Well, regardless of all the resistance I could muster, back to school week came anyway. Even though I didn’t really have those lazy-days of summer that some folks might have enjoyed, I still had a soccer-free, piano free, Religious Education (RE) free three two and a half months. But, that’s about to change. Because starting tomorrow, not only are my kids going back to school, they are also back to soccer, guitar, piano, acting lessons and RE and, for that matter, so am I.
Gone are the days of sleeping in until 6:20 a.m. Now, I am up at six so I can wake my youngest up at 6:20. She gets on the bus at 7:08 and her sister at 7:45. Then it’s off to work until 4:30 when I race to the Learning RX Center to pick up the youngest who attends daily. Leaving there at 5, we race home (lots of racing, I know) to meet the guitar teacher on Monday and the piano teacher on Thursday both who arrive at 5:15. It’s a close call; but we can make it. If nothing, that is, goes wrong. Wednesdays and Fridays we have a little more leeway as we don’t have to have my oldest to soccer practice until 6. Saturday mornings are games and Sunday mornings we have RE which both girls attend and I teach. Somehow we have to fit homework and music practice along with dinner and showers into the evenings. If only I didn’t have to sleep!
But there is a way to stay sane and even serene during these crazy back-to-school days. First off, I tell myself that we will get into a routine so I’m not going to let fear make me nuts this early in the game. Second, I really have to keep things organized around my house. I do so by keeping a daily calendar where I write down everything including when I need to wear a suit to work and what I need to pick up at the store. I carry it with me in my purse and even though it’s bulky, it has saved me on numerous occasions from over-committing.
I keep an excel spreadsheet for my bills on my PC. I keep them separated into columns so I don’t miss any payments. I even wrote an eHow.com article which you can see here. I shop twice a month and I plan 15 days worth of easy meals -in my calendar - so I know what we’re eating and what I need to buy. I keep the grocery list there too.
But Sunday afternoon is really my key time to make sure I have everything done for the week. Since I do my shopping on a Saturday evening (I know, boring…but it works for me), I have everything I need to make a few dinners on Sunday. I make fillings for taco, casseroles, and pasta or fruit salads. I chop veggies for salads and I pack anything I can for the girls’ lunches. I buy a $2.00 bag of popcorn and separate it into baggies in single serving sizes. (Hey, single mom on a budget, what can I say?) I slice strawberries and bag them up too. That frees up my evenings as I only have to make their sandwiches and throw it and the baggies into a lunch box with a napkin and viola - I’m done.
I wash soccer uniforms and gym uniforms. I buy extras of both of them too - it is worth the investment because I seem to always have a clean one on hand. I also wash shin guards and goalie gloves making sure they’re ready for the week ahead. Even though soccer practice isn’t until Wednesday, I make sure the bag is packed so it’s ready.
I also take care of sundry details like going to the bank, filling prescriptions, buying dog food or filling up my car. I don’t have time to stop during the week so I make sure that’s all done on Sunday afternoons.
By about 5:00 on Sunday, I am pretty much finished with errands so we can just chill on Sunday evenings. It would be nice to have a whole day to relax but it’s not happening around here for this single mom any time soon so we do what we can with what we have. And take it one day at a time.