectic day of the week when work schedules run late and various extra curriculars happen. She not only throws a frozen pizza in the oven, she embraces the fact that she can’t “do it all”, and she encouraged our family to think the same.
Back to planning in advance... if you want to opt for a more healthy alternative, during the summer, make extras of some meals and freeze them to save for one of those September days when you just can’t do any more.
Point is; take a shower as soon as you walk in the door, throw something in the oven, and read a story to the kids while it cooks.
Book a day off.
Some people are lucky to have personal days. Other have sick days. Maybe you save a vacation day. Take advantage of that time to stay home alone while the kids are at school; have a coffee, turn on a show you’ve been meaning to catch up on, and fold that growing pile of laundry. Organize the house and your things for the work and school days ahead.
I’ll never forget seeing Molly Shannon on the Tonight Show when she explains her “Bed Seven” philosophy. It just made so much sense to me. Plan a Saturday or Sunday where you plan absolutely nothing for yourself and the kids. Make it a PJ day. Lie on the couch. Watch a movie. Eat popcorn. Order take-out. Recuperate. Teach your kids what Hygge means.
It’s ok to say no.
Labor Day Barbecues. Volunteer mom requests. The everyday, “hey, let’s get together and catch up.” September brings about all kinds of sign-up requests and people asking for your time, and there is barely any to spare. September fills up fast. And when you do have free time, you're exhausted. I don't know about you, but I can't give the best version of myself when I'm exhausted.
I need to take this advice seriously sometimes. Let’s say it together now: it’s OK to say no. It's doesn't have to be the word "NO", it can be “I’ll get back to you... in October.”
Melissa is a mom, wife, and early childhood educator who blogs about her journey looking for new experiences for family time.