So, by now the school year is well on its way for many. We’ve depleted our bank accounts on school supplies, uniforms, shoes, and accessories. We’ve spent late nights washing and styling kinks and curls, laying edges, and early mornings at the barber shop for that perfect lining. We’ve cried our tears of either happiness of lower grocery and light bills or the sadness of seeing our babies head into another year of growing and learning. So now what? How do we maintain our sanity and structure during this school year without losing our cool?
I’m going to be honest and tell you that when it comes to being organized and maintaining structure during the school year, I’m not the one. My girls are heading into the second month of school and I can tell you that it has not been easy at all from the long nights of homework and chores and the early mornings of…well, just early mornings (I’m not a morning person at all). This past month has definitely been a struggle for this mamma. Don’t get me started on the dreaded carpool line or pushing a smile through to greet teachers when all I want to do is crawl back into my warm bed. I’ve been a one woman show lately with a recent change in my husband’s work schedule and here are just a few things that have helped me along the way for the last few weeks.
First and foremost, prayer is essential not only during the school year, but every day, all day. We as parents have got to ensure that our children are covered continuously. Too much is going on in the world these days that praying is a must. Instill in them that no matter who is watching, they should always pray. Instead of being embarrassed, they should be a light unto others and may even influence someone else at the lunch table. I pray with my girls before we leave out in the morning and make sure we say our prayers before bed. They never let me forget to make sure we pray before the night is over. We pray for grace and favor with good grades in school, good behavior, and that we all come home safely. Of course, we pray for dad and travelling mercies as he’s on the road during the late nights and early mornings. Consistent prayer is the true key to keeping things afloat.
Make preparations ahead of time
This may sound cliche and I’m sure many of you already do this, but not all of us are “Susie homemakers.” This is a task that I’ve only just gotten into the habit of doing not only for my children, but for myself as well. Making preparations for pretty much everything ahead of time has turned out to be pretty beneficial and narrowed down our time getting ready in the morning.
Select the week’s worth of outfits and uniforms and iron them ahead of time. The simple task of picking out what to wear can sometimes become time consuming in the morning when you can’t find that matching sock or you notice that your favorite blouse is wrinkled. Make sure that all of the essentials are laid out with each outfit for yourself and the kids, including jewelry and even hair bows. I’m telling you from experience that having to hunt down even the smallest of items can take up a large amount of time. Every second counts!
Pack lunch the night before. I allow my oldest daughter to pack her own lunch. It gives her a sense of responsibility and she chooses what she puts in her lunch bag, so I know she’ll eat everything. I also meal prep my lunches for the week. This saves me a lot of money verses eating out everyday. I may create a post specifically geared toward meal prepping in the future.
Meal preparation is essential for my household for both lunch and dinner. I choose to take advantage of my weekends off and throw some food in a crock pot and in the oven for the week. Sometimes I’ll prepare more than one meal and even freeze some of the food for another time. I also buy pre-seasoned meats, and packaged sides sometimes to make things a little easier on myself. Now, this does not happen every week. As much as I love to eat, I’m not a fan of cooking and sometimes I just don’t have the time. I keep hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and lunch meat handy for those nights when I need to fill little bellies quick like when there is bible study or a parent/teacher conference. Sometimes I even make breakfast for dinner like grits and eggs or even pancakes. As long as they eat and are satisfied, I’m happy.
Unwind Before the Grind
I allow my children a chance to calm down and relax a little before starting up homework. My girls are in school for eight hours, so when we get home, I let them have a small snack and play for a while to unwind. I find this helps when it comes time to do homework and they’re not as frustrated with completing the task of getting those motor skills going. It also allows me to unwind from my work day and be able to move forward with “mommy mode.” During that time, I usually start on warming up dinner and I check my e-mails.
Don’t stress the small stuff
I remember running around like a mad woman years ago when my oldest first started school. I use to stay up until the middle of the night mopping floors and scrubbing toilets just to maintain the household. Yes my house was spotless, but I lost out on sleep and time with my children. So now, I don’t stress over things that can be done the following day. The goal in the end is to make sure that my children are fed and bathed, hair combed, homework is complete, and they have clean clothes to wear. I make sure that I put time aside to just sit with them and talk about their day. I learn about their new friends at school or any concerns they may have and let them know that I’m available and I’m listening. I never want my daughters to feel as though they were put on the back burner.
The amount of time and love you invest in your children will yield so many great things in the future. Keep pushing for an amazing school year and continue to speak life to yourselves and your children and they make steps to becoming scholars. It won’t be easy, but it is always worth it. Leave a comment below and let me know what tips and tricks you use to the ball rolling during the school year.