|This is the llama at my girls’ school farm. That’s it. I just think it’s cute.|
A week into the back to school grind and I was in bed last night by 9 p.m.
Put a fork in me.
It’s Monday… and… I’m spent.
I simply could not keep my eyes open for one more minute — and this was an evening sans a glass of cold wine.
So, I checked into my bedroom after I read The Care and Keeping of You American Girl book with the girls (gasp) and read maybe 20 minutes of my A Wrinkle in Time before I was fast, fast asleep. In fact, the last I looked at my digital alarm clock (yep, the kind that plugs into the wall, a la 1994), it was 9:28 pm.
In my world, this is a Mom win.
Call it exhaustion. Call it tapping out. Call it whatever you wish, Mama was tired.
Ya’ll, getting back into the work/life/school routine is hard. So much to do. So much to remember.
How can anyone stay awake beyond 8:30 p.m.?
I was reminded yesterday of the catchy little saying, “You can do anything, but you don’t have to do everything” and I was immediately re-inspired.
Family, did you hear that?
I don’t have to make your dinner, but I know I can do it if I want to.
I can do everything, I just don’t have to.
I love this simple statement for so many reasons:
Parents, we have superpowers, but we don’t have to use them all at once. (Lest we make others feel bad. I mean, we want to appear mediocre and average so that we blend in. We can do anything, we just chose not to.)
I don’t have to do it all.
You don’t have to do it all.
She doesn’t have to do it all.
He doesn’t have to do it all.
We don’t have to do it all!
So here is my list of the 10 Ways to Survive Back to School Madness.
1.) Nobody cares what your kid’s lunchbox looks like.
Disclaimer: if you want to make that bento box as colorful as a pack of skittles but as healthy as farmer’s market and show us on instagram, DO YOU! But if you don’t have time and you’re packing a sandwich, an apple and a mozzarella stick, you’re fine. Shackles of comparison be broken.
Is your kid fed?
Are you sending her to school with a can of coke to drink?
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second question, you’re doing fine.
2.) Transitions are hard for all of us.
Getting to bed earlier, remembering to put your assignment book back in your backpack, getting out the door without screaming. ALL difficult.
Everyone is finding their groove.
Accept that life is going to be wonky for a hot-second and when you’re ready to lose your mind because you just stepped on a lego, again… hold your tongue. The lego-leaving kid is tired and you’re tired.
Transitions are tough.
3.) Get up earlier.
What? Have you lost your mind, Kylee? Nope. I have not.
If you get up earlier, you will have more time and not feel so rushed. Not sure about you, but when I feel rushed, I start to snap and lose it. If I get up, seriously 15-minutes-earlier, everyone is safe from my morning before-school wrath.
**If you really want to be calmer in the morning, schedule some quiet time do to your centering things: working out, affirmations, journaling, reading, praying, meditating. I promise you will not be regretful that you started this stuff.
**Additional disclaimer: I do this stuff and still freak out. I just have more remorse and awareness about it now. Nobody’s perfect.
5.) Sit down for dinner.
Who has time to sit down and eat together? Um, no one.
But, we need to make this time a priority. Kiddos like something to count on and quite frankly, who doesn’t need a little bit more uninterrupted time with our family and without our phones?
Does the dinner have to be gourmet? Pshaw. Don’t be silly. Just sit down. Turn off the TV. Eat. Talk.
Yes, cereal with bananas totally counts as dinner. As do all breakfast items
6.) Don’t be afraid of downtime.
Soccer. Football. Gymnastics. Swim team. Choir. Acting class. Jazz class. Cheerleading.
Um, how about, “I’m bored and I’ve got to figure out what to do with my time” time?
Kids needs boredom. They need the quiet, un-scheduled spaces that allows them to play and to just be… with the TV off, of course. (Uh, we need that, too.)
I always tell my kids to find something to do or I will make them organize. (Which to me, is a delight, not a punishment.)
It’s amazing what they’ll do with that downtime.
7.) Don’t forget about that person who you sleep with every night.
Let’s be honest, if today includes work, an orthodontist appointment, swim practice, cheerleading, futbol (soccer), a work presentation, a budget meeting, checking in with my challenge group, calling my sister, making dinner, doing homework and watering the plants… the chances of me remembering that guy who has contributed 50% of his DNA to our dependents is slim.
Still, it’s necessary.
Get the kids to clear the table and sit 5-minutes longer with your other. Make eye contact and talk via non-text to the person you’ve chosen to live your life with.
Everyone needs to feel connected.
8.) Hug it out.
Studies show that if you hug someone for like 30 seconds, your blood pressure decreases and a happy hormone shoots out of your ears in the form of rainbows.
Is this a proven fact?
I think so. Google it.
Physical touch and hugging, they make us happy. So hug the people in your life. Kid gets up in the morning? Hug her. Husband gets home from work? Hug him. Boss walks into the meeting… er… skip that hug.
But seriously, don’t ever be too busy to not hug.
You don’t need to do it all. Remember? ASK FOR HELP.
Carpool. Rideshare. Ignore the fact that the kids’ drawers are totally a wreck. Remind your other that it’s his/her turn to make the lunches.
We start to get all angst-y when we think we have to do everything by ourselves. We get that nasty put-upon attitude that quite frankly is just annoying. Put your big-girl pants on and l earn to say no, learn to delegate and ask for help.
And remember, when you ask for help you let go of telling the volunteer how to do the task!
There is more than one way to get a job done.
10.) Turn the music on.
I find that when we have music on in our house, everyone is calmer. The house, strangely, is even quieter.
Music while making dinner: yes.
Music in the a.m. during breakfast: yes.
Music after school: yes.
(Music during homework? No.)
Music lifts and elevates and like a hug, it lowers that blood pressure.
So, in conclusion…
Remember that even though you can do everything, you don’t need to.