How to Not Have a Back-to-School Breakdown

by Abby on September 6, 2013

Who's stressed about back-to-school? Not me!This week the new school year was in full swing for my kids. And you know what that means, don’t you? If you answered, “Lots more free time for moms!” you clearly aren’t one.

If you answered, “Way more work for moms!” welcome to my world. My to-do list the other day included: filling out medical forms for 2 different schools, researching lice repellant shampoos online (that letter comes home every year and this time I will be prepared!), buying my second grader a new water bottle since he’s already lost 2 (yes, in one week), buying a mini dry-erase board that totally wasn’t on the supply list, coordinating carpool, and getting an eye exam so I can actually read the Powerpoint presentations at the upcoming back-to-school nights. And that’s not even including my freelance work and all the regular housework/meal prep/etc. that knows no seasons.

Yes, I know: you’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy, that’s life. That may be, but here I need to interject my public service announcement, as much for myself as for anyone reading: moms, dads, caregivers of school-aged kids, YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

I have a friend who nearly landed herself in the hospital with pneumonia this time last year because of her stressful schedule. I know people who haven’t slept in weeks because they’ve been shopping for school supplies, meeting on committees, researching healthy lunch and snack options, and ironing name labels into kids’ clothing. And I’m not even THINKING about all the volunteer requests and fundraising events that have started flooding my inbox. I can’t process those until I’ve at least got all the pool toys put away for the season.

I read about another mom’s annual fall tradition: when the kids are FINALLY back in school, she schedules a breakfast date with another mom. Sounds like a good idea to me! I’ve also booked a massage for next week, and am getting back to my yoga class after missing several weeks. Honestly, every time I find myself thinking, “As soon as I’ve done X and turned in Y and scheduled Z, THEN I can take a breather…” I catch myself. That mythical free time almost never comes, so why not build it into my schedule from the start?

This will be the year I do NOT have a stress-induced breakdown over the gift-wrap fundraiser… fingers crossed!

FROM THE ARCHIVES: This time last year, I was on edge about how my younger son would handle preschool. This year, he was elbow-deep in the Lego bin with a friend before I was even out the door of his classroom. No tears here – if they’re happy, I’m happy!

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