Nontraditional Back to School List / Tips / Advice
It’s coming! That most wonderful and dreaded time of year. But how can you prepare yourself? And I mean for real, not that cute list you get from the school…
1. Larger Recycling Bin
Invest in larger recycling bins, more trash bags, or a burn bin. For back to school? Yes! Have you ever seen the amount of papers those kids bring home? It’s literal insanity. Worksheets, reminders, “happy notes,” birthday invitations, fundraisers, etc. Every day it’s something.
2. Quick Breakfasts
Mornings never go smoothly. NEVER. I don’t care if you are the most peppy morning person out there, not all of your kids will be. Even the most happy child will struggle. He won’t move fast enough. He will get distracted. It’s not easy. Some days a sit-down breakfast just won’t happen. (It rarely happens here). That’s when you throw them the pre-packaged breakfasts in the car or as they run out the door for the bus. And I don’t care if you are Super Mom, buy these as a back-up. I guarantee you will use them.
3. Thousands of Jeans
Boys. Have you ever seen boys playing outside with other boys? I have. And it’s totally dive-everywhere, roll-in-the-mud play. I have bought new jeans for my son, sent him to school in them, and then had him come home with holes in both knees. It doesn’t seem to matter the brand (even though I have heard good things about the expensive Lands’ End ones). They all fray and tear. And let’s just say that my son wears shorts 7 out of 10 months of school. And I still burn through jeans. If you live in a cooler climate, I can’t even imagine the amount you must need to buy.
4. Cotton Everything
I love cute kid styles just as much as the next person. You wouldn’t know that by looking at my kids though, especially at school. I buy cotton for them and basically let them be comfortable. They are at school all day and need something that can not distract them I class, be comfortable enough to play with outside, and just generally not want to burn it at the end of the day. I made a mistake once with my kindergarten daughter. I sent her to school with a knee length denim skirt, white knee socks, a white shirt, and a fabric headband. I mean, she was adorable. And I didn’t even break my cotton rule (everything was still cotton). When I picked her up after just half a day, I found her wearing her headband like a crown and her knee socks hanging around her ankles. Not what I had imagined. “The socks are itchy”- that was the only excuse. Alrighty then, I guess just forget about the other 6 pairs of knee socks I bought for you…
5. Disposable Toothbrushes
It’s amazing that they sell these. Keep them in the car for those mornings when you realize too late that your precious child forgot to brush his teeth…. GROSS!
6. Large Candy Containers
Again, just like papers, kids come home with an absurd amount of candy. Little Suzy’s birthday, candy for everyone. Every major and minor holiday, a bag of candy for everyone. Well-behaved kids, enjoy that free candy. It never ends. And it is so much worse with more than one kids in school. I have developed a system where I put candy in a dark container in my pantry. I take out the good chocolate ones, you know, for my payment for being a good mom. And the rest go in there. The kids can’t see it, so out of sight, out of mind. And then every day, I just dole out one little one in their lunch box. They still have an overabundance. So, being frugal… “Happy Halloween, here’s some Peeps for you.”
7. Nothing White
I don’t even know why there are white clothes for kids. It’s a joke. If the kids eat anything while they are wearing white, it’s ruined. If they play outside, it’s destroyed. Just don’t buy. Just say no.
Okay, I know you didn’t listen to my advice above, or maybe Grandma doesn’t realize you live in a strict No-White household. Regardless of how it got in your house, your kids will wear it. And this is where bleach comes in handy. Every year before school, I pull out all the white clothes, underwear, and socks and bleach them all. If the stains don’t come out then, just kiss it goodbye. Oh, I actually do have another odd trick. Spray the stain with bleach bathroom cleaner, let it sit for a little bit, and then just wash it alone. Weird, right?
9. Decent Looking Pajamas for you
So remember how I said mornings are rushed? They are for you too. And while you are busy getting everyone dressed, fed, organized, and cleaned, you do not have time for yourself (unless you are one of those gifted moms who gets up before their kids, but I am not). So I tend to sleep in pajamas that don’t look horrible if I leave the house in them. A decent T-shirt, some leggings, cotton shorts. Those all work. Grab a baseball cap to tame that unruly hair, and you are ready to go. Probably not a nightgown or plaid PJ pants. You want people to think “Oh, she must be bumming it today.” Not “Wow, she must be one of those ‘People of Walmart’.” I’m saving your reputation here.
10. Wet Ones for the Car
These are for those moments you haven’t really “seen” your child until you sit down in the car bringing them to school. Yes, they clearly haven’t mastered the art of cleaning their face or wetting down their bed head. Scrub all over with those wipes. I even scrub their crazy hair with these if needed. Hey, they are wet…
11. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
Early mornings. All the rushing. The forgot homework. The calls from school. You need coffee. Buy more than usual.
I hope this was helpful. Back to School is crazy for everyone, especially you, Mom. Don’t forget to get those adorable pictures too!
Until Next Time,
P.S. Let me know of any other great ideas you have for Back to School. I am still trying to master all this craziness!