As I sit here sipping coffee and watch the morning arrive, I feel the breeze. The weather is slightly cooler and while it feels nice given the hot and humid week we’ve had, it also comes with a little sadness. A sure sign that summer is leaving and in exactly two weeks school will begin.

I am already starting to tense up, feelings of anxiety, worry and stress creeping in… I love summer and don’t want it to end. Although my work schedule is the same year round, along with my husband’s, the summer gives us all a chance to slow down. Without the thousands of commitments we have during the school year, the summer is definitely my favorite time of the year. Even though lunches were made for camp, and water bottles (and towels) went missing for most of the two months my girls have been home, it’s been a welcome break.

As we pack up for one last mini-getaway to the beach this weekend, I am reminded for the millionth time how fast time passes. Summer is ending and another school year is beginning. My girls are a year older, a lot taller and little more grown up. They have grown emotionally and physically this summer and will be entering their last year of elementary school and middle school… how did this happen? And where was I when this young woman took over my first-born? And how is it my baby will be leaving elementary school next year? I certainly feel the same… okay maybe my back hurts a little when I get up in the morning, and I may be a little rounder in the middle and a little grayer on top, but seriously I cannot believe I am an “old” mom. At 46 I guess I am middle age. (And HOW did this happen?)

Okay enough talking about this craziness. I am looking forward to spending one of the last summer weekends at the beach as a family. We will sleep in, lie on the beach, walk along the shore, collect seashells, have wonderful dinners and not get on each other’s nerves (too much.) I am not going to have too many expectations but know I already do. I can’t help it – I am a planner and am planning on savoring these remaining hot, humid, sticky, wonderful sunny days before school begins.

I know what is on the horizon… the rushing like crazy mornings. The forgotten projects that include a last minute run to Staples before they close. The late night “I forgot I had homework and need to read 1,000 pages before school tomorrow”. The days when I miss a school event because of a work commitment and feel like the worst mom EVER. The mornings when we are out of bread, and we rush to buy a bagel on our way to drop off (okay this only happens once or twice.) The days I forget it’s a field trip and I’ve signed up to be a chaperone so I need to take a full day off of work. The late nights washing one of their red shirts at 11pm because it’s RED DAY tomorrow and she needs to wear it. The guilt I feel for not being there every day afterschool for my girls.

I am stressed out and sad thinking about all of this. So this year, I have a plan. A “GUILT-FREE SCHOOL PLAN FOR MOM” I call it. I have come up with five resolutions, which will hopefully make for a smoother and less stressed out year:

  1. I will keep my expectations in check. I will not try and be a super mom all of the time. (Which means store bought cupcakes for the school fair will be okay, and last minute runs to the store because THEY NEED it may not happen this year.)
  2. I will encourage them to do their best with kind and calm words. I will not yell and scream like a lunatic when they tell me they have a project due tomorrow which they completely forgot about and it’s 10:00pm.
  3. I will take care of myself this year. I will exercise and get eight hours of sleep. Regardless of late night school projects and homework. They can stay up. It’s their work, not mine.
  4. I will not make their lunches. I will not make their lunches. I will not make their lunches. Okay maybe that is too crazy with all the afterschool activities and homework they have. I will help them make their lunches.
  5. I will listen and hug, and offer advice and guide. I will be there for them and support them and love them and always remind them to be kind to themselves and others, but I will not swoop in and solve their problems for them. No matter how hard this will be for me. I will try my best to give them the tools to do this for themselves.

There. I feel better already. Time to finish packing…

Wishing all the moms (and dads) a wonderful and STRESS-FREE school year!Summer Days (courtesy of A.Giordano)