Do you dread your kids going back to school? Or are you eager for it? Either way, their return in the fall means more papers, school lunches, money for activities, and your signature on multiple forms. And books, backpacks, jackets, etc.
Ay, this could give super woman a headache! Let alone a single mom already juggling a million things. So what’s a girl to do?
Why plan and prep, of course!
Planning is one of the three vital keys for success for single moms. And what better time to plan than for back to school!!
Planning out the morning routine ahead of time will save you the most trouble. I usually start backwards, meaning that I figure out when we have to be at our destinations, calculate how much time it takes to get there, then how much time it takes to get out the door, and then work in time for breakfast and getting dressed. Finally, I can figure out what time everyone needs to wake up.
Since my youngest needs to be at preschool at 9 am, my twins at school at 8:15 am, and my oldest at the bus stop at 7:15 am, that leaves us starting to wake up at 6:15 am.
Oh, and don’t forget to build in some buffer time. There’s always a kid (or two, or more!) who drags his feet or whines or forgets something that will slow your system down. The younger your kids are, the more buffer time you have to build in. But since you have kids, you already knew that (as the below clip hysterically demonstrates…)
Ugh, how can kids bring home SO MANY PAPERS in their backpacks? Aren’t we trying to not kill trees?
From the very first day of school, I need to have a designated paper catching place (hint: not the dining room table). Even better if it’s set up with files for each child, with a special spot for papers that need action or signatures. If I don’t, the papers quickly become a confused jumble of PTA this and Scholastic that, and $5 is due next week and please sign this by tomorrow.
I would absolutely adore a color coordinated Pinterest worthy “home command center” (cue angelic harp music) but my aspirations have not yet caught up to my reality, so for now, recycled pocket folders from school years past with handwritten labels on them are how I keep track. But it works.
Whew, no one warned us that school paperwork would be a part-time volunteer job, did they?
Are we having fun yet? Routines, paperwork, and now more routines??
I know. Life’s a bowl of cherries!
But an evening routine will seriously help your morning run more smoothly, meaning that you have less stress, more time to enjoy your latte with minimal or no heartburn, and maybe time to smell some roses.
Or just have more coffee.
So, an evening routine only means that you should figure out what clothes everyone will be wearing the next day (if they are not old enough to do it themselves), prep lunches and breakfast, and have backpacks ready to go. With all the relevant signed papers inside of them, so that you are not running around the house at 7:59 am the next day in your bra frantically searching for a permission slip.
Ask me how I know.
Amy is the writer behind A Lady and Four Gents. She is a self-employed single mom to four boys, including twins. Amy traded her full-time career and outrageous commute for more time with her kids. She hopes to inspire and equip other single moms to build confidence, pursue personal independence, and design the life they long for.