You’re counting the days and buying the necessary school supplies… you can’t wait for school to go back. It’s been tough having the kids around all summer. It can be stressful to work and not have your kids in school; having to worry about camps, transportation back and forth, taking a holiday, or just having a staycation. It’s just stressful.
The thing is, once the kids are back in school, homework, projects, and sports activities start up again you realize… this is stressful TOO! What is a parent to do?
Adulting is hard. Adulting with little people in tow is on another level. Stress is your new sidekick and yet social media showcase people who have their s*** together. Sidenote: how are all these Instagram moms living their best life with white carpet and white furniture? Did they special order anti-mess children? Is there a catalog?
The fact is it’s hard. It’s stressful, but you can take steps to mitigate the chaos.
Have A Plan of Attack
Mornings can be the worst. Between making sure everyone is up and ready with all the things (homework, projects, school supplies, etc) as well as making yourself is ready for your own needs for the day can almost feel impossible. Prep as much as you can the night before. Have outfits laid out, book bags packed and near the door. Having a set place for shoes and bookbags minimizes the risk of that last-minute lost item.
Set a routine. Have a clear bedtime for the family to ensure that everyone is getting enough sleep. Making sure your family can have expectations and set times for things make it easier to get your family accustomed to patterned behavior.
Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you need to get up. This will create a cushion for you to hit that snooze button or make your cup of coffee before the rest of the house is awake. Ten minutes of calm in the morning is priceless. A few minutes in the morning can be used to meditate, do yoga, read, or just sit in quiet. Give yourself the gift of time, alone without the morning chaos.
Have a calendar. Just like you have calendar reminders for doctor’s appointments and work meetings, you also need to make sure that major events and dates are on your calendar as well. It would be so nice to believe that we can juggle everything we do in our daily lives as a worker/boss, spouse, and parent but it’s tough and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget. Let your tools work for you as a parent. You can’t remember everything so don’t make yourself have to.
Know your capabilities. It’s easy for activities, responsibilities, events, sports, and more to pile up. You need to know and appreciate your limits. You only have 24 hours in the day. What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to. When you say no to something you are saying yes to me time, family time, quality time, and more.
Realize You Aren’t Perfect
This blog isn’t to suggest that if you follow all of these steps you will eliminate all of your stress. The truth is there will be tough days. There will be days you feel like a failure. You will feel like you are letting your kids down, your work down, your spouse down. You need to remember your truth - you are not perfect. You will be tired, run-down, and feel like you can’t do it all. Give yourself the grace of knowing that you aren’t perfect. Perfect isn’t the goal. Life is stressful enough without your self-inflicted judgment. Let it go.
There are tons of mom blogs, social media, and more making it seem like you should be able to handle it all. Remember that you aren’t seeing what is behind the filter. You aren’t seeing what their life is like when no one is filming or taking pictures. You see their presentation of their life, not necessarily their reality. Give yourself a break.
No, this isn’t a free pass to go on a shopping spree. It is permission to take care of yourself because you are responsible for everyone else. We continually have people needing us for things and it’s easy to not leave anything else for ourselves. You need and deserve better.
If you constantly live a life of giving and giving to others without any self-care, you will burn out. You will hit a wall. Take your moment to treat yourself. It could be a weekly reiki or yoga class, lighting candles, meditating, or taking a break to enjoy a cup of tea. What moment can you create that brings calm and happiness into your life? What will fill up your energy tank? Big or small, what will give you joy?
You have needs too. So make time for yourself. If that means you have put a meeting on your calendar and that time is just for you - do that. You have priorities. Make yourself one of those.
As school starts, plans get made, lunches are made, and chaos ensues. Take it easy and be kind to yourself. Realize there is stress and feed yourself the positive energy and grace you need.
Image: AdobeStock © Evgeniy Kalinovskiy