The back-to-school season is upon us, and I can hardly believe my child will be settling in to her first classroom setting just next week. I'm partly in shock over how fast time seems to be flying - it feels as if it were just yesterday when she entered the world, so you can imagine how I must be feeling now that I'm thinking of her entering her first preschool experience.
It's all bittersweet, but as a very busy business owner, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to this experience.
As a sometimes overworked boss-mom, I am looking forward to the few hours each day that I will have to myself to concentrate on all things business. Most days I am working from home, and doing that with a toddler in the house should probably qualify me for an Olympic Gold Medal in the multitasking category. I am so looking forward to being able to jump on important client calls without having to plug my daughter's mouth with goldfish to keep her from screaming at the top of her lungs.
For the last few months, I have found myself feeling quite anxious over how I would manage keeping my daughter organized and ready for school on a day-to-day basis while simultaneously managing my life. She'll need healthy lunches, packed and ready to go, five times a week. She'll need an extra set of clothes, a blanket, and extra diapers ready in her backpack each day. She'll need even more clothes for her after school activities. She'll need to get to these afterschool activities having already had a snack and another diaper change.
I am exhausted just thinking about it.
Having been somewhat of a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of gal for most of my life, I'd have to admit that motherhood was a harsh dose of reality that forced me to realize how much that would no longer work. I had a tendency to be a bit, um, disorganized, and in running a business OR raising a toddler, disorganized just doesn't work.
In the interest of keeping things sane in my household, being able to stay on top of my business, and ensure my child gets to school on time each day without looking like something the cat dragged in to her cute little classroom, I have put together a "stay on top of my game'' strategy. This is to ensure all goes smoothly from my daughter's first day of school until her last (and then I'll hopefully have caught the organization bug by then)!
Here's what I came up with - fingers crossed for our success!
3. Meal prep.
The only time I've ever meal prepped was that one time before my wedding when I decided I needed to replicate the lifestyles of all those Instagram fit chicks to look my best in my wedding dress. That didn't last very long. But now, as I'm faced with week after week of having to make lunches and ensure I have a healthy meal on the table for dinner each night, I know I'd be smarter to plan ahead. Cutting up daughter's favorite fruits, preparing her sandwiches, and ensuring my refrigerator is stocked with a week's worth of dinner ingredients will absolutely be happening. This will not only save me so much time scrambling to get lunch ready in the morning, I will finally feel like one of those "together" moms. Because I don't know about you, but the last thing I'd like to do at the end of a long work day is drag an exhausted child to the supermarket to first decide what meal would take the least amount of time to cook up.
2. Get Packing.
As I mentioned above, my little learner will need a ridiculous amount of armor neatly packed into her backpack and her after school bag each day. As soon as I'm done meal prepping each Sunday afternoon, I'll be outfit prepping - laying out each of the three hundred changes of clothes my toddler daughter will need to get her through a week. Because all of my daughter's clothing will be laid out and ready to go each morning, I can just throw them into one of the many Nik's Naks bags I've already ordered and head straight out the door. This will help to keep my daughter looking as adorable as she is and not like some crazy bag lady, as I shovel her into school each day with half of her wardrobe in tow. Trust me, trying to figure out what my daughter should wear each day is as laborious as it is for myself. Oh, and bonus mom tip, order your child's school gear monogrammed, or just order some pre-made labels - because no one likes taking a sharpie to fabric, or having their child come home with the wrong socks!
All of the planning and organization in the world will only make sure you stay on schedule and save yourself some time and sanity. The most important tip of all is to remain realistic. You're a busy working mom, not a magician. Not everything will go smoothly, and most days you'll be happy just to have made it to school dismissal on time. Take it easy on yourself, mama, and best wishes for a successful, and minimally-stressful school year!