Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back to School, Back to Reality

My timeline has been buzzing for the last couple of weeks with parents celebrating their children's first days to or back to school. I have a confession...every time I see one, I am filled with anxiety! This year I have 2 kids returning to school and 1 headed to Kindergarten, that gives me 3 kids in school and 1 toddler {biting nails}.

It started out as excitement, my bopsies ("Irish Twins") would finally be together (at least in the same school) and I would truly only have 1 "baby". The more I began to think of this upcoming school year I began to feel nervous. Thoughts like, How will I get through all of that homework? How will I every get anything done around the house during the week? What time will I have to cook dinner? What if one is struggling, while I'm trying to assist the other two? How will I keep the baby out of my hair long enough to assist the other three? On and on the thoughts came, until I could be a victim no longer! I headed over to the Board of Education website and began printing packets for the upcoming year, figuring this would give the girls a head start on the material they would be covering. I spoke about this briefly in my Mid-Summer Wind Down article. This eased my anxiety a little, then I realized what I needed was a plan of action!

My life saving tool when all seems awry is organization and structure, find it or build it. I began pulling my old schedules and Peek At The Weeks that I had used for the kids this past year and reworked them.  I recreated a general schedule for what my normal week would look like, what I expected the girls to do after-school and when; for this I used an hourly template with columns for each girl. Including everything from homework to snack. Doing this allowed me to see the available time slots that would be open after I got home from work. Since there is a column for me on the sheet, I was able to schedule in time for homework check, cooking, cleaning, bathing and hair care. I also found these great morning and bedtime routine door hangers (yes, it's amazing the things you can find online)!

The next issue that was causing me anxiety were the school supplies lists. Trying to eyeball and check-off items from 3 different lists with more than 20 items was causing me to lose my mind. Plus I was certain I didn't need to buy everything on them because I had extras from the year before. To tackle this problem I created a School Supply Inventory Sheet. I consolidated those three lists into one sheet containing the number of each item needed per child. I then pulled out every school supply in my house and the used item from last year and began to write in how many we had in stock. Finally, I was ready to search for deals and coupons. Updating the inventory sheet upon each purchase to reflect the newly stocked items. Creating this sheet made back to school shopping soooo much easier and kept me from overspending. It also gave me the clear mind I needed to comparison shop.

To some this may all seem complicated and like a lot of work but I prefer to work with an organized plan and like they say "failure to plan = a plan to fail".

Best of luck this school year and as always Be Fruitful!

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