The Back to School Shuffle


The Back to School Shuffle

My boys start back to school tomorrow. I feel depressed just typing that. Since I’m a teacher, I started back last week. Our summer was over in the blink of an eye. As much as I love summer break though, it’s always nice to get back into a routine come August. I’ll be the first to admit that when school starts back, I feel like it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. Open houses, teacher meetings, new homework to understand, and exhausted children get the best of me. Am I the only one??

I know our summer break is just over two months long, but those two months of freedom really throw me for a loop. There’s just SO much to do and SO much change in the daily routine when school starts back. The teacher in me says, “A for August and A for anxiety.” No matter how many times I face this month as a mom and teacher, it’s always the most stressful month of the year for me. I learned this about myself a long time ago, so expecting the sudden onslaught of this anxiety has helped me tremendously.

I’ve also learned a few simple rules I put in place for myself to help keep the peace in our house and in my mind during this busy month.

Put everything else on the back burner. I don’t accomplish much outside of school and family during the start of the school year. We have a YMCA membership, but it’s a rarity that I make it to the gym during the month of August. That’s one thing I take off of my plate and don’t feel guilty about. I love reading, but that gets pushed to the side as well. Going out with my friends? Probably not going to happen. A new sport or activity for my kids? Nope, no way during this month. I only have so much room in my mind for busyness the month of August, so I really like to keep things simple at home.

Keep meals simple/order groceries. Most of the time, I like to meal plan and cook dinner during the week. That’s a difficult task for me when school starts back though. Costco has a ton of pre-made meals you just pop in the oven. Those meals and eating out are my best friends when we start back to school. I also order my groceries to save time. If you’ve never used a grocery ordering service, you need to. I order/pick up my groceries from Walmart 90% of the time, so this is a lifesaver come August. They even deliver to your house for a small fee, and that is fabulous! I know lots of other grocery stores offer this service as well, so check out the stores in your area.

Get organized. My organizational skills are ON POINT come August. I buy every cute teacher planner and personal planner I can get my hands on. I usually never touch them again come September because I do everything digitally, but I always put in a good effort in August. If you’re a pen and paper gal, there are literally hundreds of really cute personal calendars out there. Being a teacher, my mind works around our school schedule, so I buy academic calendars. I really like the Happy Planner, but my go to is Google Calendar on my iPhone. It keeps my whole life organized. This year I also got a Rocketbook to give me the best of both worlds — paper and digital!

Utilize Amazon. I’m fortunate in that my boys don’t really care what their school supplies look like, like lots of girls do. I loved “back to school shopping” when I was younger, but my boys don’t have that gene. This saves me lots of time and headache fighting crowds at the store. I drop in and get a few things at Walmart, but I buy lots on Amazon as well. There’s nothing like having supplies delivered to your door! Amazon is my BFF year round, but we’re extra tight in August. I even get a lot of the kids’ clothes from there!

Plan the night before. This is a year round rule for me. If I don’t make lunches, lay out clothes, sign papers, and check folders the night before, we will NEVER get out of the door on time. I know that about myself, so even when I can hardly hold my eyes open in the evenings, I make myself take care of business before my head hits the pillow. One of the best things I’ve started doing to help me in this, is buying pre-packaged lunch food. Snack size chips, cookies, and crackers are lifesavers! I even buy pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This makes everything so much easier and faster in the evenings.

Last, but not least, just keep swimming and give yourself some grace. Ask for help when you need it. Go through a drive through to save your sanity. I know that August is going to be a hard month for me, so I don’t beat myself up over laundry, dishes, and the messy state of my house. I’ll get to all of it eventually, usually around Labor Day.