How To Survive The Last Months of School
Posted on May 24 2018
A Parent's Guide to the End of School
Is it just me, or do May and June feel like an overwhelming, over scheduled, race through stressful obligations, sprinkled in with a few beautiful milestones that we barely even have time to enjoy? Every busy mom knows that this time of year can feel like running a gauntlet through school plays, end-of-the-year projects, graduations, sports banquets, and registering for new schools, all on top of our usual everyday life obligations. So, how do we survive the end of the school year without going completely nuts? I’ve compiled a few tips below that work for me (although my loved ones may argue that I’m still bonkers) and will hopefully help you calm the chaos of these last few weeks of the school year.
Tip #1: Multitask like a mom.
It’s time to multitask like a mother. Let’s face it, no one knows how to get things done better than moms do. However, the last months of school require a higher level of organization and multitasking if we’re going to make it through. Get out your calendars and your lists and start planning ahead. When life gets too overwhelming it’s easier to want to just make it through one day at a time, but you can save la lot of stress by looking ahead and bunching tasks together.
For example, many end of the year events require special outfits like graduation dresses, concert, and performance attire. You don’t want to be the last mom in town trying to find a black t-shirt the night before the school play, there won’t be any left (trust me, I’ve done it). Make sure that you start looking now, and give yourself time to order or find what you need, and don’t forget to try it on your child to make sure it really fits before the big day.
You will also want to plan ahead for purchases that tend to be necessary at this time of year, so that with a little extra forethought and planning you aren’t rushing to get them at the last minute. For example, think about who needs an end of the year teacher/coach/birthday/graduation gift and make a list of what you need to get. Think about upcoming school events that require special supplies, props, or snacks, and whether these are things you can purchase or order ahead of time. One big trip to the store with your lists in-hand could save you hours of stressful shopping in the coming weeks.
Tip #2: Divide and Conquer.
Calling all mom friends, we need each other!! Sometimes we just physically can’t be everywhere we need to be this time of year, and this is where our mom network comes in really handy. When you’re busy multitasking through Tip #1, you might want to send out a few texts to your mom buddies to see if you can help each other out. For example, maybe you could arrange some carpool days so that you can both free up a tiny bit of time from all those last minute choir rehearsals. Or maybe your friend is going on the class field trip and can send you pictures because you have to work that day, and she can also send you a picture of the flier that you lost about the school picnic supplies that you’re trying to add to your shopping list. If you don’t have very many mom friends, this is the time to reach out and find them! Everyone is desperate and frazzled this time of year, and with a little commradery and bravery you could be making a life-long friend in no time.
Tip #3: Give yourself some grace.
This is a really busy time of year, and no matter how hard you try, you may end up forgetting something or disappointing yourself. We tend to be our worst critics, and disappointment in our children’s eyes, or comparing ourselves to others can cut us to the core. However, we are only human, and there are only so many hours in the day in which to get everything done. So, if your child is one of the few left behind at the school picnic because you forgot to read the whole flier and you didn’t realize that he could go home early that day, don’t be too hard on yourself. Trust me, that child will eventually forgive you (I recommend ice cream cones if this should occur).
Maybe you also get really radical and say no to extra obligations, and don’t even let yourself feel guilty about it. Remember that it’s okay to set some limits on your time in order to prioritize your sanity, even though we moms tend to be really bad at doing that. Take a moment here and there for self-care, even if it’s just one lap around the block to clear your mind, or five minutes on a relaxation app while you wait in the car for your kids.
Tip #4: Keep your eyes on the prize.
Wait, what IS the prize? We cannot forget that during these busy times we are supposed to be actually enjoying ourselves and cherishing these memories with our kids, because that IS the prize, that is what life is all about. I know, that can be a guilt-laden statement, since it’s really hard to enjoy life when you are stressed out to the max, but hang in there with me.
One way to enjoy life more is to focus on creating and remembering small good moments throughout the day. Remember the times you rocked out in the car on the way to school and your kids laughed with you, this is important to them and they will remember it. Remember the way your child’s face looked when he said his line in the school play and he looked out at you with pride. Remember when you tucked your kids in after a really hard day and you apologized for being short with them, and they forgave you, and they apologized for not listening. Remember how you hugged each other and your heart felt full, and you all learned a lesson about forgiveness that day (that’s what I’m telling myself, nobody disavow me of that illusion).
Lastly, after you wait in line for an hour and scramble for a seat at the school concert, try to sit down and take some deep breaths. Be present in the moment, and remember why you are there. Focus on the gratitude that you have for all these crazy opportunities in your life, and that your children are growing up right before your eyes, and that you love them so very much. Remember that this wonderful busy life is full of hard stressful things, but is also full of goodness and joy. This life IS the prize.