back to school

Fall Rhythms and Routines

Fall Rythms and Routines.png

The house is quiet this morning. I showered and put on mascara without a tiny interrupter asking if she could have second breakfast yet. Anyone else have kids with Hobbit-like stomachs? 

But not today. Today we launched our two girls into the world after their favorite breakfast, a quick prayer and extra hugs. The prep work of getting them back into school is mostly done. We bought the notebooks, extra folders, a new lunchbox and non-itchy socks. They are ready! Mission accomplished, right?

In years past, this is where I’ve missed a step. I’ve focused so hard on the launching, I haven’t considered the questions around re-entry. What’s the plan for when they get home? And I don’t just mean questions about snacks and screen time, but what kind of mood and spirit do I want the afternoons and evenings to look like? And how can I teach them more autonomy this year? How can I get them on board with packing healthy lunches for themselves and not leaving their water bottles and shoes strewn all over the house?!

We need new rhythms. Ones for each point in the day that build on themselves as the kids find their new normal routine. I don’t expect them to have it all together the first week (or month!) but I do want to teach them more skills and responsibility with each school year as they grow.

Here are some preliminary thoughts as we kick off Fall. Maybe it will be helpful for you as you launch and prepare for re-entry with your own kiddos.


The 3 R’s of Establishing a Fall Rhythm


  1. Retraining - This started before the first day of school, but I know it will take several weeks to implement. Getting up, dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, get meds, etc. It’s a lot of small steps to get done, and I don’t want to have to repeat it everyday for the rest of my days. But they still need these reminders. What tools or strategies can I implement to help retrain my kids this Fall? Do we need a checklist? A dry erase board? Alarm clocks? Or just more practice and grace? Yes, always more grace.


  1. Resetting - This is a huge struggle in our house. Prepping for the next day tends to get forgotten between dinner cleanup and bath time. Then the next morning, we’re scrabbling to find notebooks and that favorite sweatshirt. Making this an evening rhythm will take some effort on my part, but habits don’t happen overnight. It’s worth the extra time and energy for a peaceful morning.


  1. Reflecting - Sitting down each Sunday and taking a look at the past week is so helpful. What went smooth? What could be changed or adjusted? What do we need to pay attention to? What can we let go? Getting my kids into this habit will hopefully be a skill they use and implement often. Reflection is too often overlooked, but so valuable for moving forward.


This is where I’m putting my energy this Fall when it comes to establishing new rhythms. If you’re curious how I implement them, be sure to follow along on Instagram. I’ll start a highlight there for Fall routines and rhythms. We’re in this together!


Happy September, friends!

xo

Erin

The Guilt-Free Guide for Back-to-School

back-to-school, mom guilt


Well, it’s that time of year again. The hot and steamy wasteland of August is finally coming to an end. My kids are sufficiently packed, prepped and waiting anxiously for their meet-the-teacher Open House.


It’s also that time where I take stock of our Summer. Did we do everything we talked about? Did we connect, rest and have fun? I hope so. I experience every emotion the week before my kids go back to school. I have butterflies, (will they have friends in their class?) anxieties, (will Amelia be okay at the peanut-free lunch table?) and hopeful anticipation (will the teacher get her?).


And all of this is mixed with my own feelings of inadequacy and a sufficient dose of Mom guilt. Can you relate? If this sounds like you at all, here are five steps I’ve been using to shed that guilt. We could all use less guilt and more grace this school year.

5 Steps for Easing Back into School with Less Guilt and More Grace:


Step 1: LEAVE IT UNFINISHED.

Lots of things are left undone on the Bucket List we diligently crafted in June. June Mom was do-all-the-things! But August Mom.Is.Tired. And that’s okay. 

Circle one or two things from that big, dreamy bucket list and shelf them for next year. OR, better yet, let’s work them into our Fall or Winter Break calendar. If you didn’t make it to the water park, maybe head to the carnival when it’s in town. Swap that Summer specific item for something that can work in a later season.

We are not machines, we cannot (and should not) make EVERYTHING happen when we want it to happen. Give yourself grace on what’s left undone. 


Step 2:  LET IT BE A MESS. OR DON’T.

There’s a strong chance at this point of Summer Vacation that your house looks like a bomb went off. Repeat after me: It’s fine. It’s all going to be fine.

Eventually, the legos will be cleared off the dining room table and your kitchen will smell like citrus cleaning spray instead of moldy pool towels.

You’ll get there. Let the mess linger for just a bit longer. If it’s really making you crazy, then mandate Summer-Clean-Up day with the kids. Reward with popsicles, screen time or a pool afternoon. 

Ultimately, do whatever you need to do to feel like a person. It’s going to be fine.

back-to-school, mom guilt


Step 3: FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.

You may feel simultaneously gleeful and broken-hearted about another Summer ending. We have the capacity to feel both. Do not be shamed by the threat-like reminder of “We only have 18 Summers with our kids!”. Don’t let that guilt determine how you go through your days. We can be excited for the space and time again, but also wish we could hold on to that freedom and fun a bit longer. Motherhood is full of grey space and randomly crying for no reason. If you start to get worked up, see Step 1.


Step 4: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.

If you’re staring down a shopping or to-do list a mile long (been there), fear not. It’ll all get done…eventually. It just might not happen this week. Some of these loose ends might not be figured out until September. If at all. 

Buy the notebooks, do the things, but let go of everything being perfectly ready for school on day one. Inevitably, they’ll come home with another list or assignment that you missed or couldn’t anticipate. Do what you can do and let go of the rest. Remember, done is better than perfect.


Step 5: PLAN YOUR DAY ONE.

Plan your Day One now. Nope, not for the kids. You. How will you mark the the first day of school? Will you park it in front of Netflix for an hour or swing thru the Starbucks lane? It’s a big deal for the kids, but also for you. It’s the ending of a season and the start of something new. Take a moment to notice your feelings, mark the day and treat yourself.


I’m cheering you on! Happy First Day, Momma.


 

P.S. Looking for community this Fall? Join our Limitless Motherhood group! We share our weekly goals, dinner tips and lots of encouragement. See you there!

mom-guilt-back-to-school