So here we are – summer is winding up despite my efforts to cling to it by my fingernails.
To give you an idea about how we approach summer here, picture one big house party. The rowdy kind where chips get ground into the carpet and you're left in need of a bouncer to clear out the place at the end of the night.
Our summer was actually like a string of those parties – one after another – with time in between where you just crash and sleep as much as possible and eat greasy food to recover and fortify yourself for the next event.
As you can imagine, living like this means we have hit the wall here my friends. The wall is made up of backpacks that are still packed from the last day of school in June, kids who are staying up until all hours of the night and emerge still sleepy around lunch time and a mom who says yes to sleepovers and trips to the movies and crazy dinner requests because SUMMER.
We have to knock down this wall in order to get to the other side –school and schedules and proper nutrition and an orderly, responsible existence.
If you are like me and have waited until the last possible second to get your people ready, you are going to need to step it up as if you were the bouncer closing down the joint at 2:00 a.m. In this house, that bouncer is called Rule Mom. She’s been missing for months. To become her you, too, are going to need to follow a few rules.
- Assert your authority. You are in charge here. You may have been binge watching "Parks and Rec" on Netflix with your offspring all summer long, but you have to put on your big kid undies and put a stop to this nonsense now. They will milk this craziness for all it is worth right into the school year if you let them. It’s time to say no to the late nights, the constant snacking and the sleeping in until all hours. They will try and tempt you with one more episode and a plate of nachos, but stand firm. You are in charge here and it is up to you to get the train back on track.
- Forget about being popular. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when Rule Mom enters the scene. Kids will plead for one more sleepover or trip for ice cream at 9:00 p.m. There will be arguing, door slamming and general sassiness. You’ve got to take it my friend. You will not be popular – but you got everyone into this mess and you have to MOM your way out. Channel your inner June Cleaver and you may just win them back with healthy dinners, laundry that is done and folded before it takes over the house and that new pair of school shoes they have been eyeing up.
- Cut your losses. There are things you haven’t done this summer, fun you haven’t had. That’s OK. Leave the past in the past – moving on doesn’t mean you have failed at fun. It’s been a good run my friend, memories have been made, rules have been bent and broken and summer has been a success. But you can’t make it through a school year on bent rules and Netflix. It’s time for a schedule and wishing you were at the lake eating s’mores for dinner one more time isn’t going to help anyone. Reminisce if you must, but do so before 9:00 p.m., then have your people in their beds. You’ll need that extra time to fill in the calendar with all the after school activities that are about to take over what were your summer nights.
- Model good behavior. It’s time to show them how it’s done. And really, won’t you feel a little better for it? The bags under my eyes from the late nights, the extra 5 (ok, 10) pounds from thinking I can snack like a high-school kid right along with them, the sleeping in and convincing everyone (including myself) that leftover pizza is a perfectly fine breakfast – this all has to end. You have to be the first one to take the leap, put yourself to bed, go back to the routine of smoothies in the morning and add yoga back in before the sun comes up. We will all feel better and be able to drag these people along if we are already on board. Don’t forget you are the bouncer here, and the bouncer is never the one tearing up the dance floor as the lights come up.
And there’s this. Once you get your people on track, it will be much easier to tackle all that back to school planning.
It’s time to shop, for one thing. You’ll have to hit the clearance aisle for the supplies, because you can’t possibly have bought anything early (the backpacks were still packed from last year until yesterday, good grief). A last minute Amazon scramble might also be in order because good luck finding both graphing paper and odorless Expo markers at this late date. Don’t even try – just Prime that stuff right to your door, my friends. You can even get Clorox Wipes and Kleenex in bulk at a nice little discount. Dropping the bajillion dollars in school fees and supplies is always better if you can do so from your couch.
In 4 easy steps you have gone from the life of party to a mom who has scheduled children, meal plans and backpacks filled with shiny new supplies. Add in a back to school outfit for your now-well-rested-children (if you haven’t had to take out a second mortgage by this point) and you are ready to rock this year.
If only all of this would ease the pain of summer coming to an end and our babies being out of our reach each day. I will miss my people. But we’ve got this my friends –there is no stopping the calendar. Now excuse me while I hide out in my closet to finish the last season of "Parks and Rec" on my phone. And don’t say a word about the nachos.
Originally published on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee.