I’m not going to lie, that first week plus 2 half days was ROUGH! ROUGH with all capitals and my son is only in Pre-K (although it is full time). Sending your first baby off to school is an emotional time.
My oldest son is a crazy, hilarious, all over the place ball of energy. He’s wakes up at 6 am ready to take on the world and he wants the rest of us to join him. When he wants or needs something he lets you know, loudly, and often doesn’t wait for a response before repeating it, over and over and over. My boys are best buddies. Together, they are loud. They fight and wrestle and call it “playing bears”. (Thanks Disney Nature). There’s a lot of laughter and it’s always loud.
With one boy at home I had no crazy shenanigans or loud screaming to deal with. The quiet engulfed us. We both felt lost and a little sad without that crazy kid here telling us what to. Yes, he was right down the street at school, but he felt miles away, like he was never coming back.
I tried to keep us busy. The first day, we tried to go to the park for a bike ride. The bike came out for about 5 minutes. My 2.5 year old rode the length of the parking lot and wanted to put it away. Then he hung upside down for maybe 2 minutes, got the bike back out and rode an even shorter distance. It was torturous and boring for both of us.
I sat around not doing anything I needed to get done because I just felt lost. We tried the park again and it was just so boring without my oldest son or any of our friends. I realized that among my many feelings about him starting school, I was mourning my old life, my old routine (even though that routine hasn’t been working for awhile anyway). I missed when everyone was available for a morning play date because our kids all had the same nap schedule. I missed being able to pick up and decide to go to Lancaster for the day, or a few days, whenever we wanted. I even kind of missed the noise and franticness that came from trying to corral two crazies that run in opposite directions and pull on your hand like two energetic puppies instead of walking nicely at your side.
I let myself feel sad. Then, I went back to basics to embrace my new daily routine.
When life gets crazy and overwhelming I find I need to go back to the basics for a reset. I shined my sink. I got out the timer and realized that I can empty and reload the dishwasher in the time it takes my coffee to brew. So why put it off?
Then, I found these printable planning pages. I printed out enough for a week and filled them in with motivational quotes. I love that there’s a place to track water. When I’m drinking it throughout the day I always feel so much better. I also like how you can list your cleaning separate from your to-do items. So you can pick one or two things that must get done that day, and if you finish them, add more. There’s also a spot to add the workout of the day and what’s for dinner!
I made a clipboard from a binder and an old chip clip and bought a pack of colorful, ultra precise Sharpies to make filling out the planning pages that much more fun. Inside the binder, I keep my blogging plans and editorial calendar. I started a #happymom hashtag on my Facebook and Instagram to share little moments that make me happy.
Basically, I’m embracing the productiveness that this next stage of parenting can bring. I am awake, showered, dressed to shoes with makeup, both kids fed, dressed, lunch packed, and out the door by 9am everyday. When I was in a different stage of parenting this seemed impossible. I still can’t seem to get up before the kids- they are up at 6:00, but I know that will come sooner than I realize.
The weather has been gorgeous, so I can sit on the porch and read (for upcoming reviews) before lunch while my son plays in the yard. I can go to the state park for a walk and still be back before lunch. Time seems to move a little slower with one boy around and I feel more calm. After a week, I’m starting to appreciate it instead of feeling sad for what my life was. I’m trying to focus on yelling less when the crazy starts up because I know that this is how they play together. They miss all of their brotherly bonding time.
He’s stopped saying school is boring. The amazing, friendly ladies at drop-off know me, the other parents, and each kid. After a few days, he’s actually napping at school and my youngest is back to falling asleep in the arm chair during our lunchtime tv show (so most of the time, no naptime battles for me!).
Now I need to build on this momentum of a great week and add in more exercise and a healthy meal plan for myself. I probably could have done this much sooner, but when you’re tired and overwhelmed taking care of yourself takes a back seat to taking care of your family. It shouldn’t, but it happens. If you’re still a newish mom- don’t let it. Find your little things that make you a #happymom and keep doing them. You don’t need a whole day or week off to relax and reset. Find a way to make “me time” part of your everyday life. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by clutter, take care of it as it comes in. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later when you have more than one kid.
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