GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- It’s back to school eve and I’m officially behaving like a crazed lunatic. It’s like I’m an exhausted version of the Energizer Bunny and can’t stop going and going and going. At our house things are a bit unique for back to school. In addition to getting the kids ready my husband, a second grade teacher, is busy getting ready too. Before kids I would be busy helping him write out name tags and job charts and labeling 27 kids folders. We’d spend our evening cutting rolls of laminated tags, posters, and cutouts. I’d take the time to buy him a special back to school gift and wake up early to make sure he got off ok. Fast forward to two kids later and back to school has gotten interesting.
My son started young 5’s and my 2-year-old daughter is back to daycare after both spending the summer at home with dad. We started the weekend by heading up north for the long weekend. I knew better than to come home on Monday and try to cram in all my preps so we drove everyone home Sunday night which turned out to be a great idea. Here’s what my “day before back to school” looked like:
T-Minus 24 Hours to Back to School
7am: Wake up to 2-year-old screaming “Mooooommmm” from her crib. Look over at sleeping husband and decide to be nice and let him sleep in since he starts school tomorrow too.
7:05am: Start coffee and concede to baby girl’s demands of juice and muffins.
7:10am: Turn on Disney’s Frozen movie for the millionth time.
7:15am: Start IV drip of coffee and browse Pinterest for meal ideas for the week.
7:30am: Child 2 wakes up and complains about Frozen being on. Wrestles child 1 for the remote. Fighting ensues.
7:45am: I unload the dishwasher and reload with last night’s dishes. (I promise myself to stop eating late night! No more pizza at 11pm!)
8:00am: Pour coffee #2.
8:15am: Husband wakes up and heads to the gym.
8:30am: Start to clean like a crazy women. 1st project- clutter piles on top of fridge, microwave and dining room cabinet. I WILL DO THIS! I’ve been trying all summer with no luck.
9:30am: Our daycare provider stops by with donuts and chocolate milk to wish our son a happy back to school tomorrow! I chat and continue to clean the kitchen while she catches up with the kids about their summer.
10am: Polished all of the cupboards with Magic Erasers. These things truly are magic! Those nasty drips had been stuck there practically all summer! Gone!
10:15am: Finally cleaned child 1’s goey handprints from my glass front cabinets after despising them for about 3 months.
10:30am: Husband walks in and I solicit praise for all my hard cleaning!
10:45am: Head to basement to get in my workout and leave him with the kids. Sweat for 30 minutes and try to get my body back after the 11pm pizza binge last night.
11:15am: Change over the laundry- again.
11:15am: Husband leaves to go setup his classroom and get ready for his first day of school. Luckily Grandma calls and wants to take child 2 school shopping for a first day of school outfit.
11:16am: Do the happy dance!
11:20am: Get kids 2 shipped off with Grandma and console kid 1 who is sad she didn’t get to go.
11:30am: Make kid 1 a fabulous lunch of her favorite things then watch her throw it all on the ground.
12:30pm: Put kid 1 down for a nap.
12:35pm: Go downstairs to change laundry and see what a mess the laundry room is. Get sidetracked and clean it up. I’m certain this is the point when my OCD kicked in. I began to convince myself that if every facet of our home and lives were not organized then we’d start the school year on a terrible note and never be able to regain control and life would be chaos.
1pm: Head out to garage fridge to bring in the groceries and make a meal plan.
1:01pm: Notice the garage is mess and start cleaning “my side” in order to make sure it’s organized so when I have to get kids in the car tomorrow morning I can actually open the door and not be blocked by strollers, swim vests, wagons and more.
1:30pm: Finally get inside and evaluate the meal plan list. Start cooking like a maniac. Prep 8 adult lunches, 2 kid dinners, breakfast burritos and 4 weeknight meals. Do a million dishes.
3:30pm: By a miracle child 1 is still sleeping and child 2 hasn’t returned from shopping. I kick it into turbo speed. Clean and organize the fridge and cupboards to accommodate the meals.
3:45pm: Child 1 is awake and child 2 comes home.
4pm: Husband arrives home with projects in hand. I convince him to take child 1 outside while child 2 puts on his new back to school boxers and runs around the house half naked.
4:30pm: Start dinner.
5:30pm: Eat dinner and clean up.
6pm: Bath time for kiddos. (Husband does this while I clean the bathroom and our bedroom). We certainly can’t start the school year with a messy bedroom.
6:15pm: My back is hurting and I’m getting cranky. I vacuum everything (again) and get the kids rooms organized.
6:30pm: Husband and I tackle 8 baskets of laundry. Folded and put away.
7:30pm: Start bedtime routines.
8pm: Pack kids bags and label all the school supplies.
8:30pm: Help husband cut more laminate.
9pm: So tired. Watch TV.
10pm: Go to bed. Sweet, sweet, bed.
Here’s the moral of this story. Back to school is more than a “day”. It’s a lifestyle change for nine months. I think every mom can relate. I know that if every basket of that laundry wasn’t folded and put away it would have been okay. But I also know that it starts a domino effect of frustration that only grows worse over time. When you’re running late and your kid can’t find clean underwear so you dig feverishly through the living room laundry. Then they cry because it’s the Nemo underwear and they wanted the Ninja Turtle underwear. Then you come home to find the laundry all over the living room floor and you get behind making dinner because you’re cleaning up the clothes. Then the kids cry because they’re hungry so you give them a snack and then they never eat their dinner. You know…. that sort of thing.
I think every busy mom knows the key to success is preparation! Pack the bags the night before, lay out their clothes, and make the lunches in advance. A little ( or a lot) of prep can go a long way!
Happy back to school to all of the exhausted moms (and dads) out there!