Back to School Joy for Mom and Kids
One of the times that I feel most human and most fulfilled is when I am learning and teaching. I have been listening to the book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.
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I kept seeing the book online with great reviews, so I decided to borrow the audio. I have been loving it! It is full of ways to combat the lies we sometimes believe in. She is straight forward about her struggles as a working mom, and assures women that it is less about what you choose to do and more about embracing yourself and doing your very best. This message resonates with me because I feel “wrong” sometimes having big dreams. I feel like wanting to chase dreams is something reserved for people who don’t have three small children, but it is a lie! We are all made differently and with purpose by a loving Heavenly Father. I know that God is aware of my dreams and that he is in support of my good plans. I pray everyday that I will be able to fulfill my mission on Earth and pave a path that leads to a happy family and a fulfilled life. Like Rachel did for me, I give you permission to pursue those big dreams that you have in your mind!
Since I have been listening to the book, I have felt more motivated and refreshed about life. I want these feelings for all of the women in the world–empowerment to keep fighting the good fight in our homes, workplaces and communities. We all need this power especially as we start a new school year.
I have also been thinking about my values and how I can align my life with my values more readily. I believe with my whole heart that one of the most important things we will do in this life is to learn, formally and informally. I want to help moms continue learning in a season where they feel like they can’t because they are focussed on their families. I don’t think it is an either/or choice; it is a priorities choice. Women, in all circumstances, can arrange their life so that they can keep progressing, learning and improving. Todays post is dedicated to preparing moms and their kids to get back to school, whether that is in a formal school setting or in the mind.
Back to School for Moms
As a busy mother, learning new things may feel out of reach, but there are ways to implement it into your life that won’t interfere with your other duties.
I used to be able to open a book and devour the pages while sitting on my bed or a comfortable chair, but long gone are those days. Now, my learning happens on the go. I listen to books, podcasts and webinars as I wash dishes, fold laundry, take my children to activities and any other in-between moments I can find. We are such a lucky generation because we have constant access to knowledge through our mobile devices.
When you can, sit down to enjoy a book and a journaling session in a comfortable spot, but don’t stop learning because you don’t think you have enough time.
See each day as an opportunity to learn from your spouse, your children, friends, books and any other sources. When you are looking for learning opportunities, they will come.
The next best thing about learning is that the knowledge you gain can and will bless someone else’s life. You are far more equipped to help when you are constantly learning. Gifting your knowledge may be a simple comment to a friend, a letter, a formal lecture or a casual conversation with your child. However you teach, you will be better at it as you learn and practice.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
So here is a practical to-do list to help you nurture yourself this school year:
- Write down the things you want to learn about. Do not limit yourself. You are never too old or too young, too busy or too poor to learn something.
- Decide which subject you want to dive into first and check out audio books, physical books, find experts online or talk to a friend you know that is willing to share their expertise.
- Figure out the times that you could listen, read or interact. What times of the day are you doing chores, driving or free to choice what you do? (I know that sometimes silence is preferred over listening to something or talking to someone. When being quiet with your thoughts feels better, do that instead. You can learn plenty from silence too.)
- Get an accountability buddy/friend to join you. Find one person in your life that wants to commit to learning more too. Figure out how often you want to meet and then have a structured meeting consistently. At very least, share your three favorite things you learned since your last meeting and what you want to accomplish by the next meeting. If you need extra motivation create challenges that have rewards attached.
- Choose teachers and mentors that you look up to and have an impressive record of success and knowledge in the field you are exploring. If you don’t have money to invest in educational courses, glean as much as you can from them through their books, blog posts, podcasts or other free resources that they offer.
- Apply the knowledge as soon as you can. “Wisdom is knowledge applied.” -Beth Moore As become more wise, your influence and service will widen.
Back to School for the Kids
I have thought a lot about this section of the post and since I am in the midst of this season myself, I want to keep things basic and simple.
Here are the things that I have been focussing on with a few tips.
- Paperwork: The paper is flowing again, and I am fully aware that I need a better system. Last year I literally piled it in one place. I forgot a lot of things and missed a few deadlines. I am determined to get it right. Here is my plan: I will have four categories–
Urgent (things that I need to pay attention to right away,
Expiring Soon (papers that are not urgent, but I need to use in the next week or so),
File (I need these papers filed for easy access later), and
Reference (I will need to look at these papers for important numbers and dates often.)
Here is the item that I use to implement this system. You don’t have to buy anything though. Simply have a convenient place for each category.
2. Clothes: I like to keep this simple and this year I did most of my shopping at Old Navy. I got each of my daughters 2 dresses, 2 shoes, five pair of pants, and five shirts. Throughout the year, as needs arise, I will need to get a few more things, but I feel really good about what we got this year. I am thrilled that I was able to find some leggings for Jane that fit properly too. Last year the only leggings that fit her were Lularoe leggings–great quality and pricey. Jane.com has a sale on leggings for little girls right now too!
3. Gear and Supplies: Here is what we use.
We love the Yumbox. I like having designated spots for the food so that I am putting the proper portions in, and I love that it doesn’t leak easily. I also save on buying an excess of baggies.
This Wildkin lunchbox has been super durable. The outside material is strong and the inside is easy to clean. It fits the Yumbox easily, but it does not fit a kids water bottle inside with the Yumbox. Jane is using this lunchbox for the third year!
Jane has an Outdoor Products backpack, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I did a little research and this is the one I would get Jane.
For all of Jane’s school supplies I ordered everything online through Target.com. It was so easy and came right to my door. I LOVE not having to go to the store with my three kids who have little interest in strolling the aisles.
4. Scheduling: This is another pain point for me. I don’t like to forget things or miss deadlines, so I am making another big push to stay on top of schedules.
I plan to put important dates in my phone calendar with an alert. My phone is the most constant as far as being with me, so it makes the most sense.
I have been researching some shared family calendar apps so that Cody and I can coordinate our schedules with each other and the kids. Here are the top 4 Free Family Calendar Apps: Cozi Family Organizer and Curago Family Calendar ,Apple Calendar-it can work like these other apps, and Google Calendar. Check them all out and figure out which one is going to work for you and your family.
Some people love to see the calendar on the wall. Here are a few good options:
I hope that this new school year is full of growth, joy and order!
Here is my back to school post last year for more tips!
Lucy Jo Bowman
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