School Year Survival Tips by Natalie Gibb

Well mamas, you have officially survived the first week of school, for some of you maybe even two weeks!  Pat yourself on the back, pull up a chair and relax!  We wanted to give you some helpful hints to make the back to school routine a little easier.  This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it is one that will keep the headaches to a minimum and hopefully the tantrums at bay! 

Whose Lunch is it Anyway?

  • Pack those lunches the night before…and have the kids help if they are old enough.  I started getting my kids to help in the second and third grade.  By the time they were in fourth or fifth grade that was their responsibility.  It is good for them to have some ownership over their own nutrition.  I always checked for extra snacks or treats that might suspiciously slide in there, but for the most part it became part of their nightly routine! 

Fashion Prep 101

  • Lay out their clothes the night before, that way any tantrums or fits over clothes happen when you are not in a rush.  Sometimes it still happens, but hopefully they are less frequent.  It also helps to make sure gym clothes or special clothes they need are washed and ready to go.  Better to discover those things at night, rather than in the morning, when everyone is trying to sprint out the door in twenty different directions. 

What’s for Dinner

  • One thing I do to make my home run more smoothly during the week is, at some point during the weekend, we have a family meeting.  We go over the calendar for the upcoming week and make sure everyone knows what is on the agenda.  We also set the menu and make the grocery list together. We each pick an evening meal and the other nights we either do leftovers or something easy, that doesn’t require much effort or time.  That doesn’t mean it always happens exactly like we plan, but at least there is a foundation of organization to work from and everyone starts off on the same page.  It also gives me a chance to see where the late nights are going to be, and prepare mentally. 

Pinterest for the Win

  • Your crockpot is your best friend in this season, I promise!  Pinterest has some really good recipes that are easy to set up the night before and plug in as you walk out the door.  Add a green salad, fruit, or veggie and dinner is done pretty quickly after a long, hard day!  Breakfast for dinner is a staple at my house!  Fried eggs, bacon, and toast wins every time and it is easy and fast!  Here are some of our favorite go to crockpot recipes:

http://www.momontimeout.com/2014/08/slow-cooker-root-beer-pulled-pork-sandwiches/

http://takeitfrommama.blogspot.com/2012/02/bbq-pork-ribs-slow-cooker.html

http://littlemagnoliakitchen.blogspot.com/2012/08/crock-pot-red-beans-and-rice.html

http://www.laaloosh.com/2009/03/09/weight-watchers-chicken-jambalaya-recipe/  (I’ll be honest I use precooked chicken breast and sausage to make this easier.   It is one of the boys’ favorites and can be made quickly and easily that way!)

Getting the 411

  • Eat dinner together when you can.  I know we have days’ when that isn’t possible, and sometimes we are all eating in the car, on the way to practice, or at the game.  It is just this stage in life.  It won’t always be this way.  When we do get to sit down together I always make sure and ask how their day was.  Now, if you are a boymom like me, then you are used to the one-word responses, “Fine”, “good”, maybe even a “great” thrown in every now and then.  I try and ask for details in a subtle way.  We play the high/low game, which is where we all tell the high point of our day and the low point of our day.  Sometimes I ask about certain teachers, or classes, or friends.  The more specific you can get with your questions, the more details you will get out of them.  If I know there is an important event coming up I prepare them in advance.  I sit them down beforehand and tell them that when it is over, I will need details, and I will need them to use lots of words.  As long as they know beforehand what the expectations are, they generally will comply. 

All the Feels

  • They want you to be interested in their life, on their level, and on their terms.  Beth Moore preached last Mother’s Day about making your children feel loved.  One thing she said stuck out in my mind. 

 “If you can stand in front of them with your hands on their shoulders and look them straight in the eye and ask, ‘Do you know I LOVE you, I mean REALLY, REALLY love you’ and the answer to that question is a solid ‘yes’, well then, good job mama!”   - Beth Moore

Truer words were never spoken!  Enter into their world and let them know you are genuinely interested in what they like, who they are, what they are interested in, and the choices they are making.  Your interest in their lives is the unspoken language of love that will carry on throughout the years.  The reward and payoff is huge after they are grown and leading their own lives with their own children!

Present Over Perfect

  • The last thing I will say, and maybe the most important, is give yourself and your kids GRACE!  The mornings aren’t going to be perfect, the toast is going to get burned, tempers are going to fray and words might fly that shouldn’t.  It is not the end of the world.  That one moment in time does not define you as a mother.  Learn to ask for forgiveness, both from your kids and for yourself.  Teach them how to apologize by apologizing when things get off track, and then wipe the slate clean and tell each other you will try and do better next time.  I have had mornings when I have literally emailed their teachers apology letters and asked them to print them out to give to both of my boys.  Don’t make that a regular habit (those teachers are busy), but if you need to, do it!  Show them kindness, humility, and love.  You will be amazed at what a small amount of grace and mercy can do in a moment of harsh words and weakness.   We all have our moments and the Lord knows the burdens we are carrying are weighty and hard some days!  We aren’t called to perfection, we are called to love graciously.

I hope these tips have been helpful.  I am sure some of you have some amazing tips to add to these.  We would love it if you would add them to the comments, so that we can all learn to manage this life better.  We want this to be a place where we can come together and share ideas and struggles. 

I am praying for peace and organization as we all start this new school year off together.  May your homework struggles be few, good grades be plentiful and wonderful memories with your kids be treasured.  Hang on for a wild ride!  It will be over before we all know it!   Be blessed sweet ladies!  You are loved wildly by your Father, and He is so proud of the women that you are and the mothers that you continue to be!

Natalie GibbComment