Is September the new January? As a mother of two girls going off to big school for the first time – it sure feels that way.
For the first time ever my family was going to have to be legitimately on time five days a week. That scared me (and still does). We have never had a same day or schedule in five years. Having a flexible schedule felt like the only consistent thing that worked for us. So, what now?
Those of you who know me personally probably already know that I’m a systems person. I always face challenges or problems by first trying to create a system for it. So…. this is how I prepared to for my new year to begin.
1. We bought and set up a hall tree for our kids to have their own dedicated cubby and space for their stuff that they are accountable for. They helped Aidan build it and then we all set it up together – deciding where things would go; what spaces would be for what. The kids really bought into the idea of their new space and understood that they were responsible for it. Do I still have to remind them to hang up their coats, to put away their shoes and backpack when they come home? Of course! But I don’t have to tell them where to do so anymore.
2. We bought fancy new bento box style lunch boxes – called Yum Boxes. We love them! They are divided into labelled sections (fruits, veggies, proteins, etc.) that encourage our kids to make healthy choices when we prepare their lunches together. The walls of the bento boxes are tall and leak proof. No matter how many times they flip or drop their lunch box – each section remains separate (even the yogurt!).
They are super light, extremely easy to open and small enough to fit in their backpacks. We bought them two weeks before school started so we could practice making lunches together and have been using them every day since. That’s what I call a win!
4. Five days before school started we began our new morning routine. I made two adorable little clipboards with a list of tasks that they would have to complete each morning with a special marker to check off each box; motivating them to keep moving forward. Wow – this system really worked! No more nagging from me in the mornings. The first thing they ask for when they wake up is their clipboard and they run through their tasks like little bosses.
When we had our practice days – we walked through the list together; discussing what might be missing or what would need to be adjusted. So far, we have added cuddles and gummy vitamins to the list. I think we have almost finalized our morning routine. Once I have full agreement from the girls, I’ll laminate the list and the official morning routine will be set in motion!
6. Aidan and I both made sure that our own self-care was on the schedule and a priority this year, as well. This was a big deal for us. Setting our intentions for taking care of ourselves and our children’s needs felt really great. Demonstrating to our kids that our needs matter, too, felt really important. Communicating our needs to each other and setting ourselves to be successful to meet those needs felt like the only way we were going to achieve them.
So.. here we are. Halfway through September and you might be wondering… how is it all going? I mean – Schoolhouse had a 10 year anniversary, our kids went to big school for the first time, there was a category 2 hurricane, we lost power at our home for four days and we have officially entered into our busiest fall work season ever.
It’s going. Our systems are working, although they are consistently tweaked and adjusted. Some days feel good, others feel horrible, but overall – most days feel really rushed. This is change. This is how it feels. Up and down. It’s going to feel this way for a while and my whole family is going to have to adjust to it. I try to remind myself on the low days that it takes 66 days to truly affect and make change.
66 days to go through all the feelings associated with making that change and a lot of them don’t feel great. I need to be gentle with myself and my family through this time of change. We need to keep showing up for ourselves and each other and do the work to implement this change. It is a lot. One of these days it will get easier.
September is my new January. 48 days to go.
P.S: I’m assuming illness is just around the corner. Thankfully, there are plenty of meals in our fridge and freezer.
Good luck out there, friends. The struggle is real, but we’ve got this!
In health and happiness,