School started last week, and I am only beginning to get used to the daily schedule now. However, it will probably be another week or so before my heart calms, sweating ceases, and my normal respiratory rate returns.
My oldest, Austin, who is 11 years old, is quite organized for his age. So, he's not one I worry about. At 6 years old, my second child, Tristan, just entered the first grade but with ample apprehension. I suppose that's normal for a child who has several older relatives taunting him throughout the summer about the chaos he would face in elementary school. Thank goodness it's been going well for him so far. Then there is my little girl, the princess of our household, a title so fitting for a baby who expects everyone in her family, actually, anyone, for that matter, to be at her beck and call. But that is what makes Kaitlyn so adorable.
Last year it seemed to be a bit easier. Austin was the only one who attended school, and with a live-in babysitter on board to help me with the care of my other two children, my day would begin with very little effort.
Today, however, it's a whole new ball game. I have learned, quite quickly, I must say, that each day begins with adequate preparation the night before. These are just a few of the more important tasks that I am sure to complete:
• Ensure homework is completed and placed in the boys' backpacks.
• Set out clothes to wear.
• Prepare and pack their lunches, unless it's a school-sponsored lunch. If I make a lunch that requires refrigeration, I simply place it in the refrigerator and keep it within quick reach.
• Set their alarm clocks. Fortunately, I bought clocks that are programmed with alarms to go off every day even if the kids turn them off when they awake. This is just one less task I have to worry about.
But everyone does what I've listed above. Right? The truth is, no. I can't tell you how many mothers I have met who are lost in a maze of "what do I have to do next?" dilemmas. Remember, I was one of them.
I also realized that parents themselves have to organize for the next day. Getting the kids ready for school is only half the battle. As a mother with two jobs and a working schedule that fluctuates each week, I have to stay on my toes. Some of the questions I ask myself are:
• Depending on my schedule, will I be dropping Kaitlyn off at the babysitter's or will the babysitter be picking her up?
• Have I completed all of my so-called homework? And did I pack any and all materials away?