Back to school season, as a parent, comes with all kinds of stress and commitments.
As much as we long for it on those long days of summer, through the “I’m boreds” and the “what can we do todays,” it’s a supremely crazy time. We got used to not making lunches and not schlepping kids to activities every. single. afternoon. all. week… (what were we thinking?!) It’s a shock to the system in a lot of ways.
But I’m all for it. I love back to school season. The September state of mind is me living my best life.
I could take or leave New Year’s Day and all the resolutions that come with it. It has never felt natural to me. You’re coming off the holidays and then just going back to whatever you were doing before Christmas. September is when I turn over all my new leaves. Something about the approaching crisp weather, preparing to pull my boots and sweaters out of their hiding places makes me feel all fresh and new and ready to make 1,400 positive changes. My diet starts, I organize/purge all the closets, I pick up cooking dinner every night – all in September. All with the (possibly misguided) mindset that I’ll be a new woman by October.
Right before school starts, we have a big family meeting, and we hash out all the new (school) year things for the whole family. Bed times (always a negotiation), shower days (even worse, don’t even get me started), everyone’s recurring activities and schedules (I’m tired already), goals (eat dinner all together at least 3x a week, for example), family fun we want to have (we each get to add things: Dad says: concerts! Mom says: Tiny Town! Kid says: Casa Bonita! Mom and Dad: hope she forgets that one!) – and we write it all down on a big old window-turned-wipe off board we have hanging in the kitchen. After that, because I am a September Mom who is responsible and creative, it goes promptly and beautifully onto some note cards that live on the fridge. Chores, Goals, Fun – all have their own cards, displayed as reminders to us throughout the year of what we decided was important to do. (See also, being a May Mom, where everything on these beautiful cards flies beautifully out the window.)
I haven’t been in school myself for years – and, come September, literally nothing changes for me. I go to the same job and am in the same book club and no one even offers to take me shopping for new shoes and a new backpack (which is rude, by the way). But still, something about this time of year gets me all ready to go. And you know what? Why not embrace it? Why force it in January when it feels so right in September? I say, whatever gets you there, go with it.
If there’s a time of year you feel all fresh and new and ready for change, embrace it with open arms and let it take you where you need to go.
Truth be told, it’s just like any other season of resolutions. Some will stick, maybe for good, but many (most?) will dissolve spectacularly by the time we hit the holidays. And that’s okay, because for this month or two, we’ll be healthier and happier and feel fresh and new, like we did back when we were heading off to elementary school on the first day back from summer.