As the long, lazy days of summer dwindle, moms everywhere start to feel stressed about “Back to School”. There’s scheduling after school activities, planning carpools, shopping for clothing, finding childcare coverage and attending the never ending orientations, class breakfasts, and curriculum nights (multiplied by the number of children you have) that schools love to host. It’s a lot for even the most organized of moms. So, before you throw in the towel, here are some tips to get you through the fall frenzy.
- Edit your children’s clothes. Before you buy anything new for the fall, revisit all of the heavy, winter items that you saved from last year, eliminating anything that doesn’t fit. Check your stash of hand me downs to see what does fit. Once you’ve edited and purged, make a list and buy your child just what they need…and maybe just a few things that are so cute you can’t resist!
- Create a study space in your home. This is nothing more complicated than having a clear surface, good lighting, and essential supplies. Use stackable paper trays that can be filled with lined paper, white paper, and colored paper. Then, use small plastic drawers for highlighters, binder clips, post-it notes, tape and glue. Pencils and pens can be kept in a decorative mug or cup on the desk. Where your child does his/her homework is less important than having supplies that are accessible.
- Use a master calendar. Whether you affix a calendar to a wall, post it on the refrigerator, or keep track of your family’s activities electronically, what’s important is that every activity for each family member is recorded in one place. This guarantees that you’ll avoid the stress of double booked activities, impossible logistics, and overscheduling.
- Institute weekly family meetings that prepare each member of your family for the upcoming week. Young children might remind you that they need to bring cookies for the bake sale, older children might remind you that they need to be driven somewhere, and you can remind your family that you won’t be home for dinner on a particular night.
- Don’t be afraid to say no…to heading the school bake sale, play dates your child doesn’t want, and activities that are simply inconvenient. Volunteer if you’d like, but choose what you’ll enjoy and what won’t overtax you. For example, by volunteering to plan the parents’ night out, you can ensure that its location and date work for you, and you’re not roped into a year-long commitment.
Barbara Reich is the founder of Resourceful Consultants, LLC, a firm specializing in the organization of people, their lives, and physical spaces. Known for creating solutions that are as aesthetically appealing as they are practical, Barbara transforms each space from the inside out. From powerful executives to busy mothers, clients appreciate Barbara’s unwavering confidentiality and eye for design. In 2014, Barbara co-founded Never Caught Up, LLC, focusing on work life integration, women’s empowerment, and wellness. Barbara earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Business Administration from New York University. A native of North Miami Beach, Barbara lives in Manhattan with her husband and teenage twins. Barbara has appeared on the Today Show, Inside Edition, Fox News, Good Morning America and New York 1 and has been featured in the New York Times, New York Post, Real Simple, InStyle, People StyleWatch, Men’s Health, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, AARP Magazine, and O Magazine among other publications. She is also the author of Secrets of an Organized Mom, winner of the Mom’s Choice Award.