How To Prepare for THIS School Year?
I have talked to moms from around the country and it’s different for all of you. Some of your teens have already started school, and others will start after Labor Day. Some of you have teens going back to in-person school. Some teens are alternating between online school and in-person school by alternating days or alternating weeks. Some teens are completely online for the entire fall. Some schools are starting online and will reevaluate in six weeks and then decide what to do next.
What’s clear is nothing is normal.
This is really hard for moms who like to plan ahead. I had one mom tell me, “When the fall semester starts I like to schedule out my days and plan the whole year out, but now I got nothing.”
Yes, in all this uncertainty it can feel like planning is pointless.
And yet, planning is not pointless. It’s what you plan that matters. Here are four things you can plan on.
1. Plan on it being hard.
This semester is going to be hard on your teen and hard on you. If you try to ignore this fact it will not make things easier; it will actually make things more problematic.
It’s hard on your teen…
- Because of all the changes that have been going on for the past six months and the changes that will continue.
- Staring at a screen all day for online school and missing the fun stuff at school like interacting with their friends.
- Their normal activities have been interrupted and they are isolated from their friends.
And this makes it hard on you …
- Parenting is a lot harder because your teen is bored, unhappy, angry, and unmotivated.
- There is even more monitoring for you, with screens, social distancing, online school, and homework.
- Your teen is home a lot more and often laying around.
Tip: Empathize with your teen and tell her that you know how hard this is on her. This will make her feel seen and understood. And then you can tell her, “We can do hard things.” And yes mom that includes you:)
2. Plan on giving everyone in your family a lot of grace including you.
It’s always good to set goals and intentions. Like this semester I am going to exercise more, enjoy my family, and eat healthy. This is a very good thing to do and yet in this hard season, it’s easy to be (frequently) thrown off track. I think I’ve made more trips to my fridge and pantry during Covid-19 than I have my entire life.
Don’t be surprised if you have a meltdown over all the dirty dishes. Your husband gets angry with you, over you getting angry at your teen. Your teen loses it because they can’t see their friends.
Keep your goals and intentions and give yourself grace when you fall short. Then just start again. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t call yourself fat or a bad mom. Just start over.
When your teens lose it. Give them some space. Then check in with them. Listen. Be empathic. And tell them that they can start again. Tomorrow is a new day.
Tip: In this season it would be really helpful for you to lower your expectations for you and your family.
3. Plan on tweaking your routines
I know everything keeps changing, but you don’t want to give up on your routines.
Routines help you create the life you want. They can make everything run more smoothly. Routines are especially helpful in the morning before school and after school and in the evening.
Make sure you’re in charge of creating these routines and not letting things happen by default. Ask yourself these questions. Who created this routine? Is this a routine I want?
This summer I have talked to many moms whose kids kept staying up later and later till they got their days and nights mixed up. One mom told me that she would be getting up at 6 am when her son was going to bed.
If things have gotten off track then take charge of creating new routines that work for everyone in the family including you. You can still consider everyone’s needs in the family and not sacrifice yourself.
Tip: Take time and evaluate what’s working and what needs to change in your daily routines. Every Sunday in September take fifteen minutes and ask yourself what can I tweak in the daily routines. If something didn’t work like your teen wouldn’t get up on time, then just keep tweaking.
4. Plan on being really kind to yourself
Because this is going to be a challenging semester, check in with yourself daily. Rate yourself on a scale from one to ten with ten being the highest amount of energy. (Like I feel great) If you give yourself a low number then that’s a sign you need to plan on being really generous to yourself.
How do you be kind or generous to yourself? You can start with this question.
What makes you come alive? Is it music, dancing, reading, or getting out of town?
Here are 3 BIG ways you can be really kind to yourself and raise your energy.
- Time with friends. I know I don’t need to tell you this. But what I am going to tell you is get your friends in your schedule. Right now. This will make you feel like all is right with the world and that you are not crazy.
- Exercise. Again you know this. But this is the quickest way to feel better. Thirty minutes of cardio gets rid of all the excess adrenaline and cortisol that you’ve built up in your body for twenty-four hours. You will feel so much better. My Covid-19 favorite exercise is the rebounder (mini-trampoline)
- Time alone. I know you feel this but sometimes you don’t give yourself permission to take the time you need for solitude. One friend of mine is a mom and her whole family has been home for six months and she has a special needs child. She told me the only time she has alone is when she puts her earbuds in. Moms you need way more than that. Take walks. Drive in your car. Lock the bathroom. But you need this time to catch up with your feelings.
I would strongly suggest spending at least five minutes (or more) meditating every day. I know you have five minutes. Again this is allowing you to catch up with yourself and connect with your deepest and wisest self.
Your assignment this week is to set aside thirty minutes and start planning.