While the domestic duty pendulum has been swinging in a more equitable direction, women still do the lion’s share of handling the kids’ schedule. Taking and dropping off at school, transporting to doctor appointments, extracurricular activity transportation and keeping the whole operation humming are just a few of the responsibilities moms have. With school around the corner, life will start ramping up again. How can we all get back into the routine once school starts up again? And how can we do so while maintaining our sanity?
Linda Hartley, a therapist at Summit Counseling, said one way to help kids and moms get back into the school routine is by keeping communication lines open. Hartley said even children who like and do well in school can benefit. “Talk with your children about how they are feeling about the new school year,” she said. “Try to find out which room they’ll be in and who their teacher will be.” Too, she advised parents to take the opportunity to go to open houses and “meet and greets” of school staff. “Be as well versed as possible about the school and its requirements so your child can feed off your confidence of being in the know.“ If children are nervous, Hartley said, “Provide lots of encouragement, validate their feelings of anxiety and let them know other children are feeling the same way.”
Preparedness = Easy Mornings
The school schedule demands smooth running mornings. Easier said than done though, right? But, attending to the details of getting ready the night before—outfits laid out, permission slips signed, book bags ready—will go a long way. The goal is to minimize what needs to be done in the morning. A goal to shoot for, too, is getting kids to be as self-sufficient as possible. By school age they can be helping with dinner and clean up, they can vacuum and do yard work. Also, keep one calendar that shows after-school activities, field trips, doctor appointments, etc. Seeing, at a glance, everything on one schedule will reduce last minute chaos.
Perhaps the best tip though, is to prioritize and simplify. Decide one or two things that matter most, and schedule around those things. You cannot do everything, so don’t set yourself up for frustration and anxiety trying to do so.
Whether you’re a mom or not, every woman needs to take time out just for herself—or the result can be depression, being out of shape and being short on patience. Mental health “me time” activities can include yoga and meditation classes, going for a walk, going out with girlfriends, sitting at a bookstore reading and sipping a coffee, even doing nothing at all. “Me time” is different for everyone; just be sure to take it!