Ever since school started, my days have been all kinds of nuts. I never really got the “back to school busy” that I always heard about. How busy can you be? Your kids are in school! That was of course because my kids weren’t IN school. But now that school has started for all of them — kindergarten, pre-K and an infant morning session for my little one — things have been crazy around here.
My mornings consist of getting all the kiddos ready, which can go really smoothly because two of three of them can get themselves dressed or can go terribly wrong. Like last Friday, school picture day, the one day they needed to look decent, my 3-year-old decides that LIFE IS THE WORST. His sock is just WRONG. His pants are “too bumpy” (because they have pockets and buttons). It takes him 20 minutes to get upstairs and trade his pants and socks, and I finally had to go help him with the sock endeavor. The socks were still all sorts of wrong, so I fix them three times, telling him that as it’s a brand-new sock, this is really about as perfect as socks get (hashtag life lesson). Then his shoes are dusty, so I wipe them off with a baby wipe. Then they are wet because of the baby wipe. Luckily he got it together otherwise he would have learned a little thing about the consequences of throwing a 30-minute fit: No time for breakfast.
I then run to drop them off at school, which is an amazing change from daycare drop-offs of our recent past: I open the van door, they hop out and run up to school, hand in hand. Then, I drive over to Emery’s school, drop her off and have TWO HOURS at home. Two hours of peace from the kiddos would seem like a perfect time to work out or relax, except that I have to fit in about 10 hours of work in that time period. Then most days of the week it’s morning pickup for the two little kids and a 3 o’clock pickup for the big one. Which leads to another interesting element of my day: The nap that Owen takes on the way to pickup that leads to me pushing a stroller and carrying a sleeping, grumpy 3-year-old on my hip.
Then let’s talk form-filling-out and homework. How is it that in this age of technology and digital everything that we are required to fill out our name and contact information about a million and one times to enroll a kid in school? It seems like we should be beyond this. Then there are parent nights and back-to-school nights, and it is only now, three weeks in that things just might begin to calm down a little. To put it in visual form, on the left below is my August calendar where I’ve got things like a week-long vacation, Turtle Dance at the library, getting the car brakes done, hanging out in jammies until noon. On the right, a well-oiled machine that allows for no errors, constant alerts popping up on my phone so I’m not forgetting anything, and a mental check-in each time I put on my seat belt to make sure I’ve got the kids with me who need to be and I’m not leaving anyone anywhere.
I’m still working out how exactly to fit workouts into this schedule as I feel like I’m already sprinting from one thing to the next. But honestly, as crazy as the schedule is, I love it. I love being forced to get out of the house everyday no matter what (noon jammies are fun, but make you feel a little lazy). I love being part of the bigger school community and being reminded of just how much elementary school rocks. I love the independence the kiddos are gaining and seeing what books they’ll bring home on Thursdays when their classes go to the library. I love that I get dedicated time to myself and that the little one gets tons of attention and time to play with kids her own age in a classroom where Elmo is still the boss.
I’m going to catch my breath soon and when I do, I’ll carve out a little more time for myself to exercise and relax. Until then, my constant sprint feels like cardio. And strength? I mentioned carrying my napping 3-year-old while pushing a stroller, right?
Has this month been jam-packed with back-to-school insanity for you, too? —Erin