Back to school time!
For some families, it’s already started. For others, it is quickly approaching.
My son is beginning his freshman year in high school, and my daughter is starting preschool!
Woohooo!!! It’s very exciting! Exciting, but also kind of nerve-wracking.
I consider myself quite a relaxed mom. I am okay if everything isn’t perfect, and I know we can figure it out if it isn’t. However, I believe my children are in school, not me! Which means I have to support them, but not do their work for them!
Of course, I thought that’s how I was, then I realized I am constantly checking on my son and asking him questions, “Did you check this, did you check that, are you starting to review in your math class, which sports are you going to do, which clubs are you joining?”
He is a teenager, so his response is, “It’s okay, Mom! I can handle it!”
And when I hear that, I get even more nervous!
When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom doing the work for me. I remember being the one in charge of my schedule. I didn’t have my mom after me all the time.
As I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about the back to school season, I did some research, and boom!!! I am not alone! The data is insane! There are several statistics about the stress parents have during back to school time. I found this interesting, from The New York Post:
60% of parents are so stressed about back-to-school season, they lose sleep. Of the 2,000 parents of kids ages 5-18, 57% said it is the most stressful time of the year for them.
Then I was thinking about how to manage this time, and I came to the conclusion that part of it, I’ll just have to let go! It will never be perfect!
Of course, each family is different. Each family has a different support system, different flexibility from work, but at the end of the day, it’s what makes you and your family happy that matters!
As parents, we are just naturally in a constant state of concern. Of course, we need to ensure our children are safe, fed, and sheltered! Those are their most basic needs, but these are not the most difficult part of parenting.
What else are we worried about that makes us stressed?
Are we leading them in the right direction for them to have a bright future? Are they following the things we know and believe will make them successful in life? Are they healthy? Sociable? Kind? Responsible? Eating enough vegetables??
For example, during COVID, my son gave up on sports. Not intentionally, but he got behind in his performance in the soccer team, then he gave up. So before summer, when the application to participate in sports in high school, and the physical exams were happening, he didn’t want to go. We are a family that believes exercising regularly is like eating vegetables at dinner, you have to do it! So we make it as a rule! You have to do a sport. It is okay if it’s not soccer, but it has to be something, in school or out of school.
I told him that while he figures out which sport he wants to try next, he has to do something. He decided to go to CrossFit (everyday), and I made it mandatory to go to sport tryouts for the high school.
And this was not flexible.
I feel there are some things we need to let go and be flexible, and others things treated as a core value, a non-negotiable. The key is to find balance. Determine what is most important to you and your family, then decide what you can remove to lighten the load.
For example, I am being flexible with the commitment he made regarding learning guitar.
We made a deal that he would stick with it for 3 months, which he did…but then he didn’t get into it, so he made the decision to stop. I didn’t feel great about it, it felt like he was giving up, but I chose to be flexible. I let that one go.
However, the chores at home — a non-negotiable.
How do you go about deciding what to let go of? Make 2 categories — what is a core value, a non-negotiable, and what is flexible. This is important because it gives you some clarity of what you can let go. Is my son learning how to play guitar a core value? No. Is it important to me that he at least tries to do something new for an extended amount of time before quitting? Yes. Him playing soccer is not a core value, but a healthy lifestyle is.
Another important factor is your time! ME TIME.
Please don’t forget about yourself in the middle of the craziness of the day. Always block some for you. This time is so important for whatever you want to do, what makes you feel calm and at peace, including some self-care time.
To all moms and dads out there, I wish you all a great back to school season, and please, take care of yourself! Let go of some things that aren’t bringing you joy or causing you more stress than they’re worth!