This back-to-school post originally ran in August, 2018.
Oh, August. Summer is almost over, days are getting shorter, and school is on the horizon, if not already in session. This is bittersweet. I am losing our afternoon pool time and our nights catching lightning bugs, but the long school hours apart will put a pause on the endless bickering (theirs), exhaustion (mine), and whining (theirs and mine) that comes at this point in the year.
Maybe my favorite part of August, though, is the organization. The buying of school supplies, the return to a schedule, and the hope that this will finally be the year that I will simplify and organize, and these new habits will last forever. To that end, I offer you 5 simple ways to prepare yourself and your little ones for at least the nine months ahead.
Let the sweet smell of a black Sharpie guide you as you write tiny names on lunch boxes, Glad Ware, jackets, favorite stuffed animals, and each individual sock because somehow they lose socks at school. Or, because Sharpies are not as permanent as they say, try these InchBug Orbit Labels that are great for water bottles and snack containers. I use ours on my work tumbler because they gave every employee the Exact. Same. One. Or if your kid’s school just puts everything in the lost and found, whether it has a name or not, consider labeling everything with a symbol. My girls can draw hearts, so they get in on the labeling action, and I get more time to match socks.
Make a Meal Schedule.
We sit down on Sunday, or Tuesday if we’re busy, and have Lunchables on hand. We plan out what each child is going to take or buy for lunch and snacks. We hang the list on the fridge and, with any luck, the kids help pack their lunches the night before (or in the morning) without thinking. And when they complain about their lunches, I can just say, “Sorry, kid, you wrote it on the schedule!” The complaining doesn’t stop, but I feel vindicated. Weekly Meal Calendar
Have kids get out their clothes for the week on Sunday night.
If enough laundry is done, I like to have my kids pick out outfits for all five days of the week at once. They store them in a closet sweater organizer with a slot for each day and extras for shoes (or at my house, items they are told to clean up get shoved in here). Each morning the zombies get up, shuffle to their closet, and grab their outfits. They are *usually* fully dressed by the time we leave. This is nice because there is no drawer slamming, no whining about what to wear, and no help needed from me.
Schedule your exercise. Or happy hour. Or knitting class. I’m not the boss of you.
I get very caught up in the kids’ activities and organization that I forget to plan time for my needs. So make sure to put yourself on the calendar. And not just the errands you like to run without kids— the good stuff you feel guilty about doing when the laundry or science fair project isn’t finished. When can you do carpool drop-off and then scoot off to SoulCycle or Mission Taco? When can you put the kids to bed and then pop over to the hip hop class you’ve wanted to take for years (Laurie Stream offers one!)? Put that on the calendar because it’s just as important as the PTO meeting and Lunchable buying.
Plan to get disorganized.
Not all of these new routines will last. Some months your kid will buy lunch for three weeks straight, and that extra expense is worth it for your sanity. You will come back to the meal calendar when you have an extra minute on a Sunday. Or Tuesday. Sometimes all of the fun weekend activities will leave you no time for your kids to pick out even Monday’s outfit, let alone outfits for all week, and somehow, your kids will still be fed and clothed when they get to school each day. Hopefully.
So here we are, mamas. It’s August, and summer has worn us down, but we get another shot at routine and organization with this new school year. Grab your LaCroix (or bottle of wine— I’m not judging), and do your back-to-school thing. Maybe this will be the year that everything will pan out perfectly. Or maybe we’ll meet at happy hour to discuss.
*I was not compensated for the mention of any product in this post. I just love Lunchables.