The beginning of the school year is always filled with false promises, isn't it? You swear you're going to make your kids Pinterest-pretty lunches every day, you'll never lose a permission slip, and you'll become the ultimate PTA mom. But once Halloween hits, all hell breaks loose, right? Look, it's always a good idea to prepare for the new school year because summer throws everything off, but there are back to school resolutions for moms that are not only do-able, they're totally worth it.
I've always been a huge fan of resolutions, but becoming a mom makes them even more appealing to me. My daughter isn't in school yet, but there is a definite shift from summer to school that even those of us at home with our kids can feel. Summer is all about relaxing, going with the flow, counting swims in the pool as baths, and popsicles as dinner. But once September approaches, it's time to hunker down. I want to organize the house, I want to get back into a routine, and I want to keep everything running smoothly.
Of course, it's not enough to want it to happen. You have to set goals and give yourself pep talks, especially when school makes everything a million times busier. But there are 17 back to school resolutions moms should keep in mind to help them stay on track and stay sane. (Those two don't often go together, I know. But trust me here.)
1. You Will Wear What You Want In The Carpool Line
Don't worry about if yoga pants count as pants (they do). Don't feel like you have to curl your hair. Don't be embarrassed if you prefer to be fully showered, dressed, and ready to tackle the day. Just do you and watch your stress disappear like magic. They say choose your battles, right? This is so not a battle worth fighting with yourself.
2. You Will Have Family Time Every Night
Your kids probably got used to a lot of family time during the summer with vacations, outings for ice cream, and no bedtime restrictions, but they still need that quality time during the school year (maybe even more so). According to Michigan State University, it's incredibly important to have meaningful time together as a family each night, so have dinner together if everyone's home. Enact a phone-free hour where you all play board games, do homework together, or just talk about your day. Create a new bedtime routine that involves all of the children in one bed, talking to you, and reading stories. Do what works for your family, but make sure you do it every night. It will seriously keep everyone's sanity and give you a great excuse to leave the dishes for one night so you can catch Pokemon with your kids.
3. You Will Throw In A Load Of Laundry Every Day
Just do it. It will keep you on top of the laundry, which means less of a hassle in the mornings when it's time to get dressed, and it will make you feel accomplished on even your laziest of days.
4. You Will Let Your Kids Handle Their Responsibilities
It's tempting to take over things for your kids. Not only do you want them to succeed, but sometimes you just want to do their homework or fold their laundry for them so you can get on with your life and stop asking them to do it. But the Center for Parenting Education noted that responsibility is a key component of a kid's success in school. Of course you can assist, but your children need to know that they are the ones responsible for their school work, for getting permission slips signed, and for their chores at home. If they can't find clothes in the morning, it shouldn't be a stress for you — they should've put their laundry away. When they don't make their lunch, it shouldn't put you in a rush to miss work so you can take them a sandwich to school. Kids need responsibilities for themselves, but it will also help you out, too.
5. You Will Say No
Because it's healthy, OK? You can't be expected to do it all. Learn how to say no to the bake-off, the field trip volunteering, and the PTA meetings. Donate when you can, whether it's your time or your money, but you don't have to make yourself crazy.
6. You Will Enjoy These Years
Don't stress. Enjoy these moments with your kids. Whether it's helping with homework or having good conversations on the way to drop them off, it's all enjoyable. Don't plan so much for the future that you aren't enjoying the present.
7. You Will Establish Routines
And stick to them. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, children thrive when their routines are predictable, consistent, and regular. You know what? You do, too. So establish routines that you can actually keep. Like having your kids choose their clothes for the next day before bed. Or having a morning routine everyone can stick to, like breakfast first, then getting dressed, and then brushing their teeth.
8. You Will Cut Yourself Some Slack
Because you can't do it all. Don't make yourself feel guilty for not volunteering on field day. Don't stress when you have to buy your kid's play costume instead of making it. Don't panic when you have to buy fruit cups from the store for snack time because you didn't have enough hours in the day to make something homemade. Everyone will survive and so will you.
9. You Will Order Pizza One Night A Week
Because everyone loves pizza and sometimes you need a break from cooking and washing dishes, am I right?
10. You Won't Over-Schedule Your Family
Everyone watched Simone Biles dominate at Rio, but that doesn't mean you need to sign your kids up for 18 hours of gymnastics a week. While extracurricular activities are important, so is downtime. The New York Times noted that there is a fine line between giving your kids some enrichment and totally over-scheduling them. You know your family and you know your limits — if violin lessons, basketball, and school are making everyone crazy, stressed, and chaotic, then dial back on the activities. Free time is important to kids, but you need it, too.
11. You Will Make Time For Yourself
Even if it's just a pedicure on a Thursday evening or 15 minutes alone with your coffee in the morning — you will make time for yourself. According to Today, the biggest problem moms are having is not making time for themselves. Self-care is incredibly important, so don't deny yourself of it, especially during the school year.
12. You Will Ask For Help
Your partner can help with homework. Your babysitter can run the dishwasher. Your best friend can pick your kid up from school. Use your village when you need it so you don't burn completely out.
13. You Won't Cry Over Science Fair Projects
None. It's a science fair project and it sucks, but it is not going to decide if your child becomes a sociopath, OK?
14. You Will Count Pop-Tarts As Breakfast
This is just good parenting. Cereal bars, frozen waffles — it all counts. You will not expect yourself to make a full, homemade, from-scratch breakfast every morning. You will not.
15. You Will Use Your Calendar
Look, I'm not saying you have to go crazy and color coordinate days of the week and plan out every moment of your life, but a calendar will keep you from going crazy. The Huffington Post suggest tackling your planning by month and then week so that you aren't overwhelmed, but still know what's going on. Write in those after-school programs, the football practices, and your own schedule (along with doctor appointments and things like that) so everyone knows what's going on at all times.
16. You Will Not Feel Bad About Sending Your Kid To School With A Lunchable
Because you can consider it a treat and it can save your *ss to have a few in the fridge at all times.
17. You Will Not Be Stressed AF
Just don't stress. Easier said than done, I know, but no one is going to enjoy the school year if you're constantly stressed and freaking out. Take each day as you can, OK? Parenting suggested immersing yourself in the present to keep stress away — if it isn't affecting you right now, why worry about it?