I have three amazing kids; Evan (a new middle schooler), Keira (last year in elementary) and Reilyn (second grader).
At IMPACT, I’m lucky enough to work remotely which helps with the craziness, but that also means the summer can be complicated with three kids at home.
Thankfully, we live in a great neighborhood full of kids, so for the most part, they were all outside playing day in and day out, aside from the slight addiction to Fortnite my son Evan had.
This is how our neighborhood looked at least six days a week if it wasn’t raining (and it rained a lot this year in PA):
Now, if you have school-aged children, I'm sure you know the feeling when August officially hits, which looks something like this:
I mean, it did for me anyway. I watched this again for the second year in a row and died laughing.
It's a time for preparation!
We organize bedrooms, shop for school supplies (the list is endless, but as the video above states, “I’ll buy you a microwave if you take these kids off my hands”), pull out our calendars to start planning for after-school activities, complete registration forms, and spend LOADS of money!
The kid are always excited to lay out their first day of school outfits!
Everyone is Pumped!
That first weekend before school starts, you are more prepared than ever. You have lunches pre-made that last a solid week! You are READY!
As a remote worker, that first day is the most productive day in months for me!
TV is off, no one is asking for a snack and your co-workers are wondering why you’ve shared 1,510 documents with them before noon. It’s truly the best day ever!
September, however, is when ALL the mayhem begins and you're already pulling your hair out!
The first day back to school bliss is short-lived. That first day they come home, there are mountains of paperwork -- school rules and ethics book, permission slips, reminders to send in the physicals and vaccinations, a letter from the teachers, passwords, apps to download, contact information to update, parent portals to set up and much, much more.
On top of this, all of the after-school activities start. In my household, we have hockey practice twice a week and games on both Saturdays and Sundays.
My youngest, Reilyn, has gymnastics on the same night Keira has dance which is also the same night one of Evan’s hockey practices are. The girls also have horseback riding lessons every other Thursday.
Now, when I was planning this out in August, I thought; I’m going to have everything on one night, that way I’m not driving around West Chester 5 nights a week. It’s good. I got this!
But then, the kids come home that first week wanting to do even more stuff.
Keira has been talking about wanting to be in fifth Grade honors chorus all throughout elementary. She tried out and got in. That’s on Monday nights. She also decided she wants to be in the school musical - Tuesday mornings at 8 AM.
By the time September is over, I’m wanting it to be summer again. I don’t even know what day of the week it is and I work full-time.
So, how do I keep it all together?
How do all of the parents at IMPACT keep it together while growing this awesome company?
Great question! I asked my fellow co-workers what they do to prepare and/or stay organized throughout the school year, and I have some great information to share with you!
First, I’ll share mine:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I was talking to my best friend a few days ago and her daughter just started Kindergarten. My friend is also a high-school art teacher, so she’s used to this kind of stuff, right? No - WRONG! Despite having the summers off, it’s still a whirlwind. She told me a back-to-school parenting story I am ALL too familiar with, but being that this was her first time experiencing it, she was having some mom guilt.
Her son just started soccer this year, and like any good mom, my friend volunteered to create the after-game snack schedule. At the end of one of the games, her son came up to her and told her that there were no snacks after the game. Of course, she told him it was OK and that sometimes parents forget; They’d grab a snack on the way home.
She thought a little more about this later that day….. “OH SH$T!!! I think I was supposed to bring the snacks.”
She pulled up the calendar that SHE made and sure enough, SHE was the one who forgot the snacks.
So, she called me to tell me about this, and because I’ve already been through the “oh sh$t, I forgot…” more times than I’d like to admit, naturally I’m the right person for the job at making her not feel like a bad mom.
Don’t sweat the small stuff is my biggest piece of advice.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or have a full-time career, this is going to happen more than you will ever like to admit and that is OK.
Recently, thanks to one of my fav co-workers, Katie Pritchard, I created a Trello board for all of my work stuff and personal stuff. It has helped get everything that is in my head out so I’m not overwhelmed with trying to remember it all.
