School’s Out! And Back to School!

Kristen King, M.P.S., CVEP,
WRAP Project Manager,
Advocates for Human Potential, Inc.

As I write this, my 7-year-old twins are going back to school in less than 2 weeks, and it’s been just over 2 weeks since I finished my own schooling. While the kids are checking school supply lists and digging out their backpacks, I’m getting rid of piles of papers and textbooks I will never need again. It’s both exciting and unsettling to be in the middle of two big transitions.

For nearly 3 solid years, I have been in go-go-go-go-go mode: kids in the morning, work all day, kids in the afternoon and evening, schoolwork all night, sleep a few hours, annnnnnnnd repeat. What do I do with myself now that I have all this free time? Spending more time with the kids will be fun, but they are about to start second grade and be gone all day, and hanging out with Mommy is not nearly as cool as it used to be. My husband also recently started a new job that has him working very different hours than he used to. With my family growing into new, exciting phases, I need to be responsible for filling my own time—something I haven’t really done in years.

I may not be going back to school this fall, but I’m entering a whole new period of learning about myself and my family. The daily plan and wellness tools that helped me survive school as a full-time working mom aren’t necessarily going to help me thrive in these new circumstances. Our family WRAP needs updates as well; with new schedules for both my husband and me, our co-parenting, homemaking, and partnering strategies are going to look very different moving forward.

The part of me filled with anxiety and desire to perform wants me to throw out the family WRAP and create schedules in 15-minute increments to fill every available moment with Enriching Family Activities™ that will give my children a Great Childhood™ and make me a Perfect Pinterest Mom™ so these are The Best Days Of Our Lives™ every day. Another part of me, the part that wants me to be well more than it wants me to be perfect, has a different suggestion: Just be.

I can’t really remember what it feels like to “just be,” but just hearing it in my mind makes me unclench a little. Just be. Just be present with my family. Just listen to them when they talk instead of worrying about what I “should” be doing right now. Just sit at the table and do homework and read with them after school instead of frantically folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher to try to keep up. Just enjoy the cuddles at bedtime while they still look forward to my lying with them instead of counting down the moments until I can get back to my desk. Just sit on the porch swing on Saturday mornings and enjoy my coffee while reading without feeling guilty about it. Just be.

As this school year kicks off, we’ll be looking at things in a whole new way. I’m excited to see what happens when we shift from a family of humans doing to one of humans being. Lists of new personal wellness tools (Painting! Writing! Practicing my Spanish!) and family wellness tools (Family coloring night! All-day hikes! Weekly family meetings!) are running through my head, and I’m getting really excited about all the things we get to do now that it feels like so much less we have to do.

What are your favorite wellness tools for the school year? How do you stay connected to your family—whatever family looks like in your life? What parts of your family WRAP make the biggest difference in your home? Leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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