a little different from my other fashion-focused posts, today I’m chatting about how to survive the back to school season. we started back last thursday and as prepared as one can think they are, a new routine can throw the whole fam for a loop! so today, I’m sharing some tips on how to get back on track this school year without totally losing your mind while still feeding your family and not missing any important events. it is possible, promise!
I’m a natural planner. I like lists and I get way too excited over a new planner! no matter what type of person you are, planning is key to surviving anything, including the school year. so get yourself a planner – whether a physical one or digital, you need to put stuff in your calendar – period!
I use a few different tools for planning out our life:
- I prefer this planner to keep track of my momlife, personal life and work stuff.
PRO TIP: Once you get the kids’ school calendar for the year, take a few minutes and add all of their half-days and days-off into your calendar so you’re not totally clueless as to why the bus didn’t show up!
- I like notebooks (these are my fave – they’re too pretty!) to keep to-do lists of everything from picking up a new pair of cleats in a bigger size bc their feet NEVER stop growing to mailing out S&D lookbooks to customers.
- I love using Wunderlist to keep tracks of tasks and things we run out of as well as blog post ideas – I have like 15 different lists in the app. You can also share lists with people so the hubs and I can both add to the Grocery or House Supplies list when we run out of things and either of us can access it while at the store or Target.
- I use the Apple Reminders App for things like when the trash and recycling goes out and to wash my face every night!
Additionally, there are two things the hubs and I do to keep our lives in line bc we both have a ton of meetings on any given day and with two tween boys, there needs to be a plan:
one: a shared google calendar
this is KEY! what we did was we created a google email address “rosadofamilycalendar” or something like that and added it to both of our phones as our default calendar. that way, when we added in events, meetings, games, etc – we were seeing the same calendar so nothing is missed! so yeah, its free and a life saver – do it now!
two: sunday night game plan
this is a tip I learned from the fab Mrs. Rachel Hollis: every Sunday night, we grab our shared calendar and a notebook and we go over our week (we also go over the next quarter, but lets start small, k?) so as the boys are getting showered up for the next day, we sit on the couch, in our comfy clothes and discuss the upcoming week: “do we need a babysitter?” “who’s taking which kid where?” “what do we need to do to cover all of this?” “do we need to get your suit dry cleaned for this wedding on Saturday?” we go over everything and get on the same page so nothing is missed and both of us are in the know. this is such a help for not only our family, but our marriage bc its just another way to communicate with each other. don’t get me started on marriage tips – I’ll leave that to the hubs.
with a new school year and kids getting older (why can’t they stop growing up??), things may change and it’s wise to decide those things together and then set the expectations with your kids.
in the morning: we wake the boys up at 5:45am on school mornings and we expect them to get up, make their beds, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and hair, make sure to PUT ON DEODORANT and once they’re all set for the day, THEN they can check their phones before leaving for the bus at 6:45.
*speaking of mornings – check out my self-care routine for some helpful tips on not only waking up early, but creating your own intentional morning routine. this book has been helping me wake up early lately!*
after school: they get themselves a snack, do something active for an hour, do their homework (one upstairs, one downstairs so they’re not distracted by each other) and when they’re done, THEN they can use their phones, play video games, etc.
before bed: they have to make their lunches for the next day, shower for the next day and get ready for bed by 9:00.
it may sound strict, but when we develop routines, it keeps us on track and also holds us accountable to what’s important. and again, communicating this to the boys before school starts sets the expectation so there’s no surprises.
you gotta feed ’em, right?
gals, you need to meal plan: it saves your sanity, it saves you money and it guarantees everyone eats dinner every night.
so many times I have gone to the store or ordered food online and choose a bunch of different stuff and then when it comes time to make dinner, I have nothing that can go together and just a bunch of random crap so then we end up ordering takeout or hitting the chickfila drive-thru AND then toss half of what I’ve bought at the end of the week in the trash. what a waste of time and money, am I right?!
enter meal planning:
I plan our week’s meals out on mondays bc that’s when I do our shopping. Mondays are our “days off” and I use that term VERY loosely bc life….. but on Monday morning, I sit down with a pad and paper and our shared google calendar and list out Monday-Sunday. I then make notes for each day as to if the boys will be home, if there are any games, dinner meetings, parties, etc. and then I plan. I head over to my Pinterest board to see if I’ve pinned any new recipes I’d like to try, I ask the hubs and the boys if there’s something specific they’d like to have for dinner and I put our week of meals together. 95% of our meals are clean, healthy dinners. Friday nights tend to be “make your own pizza night” or some sort of pasta dish – the boys LOVE my carbonara! Nights where we have games = Crockpot Meals! That way if you wanna eat at 4:30 or 9pm (bc isn’t that how it goes?), your dinner is all set for you!
once I’ve made our list of meals, I make my grocery list. I list out every ingredient I need in different categories: meats, dairy, fruits & veggies, frozen stuff and packaged foods. I list out EVERYTHING, even if its something I may possibly already have in the pantry. I add in our weekly staples for breakfasts and lunches, coffee bc obvi and then any snacks for after school. then I check my Wunderlist to see what we’re out of in my “Groceries” List and add them in. Then I browse over the fridge, freezer and pantry with my list to cross off anything I already have. THIS IS KEY bc the times I skip it, I come home and realize I have 9 cans of black beans….
after that, we have a chalkboard wall in our kitchen, so I add the weekly menu to our calendar. I realize not everyone has a chalkboard wall, so you could always grab a mini one to put on the counter OR just write it on a piece of paper and post it on your fridge – you can printout the one above!
Having a visible list does TWO THINGS: one, you don’t need to answer the age old question, “What’s For Dinner?” and two, its a reminder to you for what to take out of the freezer to defrost or what you need to prep the night before (in the case of crockpot meals).
learn to say NO
at the end of the day, we cannot do everything. we are human, we miss things. you can plan for every little detail of your life, but perfection is unattainable and frankly, shit happens. we overload ourselves in our minds with ridiculously high standards and pack our schedules even more so. this last tip might sound crazy, but its always possible to say NO. there is no manual that says that you need to be the perfect PTA mom, while making the best brownies, while bringing the team snack, while packing the CUTEST lunches with a clever note, while looking like a supermodel, while while while while….I could go on forever. at the end of the day, as long as your family is healthy and happy, to hell with what it all looks like or how it goes down! we’re all surviving, nobody’s losing a leg and we’re making it happen on the daily!
I hope these tips were helpful in some sort of way for you! like I said above, health and happiness are most important when it comes to the ones you love so just keep on truckin’ gal, you’re doing great!! xo