The lazy days of summer were fantastic, and now it’s back to the school year. That means a busy schedule full of times when you need to get the kids to varying places at different times. There’s school, sports, clubs, and sleepovers. But what about you? You still have to get to work, workout, and have time for yourself and your partner. How can you manage the back to school schedule without going crazy?
The Workweek That Never Ends
According to a new study by Welch’s reported in Working Mother, the average working mom clocks in 98 hours a week. Her days starts at 6:30 am and goes until 8:30 pm.
While most of the studies are about moms, let’s not shortchange the dads. They’re putting in 40-hour workweeks and helping at home too. And you can’t punch a clock on the kids’ needs, whether you’re a mom or dad.
It’s really no wonder parents are so stressed all the time. While heading back to school offers some relief from having to entertain kids or drive them to various camps, it also brings up a host of new issues. During the school year, there’s a schedule, but time tends to revolve around the kids. There are fewer vacations, getaways, or just lazy days to enjoy each other and relax.
Carve Out Time for Yourself
In that same Welch’s study, moms self-reported that they only find about an hour each day of "me" time. That’s when kids, bosses, and partners aren’t vying for attention and a parent can really relax. If you’re going to keep your sanity for back to school and all year, that has to change.
It’s vital to your wellbeing to create some time for yourself each day.
If you have a partner in the picture, schedule time for each of you daily and weekly. Perhaps you go to the gym in the mornings while your hubby gets the kids ready for school. Maybe you each have a girls’ and guys’ night out weekly. And what about your hobbies? If one likes to paint and the other likes to golf, give each other permission to enjoy those activities on your own.
Solo parents may find it more challenging to create me time, but it’s far from impossible. Trade off parenting responsibilities with another solo parent, find a babysitter, or take a long lunch once a week for a massage or other pampering activity (like CoolSculpting at Bodify!). Just reading a book for an hour while the kids are asleep can help you re-center and recharge.
Follow Your Schedule—with Flexibility
Schedules are great, and they certainly do keep us on track. These days, we all have our iCal or Google calendar at our fingertips, so it’s easier than ever to color code events and stay organized. But even the most with-it parent is bound to get overscheduled at some point.
Allow yourself the flexibility to skip something once in a while.
Is it really imperative that you attend the third meeting on the same topic—this week? Or that the kids go to that early Saturday morning coaching session? Many of your to-do items are non-negotiable, but when they are, it’s okay to say no to a couple of things if it means regaining your sanity.
During Back to School, Keep Breathing
Remember one really important thing: Nothing lasts forever. When things feel overwhelming, stop and take a breath. Look at your schedule and see if you can cut anything. Pull out your phone and cruise Facebook for 10 minutes. Take a bubble bath. Take the kids for impromptu ice cream.
In a month or so, you’ll have everything handled and be planning your vacations and getaways for the next school break. You got this.