Yep. School started– and along with it all the wild weekdays: lunches, backpacks, water bottles, folders (HATE them), homework. It’s a wild world here.

The boys have now had two full weeks of school, and Pepper and Tinker are in weeks three and four, respectively. I admit it: Having a staggered start to school is what saved me. But now a full month in, I have to tame the madness a bit or go crazy. I thought I’d remind myself (and you) of a few things that really keep the calm:

  1. Start the week with enough clean clothes for everyone. Do laundry as the week progresses, but do it all on the weekend and start with a minimum of 5 “school-ready” outfits. (Beg, borrow, or buy more if you have to; ditto for socks and undies)
  2. Do a weekly menu and shop for a week’s worth of dinners and lunches (if you make’em).
  3. Have a day each week where you fix NO lunches. One day of chicken nuggets and chocolate milk won’t kill them! Buy lunch or make hubby and older kids fix their own.
  4. Do folders the minute they (or you) get in the door. Sign everything, plan homework, repack for tomorrow (I fill out the reading log, and if we read something else instead, I make sure we do it eventually. Or put in yesterday’s actual title. Teachers don’t need to know this.) Fill that water bottle, too– they don’t really NEED ice in their water. It melts before recess anyway!
  5. Get everyone up 15 minutes earlier so you can stop yelling. Alternatively, notice who needs to be nagged along (ahem – Tinker!) and get them up 15 minutes earlier. It may solve the whole problem.
  6. Get up 15 minutes before everyone else to take e a deep breath, if not a cup of coffee! It’s a brand new day– enjoy it for a minute.
  7. Enlist help– older kids can help, Dad “should.” Ask for what you need.
  8. Declutter 15 minutes a day; getting rid of the excess (start with your pantry!) makes life more steamlined.
  9. Turn on the music. Make a “morning” soundtrack; it’s hard to be grumpy when you’re singing and dancing.
  10. Remember to take time to just enjoy each other. Look in their eyes, enjoy their sweet faces. Turn off the TV and just love’em. You can have a lot of chaos, but if you have a lot of love, it outweighs it!

Please send in your top tips — I am still pulling my hair out a little.