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SYRACUSE — On Monday the phone rang. The lady on the other end of the line was telling me that the preschool wait-list my son was on — a list I had forgotten about — now had an opening and my preschooler had a spot. She went on to say I had 24 hours to decide and class started the next morning.
And just like that school started — before summer even ended.
I knew back-to-school was coming, but this year I was completely caught off guard and unprepared. We still had things on our "summer fun list" left to do.
But even with the scrambling, I am eager for routine. I’m excited for structure again. Lots of parenting experts have told us how important routine is for our children. But routine is incredibly important for parents too.
Lots of parenting experts have told us how important routine is for our children. But routine is incredibly important for parents too.
As moms — working moms, stay-at-home-moms, it doesn’t matter — we all strive for balance in our lives. And that balance starts a day at a time with routine.
The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to reevaluate our own personal goals, our daily schedules and make the most of our time while the kiddos are away learning cursive and times tables.
So even though I’m struggling to fit in the last bit of summer, I embrace the school year — carpool and homework and all.
There are two things I’m going to focus on right away for increased balance in my life.
No. 1: Wake up early.Have you ever noticed how really successful people wake up early? Well they do. They all do. No matter the responsibilities you have as a mother, waking up early can make a huge impact on your day.
I love to wake up earlier than my children. When I am successful at this I can guarantee myself a shower, quiet spiritual time and even a little yoga. All of which make me a better mom.
Waking up early during the summer has been challenging for me and I’m thrilled for a morning carpool to help motivate me to avoid the snooze button.
No. 2: Make use of pockets of time.
Do I really dare tell you just how excited I am to have my kids in school? Well, I’m really excited. Some of you may disagree with me and think it makes me sound like a "bad mom" because I'm ready for school to start. At MOMentity we strive to be honest about motherhood and not judge other moms.
So here’s the truth: I am so excited to have hours in the day when my big kids are learning and socializing. Because, during this time, I can focus on work and the other items on my to-do list.
During the summer, my to-do list items still had to get done but I felt like I was always sacrificing time away from my children to do so. I tried to be diligent about when I worked and when I didn’t, but it wasn’t always easy. Lot’s of blended time.
Now I can create more defined pockets of time to get work done so when the kids come through the door, the rest of the afternoon can be all about them.
I know we’ll still have bad days and good days. But I also know when I make quiet time for me in the mornings and seek out pockets of productive time during the day, I am a much better mother and find more joy in my life because I'm balanced.
But for now, I'm off to the swimming pool. We just might be able to fit in one more summer activity. And then tomorrow I'll welcome that alarm clock back.
*Nicole Carpenter is the founder of www.MOMentity.com and the creator of The MOMentity Process. She is a communications consultant, writer and speaker. She and her husband are raising four children, 7 years and younger, including twin toddlers.**