Back In the Swing of Things…

How many years have I been doing this now?


Nine back-to-schools under my belt and every single year I trick myself into thinking I can make it perfect.  I can make us perfect.  Every year I catch myself thinking…

Maybe if I’m just more prepared.  Maybe if I start a little earlier.  Maybe if I plan just the right back-to-school breakfast and after school snack.  Maybe it won’t be a total shitshow.

But it always is.  It always is a little bit shitty.

The truth is I am the mom to three boys (and two littles) who spent their entire summer vacation sleeping in and rushing through chores to get to Fortnite or swimming at the rec center or riding roller coasters at Lagoon.  Most days they skipped breakfast to make gigantic plates of nachos with root beer for lunch and in the afternoons they rode their bikes to the shaved ice stand or grocery store for candy.  We visited all the cousins and stayed up way too late playing cards with their grandparents.  They snacked on orange floats or fresh strawberry shortcake or smores around our new firepit before collapsing into bed at 10 or 11PM.

Day after day after day of fun and food and Fortnite.

Back to school is JUST SO HARD for me and my crew.

There are so many questions…

What did we even do over summer break??  There are only 18 summers…was this one good enough?  What should we squeeze in this last week before the boys go back to school????

Wait, when is back to school night?  Were they supposed to do some math over the summer?  Who is the new 5th grade teacher?  Did I see something about a summer book report?  How will we ever get back into the swing of things??

And then there is just so much to do…

New school supplies.  New water bottles.  New underwear.  Backpacks and lunchboxes unearthed from the bottom of the closet.  Haircuts and nail trims.  Shoes and clean uniforms.

Yesterday after the boys packed bags with school supplies, I sat down with my notebook to PLAN.

I like to say I am a recovering perfectionist who is also a recovering list maker…but sometimes I forget about the recovering.  I just love to make lists about all the things I’d like to do better (read things I’d like to control).  And it only serves to feed my anxiety.

So many lists!

Lists about dinner ideas.  Lists about healthy breakfasts and what to put in their lunchboxes.  Lists about my daily schedule which theoretically includes a trip to the gym, a daily cleaning chore, my 5-year-old’s homeschool routine and possible ‘field trips’, craft ideas, a blogging schedule and time set aside to study for my upcoming Family Medicine board exam.  Lists of chores for the kids.  Lists about screen time limits.

Lists and lists and lists.

And then I couldn’t sleep.  It was too much.  Too much ‘TO DO’ to think about.  Too many self-imposed expectations.  Too many areas I know already (without a doubt) will fall short.

No matter how hard I try I can’t make it easier.  And I certainly can’t make it perfect.

Want to hear my wild idea for this year’s back-to-school???

I’m letting it all go.  I’m loosening my grip.  I’m ripping up every last list.  And I’m going to declare we are ready (or as ready as we can be).

Summer was awesome!

The kids are fine!

We are ready for back to school!

And here’s how it will probably go…

My kids will eat Cheerios (like they always do) and I’ll pack them a sandwich (like I always have) and we’ll rush around to get out the door on time amid lots of groaning and complaining and bickering and whining and probably crying (because that’s how it always goes).

I’ll drop them off and take some first-day-of-school pictures despite everyone’s eye rolls then I probably won’t make it to the gym.  I may get some cleaning done. I’ll push the little kids on our swings.  I’ll savor naptime.  But I’m guessing I won’t get much studying accomplished.

Then the first day will be done.

I’ll pick up three tired boys from their first day of school and everyone will argue and bicker and annoy each other until we get home when they’ll hit the pantry.  HARD.  I’ll attempt to get dinner in the oven while everyone complains about homework before soccer practice.  Then I’ll rush them all off to bed.

It will probably be a total shitshow.

Yep.  I’m letting go of perfection and we’ll be back in the swing of things in no time!!

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