Do you know what I saw in the store the other day? School supplies! School Supplies? Didn’t school just let out? How can it possibly be time for school to start again? If you are like me, you might feel like your summer daze just began and you are not quite ready to snap out of that care-free state and into the reality of school. Let me reassure you that denial will get you nowhere. Been there. Done that. It did not work. School will come whether you are ready or not. In an effort to ease you out of your school daze and into being prepared for the school days ahead; let’s talk about two things, one that I like and one that I do not like.
School Supply Shopping
I like school supply shopping. As a goal-oriented person, it brings me joy to find the needed school items and check them off the must-have list. It feels so productive and I feel well prepared as the cart fills up, knowing that my child will have the tools she needs to be successful in her assignments for school. It also doesn’t hurt that I just happen to like shopping but I will have more to say on that later. Sometimes school supply shopping can also be challenging. I have one daughter who knows exactly what she wants. I mean she knows EXACTLY what she wants. Get it? This can be a wonderful gift when her wants meet my budget, my standards, and my ability to find the treasured items. It can also be my worst nightmare when her wants do not meet my budget, my standards, or my ability to find the treasured items. To help alleviate the potential stress this may cause between us, I have found a great way to prepare myself and my knows-what-she-wants daughter for this adventure. We discuss the shopping trip ahead of time. I let her know in advance when we will be going shopping. She is a planner so knowing when we are going brings her great joy and time to think about what treasured items she most wants for school. I also tell her what we will be shopping for, and that there will be limits on how much I can spend. This includes letting her know that we might be able to get some of the items she has been dreaming of if they meet the budget, our standards, and we can actually find them without driving all over town. On the appointed shopping day, once the necessary items have been located and purchased, I let her pick out one treasured, dreamed-of, unnecessary item. You would be amazed at how much that one extra-special item can mean to your little dreamer. It has always been the school supply that was most treasured and cared for by my daughter. It also makes the other necessary items seem less boring or average, and you did not have to break the bank by buying all the coolest stuff.
One of the worst jobs on the planet, in my opinion, is packing a school lunch. I detest it with every ounce of my being. Please tell me I am not alone. The part that makes me truly crazy is realizing Sunday night that there is nothing more than a box of stale crackers and a few really-old-cheese-sticks-that-you-found-in-the-back-of-the-refrigerator available for your little darling’s sack lunch on Monday morning. No one wants to be that mom that forgot to have the most tasty, nutritious, and fun food for their child’s lunch box. What is a busy mom to do? Go shopping. Yes, I just told you to go shopping. Remember, I like shopping. You have my permission. I know, I know it is not the fun kind of shopping. Seriously, though, plan a day that you shop for school lunches. Often times we plan meals for the week but overlook lunches or even breakfast. Having a set day of the week for shopping just for lunch items will save you from that Sunday night struggle. If you need to pack a lunch for four kids all five days of the school week, make sure you buy enough food for those twenty lunches. Twenty lunches?! Oh, my! See, this is why I do not like making lunches. Which brings me to my next lunch-making tip.
If you have a big kid, quit making their lunch for them. What is a ‘big kid’ you say? I will let you put a number on it, but a big kid is basically a kid that is able-bodied enough and responsible enough to allow enough time in the morning to fix his lunch, remember to fix his lunch, actually fix his lunch, clean up his mess, and even remember to take his lunch with him when he walks out the door. I know what you are saying, “I’m not sure I even qualify as a big kid. Who in the world has a kid big enough to be able to do all of that?” The short answer is most of us do. The much longer answer is that is a whole other blog topic. It may take a little training. You might even want to do a few trial runs before school starts. But, if you, Mom, are consistent and do not come to his rescue, he will take on the responsibility of fixing his own lunch. Then, you will have tons of time leftover to do the fun kind of shopping. A girl can dream.
There you have it. A little bit of school days preparation and advice. Hopefully I did not pull you too far out of your summer daze. You still have some summer left and I definitely want you to enjoy it. Reality cannot be ignored though, not even during summer. A little bit of planning can go a long way. Enjoy the rest of summer, plan a little here and there. Then, when the work is done, well, there is more time for fun stuff like…shopping.
Tricia McDonald is the wife of a newly retired Army Sergeant Major and a mother of three amazing children, ages 17, 18, and 22. She recently gained a wonderful son-in-law as well. She currently resides in North Carolina, where she homeschools her two youngest kids. Tricia enjoys reading and is passionate about U.S. History. She also volunteers as the music coordinator for a local semi-professional youth theatre group. She would like to encourage young moms to enjoy each moment, as the years really do fly by quickly.