Our family has been back to the books for a few weeks already. Everything is in full swing with dance, piano, church and school. Calendars are filling up with lessons and events, reading logs are getting filled with minutes spent behind a book.
The first few weeks of back to school in our house are pretty crazy. Not only trying to get my own children on the right track, but 350+ students at school.
For many years as a stay-at-home mom I was excited for the back to school routine. I would get my older girls off to school and spend the day with my youngest, making trips to the library, baking cookies, fixing well rounded meals for my family.
This will be my third year going back to school with my girls and I am still learning how to make it all work. Scheduling all of their activities, writing lesson plans, cooking supper and trying to find time to breathe. Last year was a tough one. New responsibilities at work and changes with my husband’s work led to a lot of fast food meals and chaos at home.
I went to school this year with a new outlook and a new plan. Trying to find balance in the midst of chaos is never easy. My first step was a mental one. My husband and I had to embrace the crazy. With three kids that are starting to get active in different things we will be doing some chasing for a few years. With three school aged kids things are not going to be the same as they were when we had toddlers.
Next, we do make our girls choose. They can’t be involved in everything. Church and school are not negotiable (and for now piano for the little ones) , so they have to make hard choices sometimes. I will admit our oldest daughter is a little overloaded this fall, but she is in the process of trying some new things before she makes a decision on which direction she will go.
One of the most important things we have discovered in the middle of the craziness is the importance of family time. It is easy to go in multiple directions and not eat meals together. It is easy to get home from a busy day and shut ourselves in our rooms for quiet time. It is easy to survive until the weekend and then make our own plans that don’t involve each other.
It is not possible with some of the practice schedules to eat together every night, but we make it a priority almost every night. Saturday mornings are family breakfasts made special by dad. If Saturday doesn’t work than we get up a little early on Sunday to share that time together.
As we are adding all of the events to the calendar sometimes we have to add that family time in, too. We have to be deliberate about making this time a priority because we all can find something else to do. In less than a week I will have my first teenager in the house. It won’t be long and they will all be teenagers. It won’t be long and they will be grown and gone.
I am choosing to embrace the crazy, but I am also choosing to make the best of the crazy. When the time comes that the crazy is over I want my kids to remember the fun we had as a family along the way.