School is back in full swing and I somehow missed the preparation. I’m scrambling to catch up. I wasn’t ready for summer to start and now school snuck up on me. I was that mom who sent two of her kids to school with a pencil, notebook and the promise we would buy school supplies later that evening.
It seems I’ve been a month behind since February. I’m not sure why or how I’m going to catch up a full month, and do I really need to? Is it possible? My head condemns me, but my heart forgives me, and somewhere in between there has to be a neutral ground to satisfy both.
I think I make up for it by singing made up songs to the boys to entertain and deflect from the fact I have failed at crafting a bento box lunch, and didn’t even have the wherewithal to draw a smiley face on their brown lunch bags. I am not so sure they view my singing as a bonus. “I’m your mother and I struggle — I’m not perfect, I’m just a muggle. Please understand I’m all you’ve got, so watch me drop it like it’s hot.” My accompanying dance is some of distorted deep knee bend. They can’t wait to get to school.
How do you catch up? I don’t think you can. I think you just have to start from where you are and move forward the best you can. Here are some things I’m trying, some a little more successfully than others.
Did I just hear a few screams? Did you just say, “If I was organized I wouldn’t be a month behind in my life.” Yep, me too. But the sad truth of it is this is one reason we are behind. The upside is you can start now, with just one thing. I saw this super cool idea for organizing kids’ clothes for the week. I also saw this clever idea for organizing after school items, like homework, backpacks, schedules, all the papers we get, etc. — like a back to school command center.
Choose your battles
I am officially giving you permission to not be perfect in everything. I am asking you to consider choosing one area to really go after. Maybe it’s your command center, making more nutritious lunches or helping your tiny learn to dress him or herself. Just don’t try to win the war on being an A+ parent all in one week. It’s like learning to not bite your fingernails. Just start with one. Once you’ve managed to not chew on that finger, move on to the next. Pretty soon you are left with eight or nine beautiful fingers and only one or two raggedy looking appendages. Start with one area of chaos and conquer it before you move on to the next. It will feel good to have a success. That will motivate you to tackle the next corner of craziness.
We are imperfect beings
Just because someone else has a beautiful command center with fancy cubbies, or a high tech calendar on a tablet, doesn’t mean your chalkboard and shoeboxes won’t work. We are all in the process of becoming better versions of ourselves. In fact, I advise against any major investment until you figure out exactly what works for you and your family. Just start with something that helps you organize your time. I think diaper boxes covered in wrapping paper, or scrapbook paper and a little glue all over, work very well. In fact, you can make creating your command center cubbies a family affair.
Seriously, are you shaking your head at me? I struggle with goal setting too. However, it does make a difference. Decide what you want to accomplish in the next few months that would help you manage your time and family better. Go crazy — make it fun and fancy. That always helps. I like to add a little bling to things as well. The boys don’t seem to appreciate the bling, but it makes me happy. One of my goals was putting real clothes on to drive the kids to school. I usually go in my pajamas. I decided that goal wasn’t really working for me, so now I focus on getting them to school. No one cares what I’m wearing. However, if you walk your kids to school, you would probably move the pajama challenge up on the scale of importance. And that leads me to my last tip.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are we. I may not be the well-dressed mom, or the mom who bakes the really cute cupcakes or even the mom who provides the gluten free after-school snack. I mean, I want to be, but there is no way I can do it all at one time. What I do know is that I am a mom who desperately, passionately, adoringly loves my children and they know it too. The rest is the work of living and that is something we do together — with a little bling of course.