Every year as September creeps in I give myself a pep talk about the back-to-school shuffle and how I’m going to slay it. I prep and plan and pump myself up. Lunches will be made ahead of time! Backpacks will not be forgotten! Everyone will oblige when I tell them to brush their teeth! I love the fresh start that comes with a new school year and I try to use it to improve the way things run around here. I tell myself this year will be different and I will be different and my kids will be different…or at least better dressed. But we’re just a few weeks into the first quarter and I’m already up to my old (read: so not slaying it) ways. Here, my well-intentioned resolutions and how I’ve already busted them:
1. I will not go to the bus stop/preschool drop off looking like I just rolled out of bed. Total #workfromhomeproblem, but I pretty much wear gym clothes and no makeup during the day, every day. This look is so common that when I put on jeans or mascara my kids ask if I’m going to book club or on a date night. I should just start wearing a sign that says, “I work from home.” Or maybe I’ll brush my hair.
2. I will not stop at the bagel store on the way to school to get bagels to shove into my kids’ lunch boxes. I had hoped to reserve this move for emergency mornings only but, well, it’s happened. And of course I got myself one too.
3. I will brush my daughter’s hair and pull it back into some kind of hair style or at the very least a pony tail. Last year we perfected the messy bun look (i.e., pile all the knotty strands on top of head and secure with a rubber band or two) and it’s already appeared again.
4. I will not take on too much/sign up for too many things/spread myself too thin. Last week I accepted three new work assignments, registered for four PTA events, and volunteered to be my second-grader’s class mum. D’oh!
5. I will have the kids lay out clothes the night before so there is no no-you-can’t-wear-that drama in the morning. Just today my son—who used to dress himself in polo shirts and khakis most days—came downstairs rocking red Adidas shorts, a dirty University of Michigan tee shirt, and pink “Kevin Durant” basketball socks pulled up to his knees. He was sent back upstairs to at least put on a clean shirt (and shorts that didn’t clash with his footwear). I suppose there are worse trends but what is with these socks pulled all the way up?!
6. I will have a home-cooked family meal on the table at least three nights during the week. Unless you count slicing a cucumber to go with the pizza I picked up on the way home from soccer practice…fail!
7. I will not raise my voice before 8 a.m., particularly about the following: finding shoes, putting shoes on, putting socks on first!, tying shoes, not those shoes!, teeth brushing, teeth brushing for real this time!, grabbing back packs, grabbing water bottles, getting in the $*^!%^# car, already!!! Whoops!
8. I will not be late to (or coming in hot) for the bus stop/drop-off/pick-up/etc. Despite the fact that I am up by 6:30 a.m. and the bus/drop off doesn’t happen until 9, we are often racing because, well, see every other broken resolution on this list.
There are definitely more but I’m going to stop myself before I get depressed. Seriously, though, I’m really not losing sleep about any of this stuff. For one, there is a lot I’m doing relatively well this year (I’ll save the self-praise for another post) and two: Let’s be honest, this parenting stuff is hard. I have a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 10-month old and the hours between and 6 and 9 a.m. can be intense no matter how prepared I am. But my kids are well-rested and well-fed and though they rarely look like they just stepped out of the Crew Cuts catalog (and nothing I do is Pinterest worthy), we’re all pretty happy. And that’s all I can ask for right now.
So, how about you? Are you on your game this year or have you already started with the short cuts? No judgement here!
Photo: Erin Zammett Ruddy