This time of year can be tricky, but these simple back-to-school hacks will make the transition so much easier. This post is sponsored by TruMoo. All opinions are my own.
I stood in front of the receptionist, breathless and wild-eyed but still smiling. I had just successfully navigated the pickup line at my daughter’s middle school for the first time and managed to get to the pediatrician a little early for her physical. I felt like a champ. A flustered champ with at least six other essential things on my to-do list before bedtime, but a champ nonetheless.
After a few taps of the keyboard, my bright-eyed enthusiasm was dashed. Apparently, I got there really early. The receptionist looked up over the top of her glasses and informed me that our appointment wasn’t for another week.
I wanted to sink into the industrial carpeting and slink back out the front door. Hi, I’m a hot mess. And yes, I’m this kid’s mother.
Is anyone else having a really hard time getting used to the back-to-school schedule? September is almost over and I’m still struggling. Transitioning from a laid-back summer to a stricter, more full back-to-school schedule is not easy.
Still, in the week or two since The Incident, I’ve found three completely key tips that have made our lives so much easier.
Three back-to-school hacks to make the transition easier
For as long as I can remember, I have loved a good road trip. From driving a couple of hours to the Jersey shore with my grandparents every summer to driving to Florida on spring break while in college, I have always found road trips incredibly exciting. Killer playlists, hilarious conversations, and a whole lot of open road is my kind of adventure.
And then I had kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the first to jump at the idea of adventuring to a new place by car, it just takes way more preparation now. Like, way more. And along the way, I’ve become pretty good at keeping my kids entertained on road trips. In fact, I have a list of five tips that I consider essential when road tripping with kids.
One of the most important things to me as a mother—aside from raising strong, opinionated girls who stand up for what they believe in—is planting the seeds necessary for my kids to grow into loving, caring, giving, kind adults.
This desire—which, to be honest, is more like an obsession—has only grown stronger since the horrific events in Paris this weekend. As if terror and bloodshed wasn’t enough, the hate that volleyed around social media made me even more nauseous.
I believe fiercely in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
I also believe that working your hardest to raise caring, compassionate, kind humans is infinitely more effective in making the world a better place than sitting behind your computer spewing hate.
Parenting is not easy and no parent is perfect. I am the first one to jump up and admit that. That said, I do think there are a few things you can do to get a leg up in the Raising Kind Humans Department. Spoiler alert: they all include modeling kind behavior.
Have you ever tried working out with a kid weaving between your legs? Or climbing on your back? Or (once they’re a little older) critiquing your form?
Let’s be real. Squeezing in a workout when you have kids (especially when they’re on summer vacation and you work from home) can be rough. Routines are thrown off completely and it’s hard enough to just conquer day-to-day tasks. Adding self care in seems like a total luxury.
But it’s not.
I’m a firm believer that if you want something, you’ll make time for it. It might mean cutting out other things that are less important, but if you really want it, you’ll make sacrifices.
This weekend I took the girls to their school to play on the playground and take their scooters around the track. I figured I’d get a nice walk in while they were doing their scooting. Um, wrong. If there’s anything all these years of motherhood should have taught me, it’s that nothing goes as planned. Ever. Ellie wandered slowly, dragging her scooter along beside her at a snail’s pace, while her sister sped around the track like there was Olympic gold at the end.
As we inched along, I got frustrated about not getting in the little bit of physical activity I thought was a given. But I quickly shifted my perspective before becoming full on doom and gloom.
I couldn’t walk briskly. So what? My meandering littlest one was happy as could be and I’d just have to make the most of it. Instead of rushing her along, I started doing lunges next to her. She found this incredibly amusing and so did her sister. We were all happy.
Why don’t I do things like that more often?! Being a mother means being a master of manipulation. You take the situation you’re presented with and you make it work.
1. Make your own cleaning products.
For serious. Instead of spraying toxic chemicals on the counter tops your kids are sure to lick (oh wait, that’s just mine?), you can easily make your own equally effective cleaners for a fraction of the price—and quickly. I promise they work and I promise you’ll want to hug me once you try it. Whether you clean with lemons or use other green cleaning recipes (and let’s not forget ditching the shampoo), you can save a serious chunk of change.
2. Cash in on birthdays.
Birthdays can get expensive. But did you know there are a ton of places that are willing to give you free stuff on your birthday (or on your kid’s birthday)? One of our favorite things to cash in on is a free cupcake at the cafe at Barnes and Noble through their B&N Kids’ Club. We also loved claiming free birthday sundaes at Friendlys before our local chain closed. The Penny Hoarder has a list of 100 places that will give you free stuff on your birthday. I’m definitely going to take note of a few I didn’t know about for when Samantha’s birthday rolls around in June!