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Coping with Back to School Woes

Posted by Rachel Bollin on

From sleeping in to alarm clocks, back to school season is here.  Our social media accounts are flooded with photos of smiling kids in new clothes, posing behind chalkboards that announce their grade levels for the new year.  It gives us a feeling joy to see all these amazing children off to a fresh start.  Old friends and new beginnings, the possibilities are endless. 

While it's all exciting, there is something we don't talk much about.  We tend to leave out just how hard those first weeks back to school can be on just about everyone in the family.  For most of us, back to school isn't a gradual transition back to getting up early and spending evenings doing homework.  Instead, it's like ripping off a band aid.  You can almost hear the RIIIIIIIIIP sound as you wake your littles up bright and early for the first time in 2 months.  No more slowly starting the day with breakfast and a smile.  Instead, we've got to get out that door and be at school before 8 am!  No more afternoons filled with crayons and legos, it's all about that homework.  Sure it's entertaining but it's also really hard for some children.  One of my kids sails through challenges as if she was put on this earth to see just how much she can accomplish.  But the other looks at life differently.  She hates to be rushed and pushing her too hard causes her to completely shut down.  So as you can imagine, going from the carefree days of summer, to deeply scheduled school days, is really rough.  

My job from 6 am-7:30am is to get my girls off to school in the most efficient manner possible. I have a mental check list running through my head the entire time.  It's the closest I'll ever be to a drill sergeant.  However, this week I had to stop, ignore that checklist and listen to what my child needed.  Nora was breaking down.  She was frustrated, tired, and none of us were going to make it out that front door alive if I didn't take time to just let her breathe.  

So we did just that, I stopped what I was doing, took her hands in mine and we sat on the floor to breathe.  We practiced our yoga breathing while sitting cross legged staring at one another.  It took 5 minutes for her little face to relax and 2 more minutes later, a smile returned.  She reached out to me giving me a giant hug.  "Thank you, mommy."  It was at that moment I realized, this transition is hard for our babies.  As an adult, if I take on a new workload or project it stresses me out, how can I not expect the new school year to stress my children out.  Lesson learned.  Now each morning I promised myself, I'm going to stop and look for clues that my girls need more time to breathe and pace themselves.  If it means we have to drive to school instead of walk or eat our breakfast on the way to school drop off, so be it.  By October, we will all be back in the swing of things and maybe we won't disgruntled over our new workload.  If not, we can still stop and just breathe for a bit.  It's ok to be kind to our feelings.  

Cheers to new beginnings and staying sane.