It’s the most exciting morning of the year. I can barely sleep the night before. Morning seems like it will never arrive, and then, the alarm sounds. I guess at some point I fall asleep, and when I wake up, I reach for my glasses and it hits me… no, it’s not Christmas, it’s not my birthday, IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I rush out of bed to wake up the kids, and go to make breakfast. The frozen croissants I left on the counter to proof didn’t rise. No problem! I grab the tube of cinnamon rolls from the fridge and throw them in the oven to cook while I shower. Wrapped in a towel I go to pull them out of the oven. Burnt. To a smoking crisp. Wet hair. Nothing for the kids to eat. Can’t find my bra. Yep… it’s the first day of school.

It’s not just our kids that need a moment to get back on track when school starts for the year. We do as well. After a summer of sleeping late, keeping them busy, less scheduled activities and more time on the mom-clock, it’s not always easy to get my schedule back. But I’ve found a few things can help smooth the transitions:

Organizing the lunch boxes the night before. All of the non-perishables get put in the boxes before I go to bed. The kids jot down on a Post-it, stuck on top of the lunch boxes, what kind of sandwich they want. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t need to think. Just do. Or better yet, sign them up for hot lunch. It may sound like a cop-out, but there is nothing more frustrating than realizing you have to drive that forgotten lunch box to school instead of taking your Pilates class. Or finding the forgotten lunch and eating their peanut butter and jelly sandwich after your Pilates class.

Waking up 15 minutes early. That’s just enough extra time to let me grab my coffee, find my bra and yoga pants, organize breakfast and then wake them up.

Scheduling out my day. Now that I have my 8 hours back to fit in work, working out, and all of my errands, if I don’t have it written down somewhere the day can run away from me. So I write it all down on my phone’s calendar, and my schedule after a few weeks becomes familiar and second nature. Until then, my alarm reminding me I should be at the gym is a big help. I also have to make sure all after-school activities are tracked on my calendar. Voice, drumming, fencing and chorus are all on different days and different times. Without everyone’s schedule being written down, nobody gets to the right place.

Writing out a weekly calendar for the kids. This has been a life saver as well. In the morning they can look at their calendar, and know if they should grab their music notebooks, or show and tell. It teaches them accountability and responsibility, and it also avoids the 7am question of “What are we doing after school today?”

I’ve also found it very helpful to leave my bra at the foot of my bed. At least that morning mystery gets solved easily enough.

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