That being said, I’m also on my computer every single day so I always have access. It definitely doesn’t help using a tool that you don’t check daily, so if you can, I’d give it a try. I love the satisfaction it gives me when I move something to the done column.
But seriously, don’t allow that mom guilt to creep in! Easier said than done, I know, but that guilt doesn’t help solve any problems and it’s worth the heartache you go through when you allow it to sink in.
That’s my advice, but what do my co-workers have to say:
Prep Meals - Britt Schwartz, Principal Strategist
Britt has been a friend of mine for three years, as well as one of my co-hosts on MarketHer. I’ve always known her to homeschool her kids, which, as a fellow full-time working mother, I never imagined how she did it!
This year, Britt decided to send her three oldest (she has five kids) to public school in their new hometown in Michigan.
This was new to her, but she handled it beautifully.
Below are her first day of school pictures and how she Embraced The First Month of School Struggle:
"I had no IDEA how many permission slips, school photos forms, t-shirt orders, recorder orders (God, help me!) would be involved with sending our three oldest to school for the first time, this year. On one hand, there is stronger sense of focus during the day while I'm now able to be present ONLY for my work, but on the other, finding time for things like Parent Field Trips and School Assemblies for homecoming is now our new norm!
Try to plan ahead as much as possible, for us, that's food. We do weekly menu planning with breakfast, lunch, and dinners already planned ahead. I prep what I can on Sundays and making school lunches ahead of time really helps. We don't have to think about what we're going to eat in the middle of a crazy evening."
Share the Responsibilities - Kathleen Booth, VP of Marketing
Kathleen is a person whom I've looked up to since the day she started at IMPACT.
She is always calm, cool and collected. She is dedicated to the success of the IMPACT Brand team, is a mom, and is heavily involved in her community and passionate about her beliefs.
admire her ability to always stand up for what she believes in and isn't afraid to put words into action. I love that about her!
This is her son, Wyatt:
"As your kids get older, don’t be afraid to give them some of the responsibility for staying organized and being prepared for school.
My son started sixth grade this year and with his promotion to middle school, we decided he was ready to take some ownership for his academic experience.
In our house, that means he makes his school lunch the night before, sets an alarm clock to make sure that he is up on time, and does his own laundry each weekend so he has clean uniforms ready to go every Monday."
Communicate & Stay in the Loop with School - Shandia Drummond, Sales Operations Specialist
Shandia is a mother of three boys, all five years apart.
She juggles work, mom-life, and on her “down-time” modeling.
What I love about Shandia is her drive to always be herself and to teach her kids how to be themselves too!
She posts amazing photos that look straight out of a fashion magazine on her Facebook profile, but more importantly, she's showing everyone how to embrace who they are and not be afraid to put themselves out there. I wish I had the confidence to do the same!
These are two of her sons, Delano and Aiden:
I have three boys (two are school aged, and each in different schools).
My eldest, Aiden, started 5th grade this year and moved to the middle school. This was a huge shift for him and myself. He has more responsibilities as well as school sports, band, and chorus.
To help us both stay organized, we are enrolled in the school communication platforms (Class Dojo and Edmodo).
It can be hard for him to get into the rhythm of multiple classes and teachers as in Elementary school he only had two teachers, now he has a teacher for each subject.
In Edmodo, the teachers are able to post homework assignments, test packet reviews ,as well as any announcements and information for parents. This has been a huge help in keeping myself involved and helping Aiden stay organized.
Delano started first grade and thought this is a step up for him from Kindergarten, it's pretty much the same routine from last year.
He is enrolled in Class Dojo. I can communicate with his teacher throughout the day by checking in on his daily progress chart as well as direct messages.
So far, the school year has felt less chaotic than I thought it would due to constant communication on these awesome platforms. I suggest that any school that offers this option, take advantage. It will save your life (SERIOUSLY). :)
Struggling with the start of school too?
Join us in our Facebook MarketHer Group to continue the conversation! We'd love to hear your tips about getting back into the swing of things, and more importantly, how do you keep it going all year?