From Christmas to Summer break, the road is long.
Christmas is over. The countdown to summer is on. Before we get there, we must survive another time change, study another 180 spelling words, master those math facts, and try not to scream at the children before school… we can wait and do it after they get home.
It’s all over, alarms must be set – socks must be matched, and lunches must be packed.
Sister, I feel ya. There was the build-up and now, the letdown. It is a crossing of some metaphorical finish line. Halfway through the school year, and now the last leg until summer. In the mind of a mother, teacher, or mother-teacher, this is the calm before the storm. Somewhere hope hides, under piles of shredded wrapping paper and dehydrated Christmas tree needles, there is some kind of illusive order, order you utterly crave.
I hate the word resolution. Perhaps it is the writer in me. Re means a do-over or starting all over, and I am not interested in this. If I am really going to have a complete redo, I want to go speak to my seventh-grade self, “Hey, your stomach is flatter than it will ever be again, stop being an idiot or I will show you a picture of you when you are 46. Also, take naps. Lots of naps.”
For some people the do-over is a blessing, for me, it marks going back to someplace I should have long since left behind. I want solutions, not resolutions. I want the tried and true and I want to look behind me and see exponential progress.
Ah, the mystical beast called progress. How can one ever have progress when the minute the laundry is “caught up,” someone gets undressed? Moms do all the things, and all of it gets undone. And now, we have made magic happen, a Christmas miracle. Bellies are full, wishes came true, blood sugar is spiked, and humans are sleeping late. Now, you must undo the updo and rev engines for a race to May.
I resolve to not resolve. I plan to maintain by staying as organized as possible. For me, this is my best bet for not turning into a screaming monster beast that brings only terror to the children.
Life Hack 1: TAKE DOWN CHRISTMAS
My husband would love to leave everything up until late January. I object. I can’t, I gotta have my life back. Simply put, I can’t shoo another toddler away from my great-grandma’s nativity, and next to Easter grass, nothing is more obnoxious than tinsel. I plan a day, usually New Year’s Day, and it is over folks. Along with this? Out goes the candy and baked treats. I personally don’t eat sugar or flour, but the last thing I need is it lurking about in what will be a stressful month, I am not a machine. Cut me I bleed, push me too far I will eat all of the cookies…and your candy. I am all about containers and minimizing along the way, so yes, take this opportunity to get rid of the broken keepsakes, blown out bulbs, and forget-me-nots that have no real heart value.
Also, while it would be nice to have all the newest and fanciest containers, I find that grocery bags are sufficient for separating keepsakes and then putting them in one large container. You don’t need tons of money to be organized, sometimes it requires a little forward thinking. I love to use old butter or sour cream containers and Quaker Oat canisters or Saltine cracker boxes for storage. If you really need them to look prettier paint them or wrap them in some pretty duct tape and then label them as such.
Life Hack 2: SCHOOL DAZE PHASE
This is my fave, I buy new school supplies. While some folks are out shopping for next year’s Christmas bargain finds, I buy pencils, crayons, notebook paper, scissors, glue, and notecards. I organize these items in a and put it somewhere convenient. There is nothing like the smell of new crayons. This is my best effort to be ready to go when littles get home with assignments. I also keep a calendar and a bulletin board in the designated “homework area.” I like to have two trays, one for “keeps” and one for… “this will disappear while they are at school.” This helps me manage all the incoming “stuff” and stay organized instead of wasting time, starting over… again.
With all that comes home in those backpacks, the calendar helps me stay privy to all the events at three different schools. Granted, I will be accused of being “the only parent who didn’t come to the play,” but I propose, “I was too there, it was just too crowded for you to see me.” I also restock batteries, light bulbs, Kleenex, and chapstick. I check my medicine cabinet for children’s allergy medicine, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Elderberry syrup, thieves oil, and chewable vitamin C. We personally don’t do flu shots or hand sanitizer but prefer to use natural precautions. You can check out my Pinterest to check out some of my fave natural hacks!
Life Hack 3: Wardrobe Work Over
Maybe it is compulsive, perhaps it is over the top, but if the children are easy to dress, with little mess, I am one happy mama. Spring clean? Yeah, kind of. But I propose this is more something to maintain than fighting the insane. We hang shirts. Yes, even t-shirts. I don’t bother with child size hangers, but when they were younger and smaller, it was a huge help. I am fortunate enough to have a large laundry room with closets, and this is where I get my littles dressed and keep their clothes.
Yes, I know, I am totally spoiled. So, after Christmas, I give away the old, wash, iron, and hang up the new, and restock the “coiffeur basket.” Spray, gel, brush, and hairspray go right on top of the dresser, so I am never in a mad dash to find a brush. Something I believe thousands of women a year lose hours doing. That, and scissors and nail clippers. It goes in seasons. Sometimes there are none, sometimes, they all show up at once. And FYI, nail clippers go in the basket too.
Life Hack 4: Mini-Makeover
Okay, so everyone is dressed, are you? I am a girly girl. I LOVE makeup, curls, and all things “fancy face.” Now, this is an expensive habit, but here is the thing, organizing your makeup and hair accessories and cleaning out your closet of stuff you are not ever going to wear, can be just as therapeutic as all new stuff, and it is MUCH cheaper. First, I dump the drawer and wipe it out with a mixture of water and essential oil, (I prefer Lavender.) Wash out old trays and really look at what you have, what you use, and what you need. Simultaneously I make a list of everything that needs to be replaced. Knowing I am about out of hairspray saves me the hassle of running out. Furthermore, when I feel good about myself, I am a whole lot nicer to everyone around me.
Life Hack 5: Take a Day
I prefer to take a day when no one is home. And yes, I know, for some of you this just isn’t possible and I wish I was your neighbor. If I were, I would put dinner in your crock pot and run your life while you get off your feet. But, if you can take a day… DO IT. If you can’t take a day, take a bubble bath, go to a yoga session, or grab a girlfriend for coffee…or wine. But truly, you did it all, all of the things to make everyone happy. And now, you need to acknowledge those heart works with some kind of reprieve.
Without some small reward, the New Year can leave you feeling wiped out and unprepared for this next leg of the school year. Part of rewarding yourself may be simply going to Target alone… #bliss. But it needs to be the conscience decision, “This is for me.” Then if you are only able to eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the bed, make an effort to say it, “This is for me.”
So these are just a few of my new “Sacred Tips for Living Sane” tips. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss any of them – I will be adding recipes, marriage tips, health and wellness and all things “Home as Sanctuary!”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
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