Monday, August 3, 2015

Getting Organized for School: Part 1

It's Back to School time around here!  Time to buy school supplies, lunch boxes, new clothes and get fresh hair cuts.

First a question for you....

Why do we, as moms, when asked what we do, feel the need to let everyone know we are 'busy'?  You know how it goes.

Stranger- Nice to meet you.  What do you do?
You - I'm a busy mom of # kids.

I do this all the time (I think it's even in my bio), so it's not a slam on anyone.  However, I'm really curious if there is anything such thing as a mom who's not busy.  (At least, if the mom is actually being a mom.)

While the kids were little, I was busy.  I couldn't wait for all of them to get older so I wouldn't be quite so busy.  Now that my little ones are older, I've found I'm probably busier than before, it's just a different type of busy.  Somewhat of a rude awakening for this mom!

This year all my kids will be in public school, and that can make life just down right crazy busy.  (Yes, honestly, there are days I'm doing a happy dance when I think of school starting soon.)  Over the past several years, I've learned some very valuable lessons about having any number of kids in school.

Lesson 1
Teachers are there to help, but YOU (and your child) are ultimately responsible.

More often than not, the teacher is sending info home in one form or another letting you, the parent, know what is happening in the class or what is coming up.  Take note of these things right away!  I've been notorious for getting the info, setting it aside thinking I would remember, and then completely forgetting when the day arrives.  Or, my kids will helpfully remind me a couple of minutes before walking out the door for the bus.  Find a way to keep track of events and special days.

If you don't feel that the teacher or school is sending home pertinent information in a timely fashion, get involved!  Ask questions, look on the school website, or ask some of the other parents.  Don't just sit back and use excuses - that won't help you or your child.

Lesson 2
The kids can and SHOULD help.

This is something that took me awhile to learn.  Let's face it, the special days, assemblies, parties, field trips, and all those other events are much more important to the child who gets to participate.  Figure out a way to use this to your advantage!  When the little one comes home all excited about something, put it on the calendar right away.  If they are older, have a place for them to record the information - calendar, clipboard, etc.

Please remember!!  This is about them helping.  You are still the parent (aka- the one in charge) and you are where the proverbial buck stops.

Lesson 3
Life happens!  Try to be far enough ahead of the game so when life does happen, life doesn't fall apart.

This is a hard one.  After all, there are only so many contingency plans you can have in place.  However, being ahead of the game and not procrastinating until the last possible moment will help.  If you know there is a party coming up next week, don't wait until the day before or morning of to get whatever supplies you are required to bring.  Inevitably, the store you go to the morning of will either be out of what you need or not carry it at all.  Try to avoid these scenarios by getting or making things in advance.

Things will happen, though, that are far out of your control.  Kids get sick, snow days happen, plans can change, you will forget things.  Make sure you don't have unreasonable expectations

Lesson 4
If you aren't organized at home, things will always be stressful for a mom.

No one is perfect.  Keeping up with everything that comes in from the outside is even harder, though, if you aren't organized before school starts.  There is still a little bit of time to work on this before getting into the full swing of all that school brings.

Once the first day of school hits (sometimes even a few days before), paperwork, notices, and all kinds of other informations starts to find it's way to your home.  Figure out a way to keep school things separate from all your other mail, email, and countertops.  Have a specific place for all things school.  Did the kids bring home papers that need to be signed?  Have a process that the kids know and understand to get those important papers taken care of.  The have the kids put them back in their back packs RIGHT AWAY.

Lesson 5
Be prepared: You will fail.

I'm a realist.  No matter how hard you work to be prepared, no matter how organized you get - you are going to have one or two slip ups.  It will be okay!  Just remember you are human!  When the time comes, just console the little one, if needed, and get right back to living life.  You can't beat yourself up over it.

Also, don't let your kids beat you up over whatever forgotten moment, paper, or special day.  They need to realize that you are only Mom and not Superwoman.  Disappointment is part of life and they need to learn/know how to handle that and move on, too.  (Anyone else just think of Princess Bride there?)  Apologize, if necessary, and move on.


So, these are just a few of the lessons I've learned over the years.  I'm determined that each year will be better than the previous, and so far, it's working out that way.  I already have some great things in the works that will be carried over from last year to this year.  I look forward to sharing those with you in the next couple of posts.

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