As much as I like summer, I think I’m ready for my kids to start school.
I managed to complete over 90% of my summer ‘mommy bucket list’ with my children. We camped (twice), took a vacation to Maine, traveled to their grandparents’, and participated in a variety of camps and swimming lessons. With just two weeks to go until school begins, the house is starting to feel smaller, the kids are getting in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves more than usual. They are tired from a lot of late nights and the negative features of their attitudes are appearing more frequently. So, I take a deep breath and try to survive the last couple of weeks until school starts and pray my children do too.
As I do so, I try to keep my sanity by looking forward to starting with a clean slate and setting some school year goals for myself.
I haven’t worked since my daughter (who is 3 years old) was born. I’ve never had two children in school before; my daughter is attending pre-k full time this year and I am picking up some part-time work. This is going to be an entirely different experience for me. I’ll have a whole new schedule, some time to complete some house tasks or errands solo, and some one-on-one time with my son.
While I am sure I will be sad as I am dropping my ‘baby’ off at preschool, I’m actually kind of excited. I want to make the most out of this coming school year. As always, I want the school year to be a positive experience for my entire family, but I also want to find a bit more of myself. The part that isn’t ‘mom.’
Keeping all of this in mind, I’ve come up with the following school year goals:
1) Get out of bed at 5:30 am, attempt to do some sort of workout, and be ready to wake the kids up at 6:40am.
This one may be the hardest goal I’ve set. I’m a night owl usually and getting up early is not my forte. But, seeing as I’ll be working, I want to be up and ready before I even have to wake my kids.
Also, I really do want to try to work out more often. I know I’m going to come home from working and not be able to motivate myself to do much until after the kids go to bed. I’m much better off trying to wake up early. Hopefully, I will be able to get into a healthy morning rhythm that has me ready for the day rather than stressed.
2) Leave enough time so I am not cutting it too close to meet deadlines.
Particularly with regards to getting up and exercising. If I can complete step one, I just have to get the kids motivated to push through our morning routine. This may take some extra bribery.
3) Do not put off packing lunches until almost bedtime.
Packing lunches is one of my least favorite activities. I guess that’s why I put it off and put it off until I cannot possibly procrastinate anymore. I dislike it partly because I’m not a fan of chopping up vegetables and slicing fruits. Doing so is time-consuming for me because I am not like the chef you see on TV who can chop an onion in 15 seconds flat. It takes me forever just to mangle, I mean cut, anything. I am klutzy and afraid of amputating my own fingers. There are just so many more appealing things to do. It isn’t uncommon for me to look at the clock at 10:30pm and realize my son isn’t buying hot lunch the next day so I should get on that.
The other reason is that I often end up snacking on whatever I’m packing for my kids and then feel guilty about it because I realize I was just stress eating and wasn’t actually hungry.
It will be more challenging this year because I’ll have two lunches to pack, and often my own. So packing them early is definitely a must, as I won’t be able to do all three in one morning.
4) Pre-cook at least half the week’s meals.
Returning to work even part-time is going to mean that I have less time to cook at the end of the day. I think the only way I’m getting to bed in time to get up at 5:30 am is to have some meals I can pre-heat on the days I am working. Hopefully, I’ll have a nice collection of freezer meals that my family enjoys by mid-school year.
5) Keep a planner.
I haven’t had or used a planner since my daughter was born. I’ve been living with the dry erase calendar on my dining room wall, but I need something to take with me. Maybe I’ll get into bullet journaling if I’m ambitious enough.
6) Do my DIY Christmas gifts before the week before Christmas.
I know it’s early to start thinking about Christmas. However, I do quite a bit of knitting and crafting items to give away as gifts. I always have big ambitions and then find myself scrambling the week before Christmas to finish it all. I’m thinking I better start working on these projects in September so that when I’m trying to juggle the holidays, part-time work and the school schedules of two children, much of that will already be complete. I’m trying to plan ahead for a holiday season of minimum stress, if there is such a thing.
7) Read one chapter book to my kids per month.
I love reading to my kids. However, I did slack a bit over the last six months. I want to get back into a routine of reading before bed, especially now that my kids are 6 and 3 and actually really love being read to.
8) Make time for my friends.
I think my friends and I all understand that being a parent is hard. Add a school year schedule and a work schedule on top of it and it is that much harder to be not only a parent, but also a good friend to your old pals. Parenting can be isolating, especially when school routines come into play. My goal this year is to carve out little bits of time to at least say hi to my friends, whether that be via text, email or phone. Hopefully, I can make even more time than I usually do to hang out with them.
9) To get my children involved in extracurricular activities and in the community without overdoing it.
When I was growing up, I wanted to do everything. So, I did as much as I could; from sports to chorus and church choir, to playing the flute, and participating in Girl Scouts. At times, I definitely was doing too much. I want to start teaching my children what life balance is at a young age.
10) Be kind to myself.
I have all of these goals but I have to be realistic. I am not always going to be able to attain all of them. Life happens and I am human. I’m still going to strive to do all of these things. However, I am promising myself that I won’t beat myself up if circumstances get in the way of me accomplishing all of my goals. As long as I am doing my best, I need to cut myself some slack.
In some ways, I feel I’m being too ambitious because I have ten goals for this upcoming school year. However, I really feel like a lot of them go hand in hand. I also feel that achieving them will also help me attain a bit more life balance than I’ve had over the past six years. Maybe I’ll even find some pieces of my old self in the process.
Do you have any school year goals?