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Back to School: How I'm Coping (or not)

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“I’m in total denial.” I said to another mom as we were gathering our kids from a last hurrah of summer fun.

As I’m staring down back-to-school, my feelings are a bit unexpected. I’m not sure if it’s simply a result of the 16oz blood orange margarita I enjoyed last night, or if I’m really feeling all of the feelings.

All of them.

We are going back to school and for the first time in several years, at two separate schools. My daughter starts high school and I honestly haven’t really processed it.

I’m not ready.

Despite all new uniforms, shoes, a high school appropriate school bag, week-long computer orientation in which she wore all of the new uniforms, shoes, and bags, I haven’t really accepted the fact that she’s going to high school.

I’m not ready.

Despite the fact that she’s more than ready and excited, I still haven’t processed our new morning routine. I don’t really know yet who will pick up which kid and what time everyone needs to be at their respective practices. I don’t really know what time I need to set my alarm Monday morning.

I’m not ready.

What about? What if? When? Where?

While I’m not ready, the questions are endless.

The honest truth?

The start of the anything new is a charged time. One of those, don’t-make-any-serious-decisions, times.

(Pro tip: there are two times in life that you should never cut your bangs: pregnancy and the few days before your kids go back to school.)

When I feel this way, I want to micromanage my family. When life feels out of control, I look for ways to control things even though I know the hard truth — control is a fallacy. So instead of making my family nuts, I work things out in other ways.

Bizarre ways, maybe, but hey — you do, you, right?

That bag of $10 caramel chocolates that tasted slightly waxy? It needs to be returned to the store TODAY.

Does my daughter have enough black pens for school? I think so, but just in case I’ll buy her two additional packs.

Don’t we have oral, ear, and tympanic thermometers at home? Yeah but just in case this laser beam one is probably a good idea.

Those book bags we happily packed full of supplies? Let me just check, double check, and then re-check.

All of those half empty laundry baskets? Yeah, it’s probably best to run multiple small loads today just to ensure every last bit of clothing owned by anyone in my home is washed.

That errand I had to run today to return chocolate? It’s best to blare Bruce Springsteen because only he has the words to sooth my soul.

None of us has control. The lack of it can make us feel crazy nuts. Like today, I’m feeling a bonkers sense of hope and excitement, sprinkled with sadness, anxiety, and worry.
But feeling the need to control life, and actually trying to do so, can have disastrous affects. Trying to control life can ruin relationships.

So for today, instead of smothering my children, or forcing things upon them, or filling them with my stresses, or making them worry, I’ll be running random errands and doing unnecessary loads of laundry.

Those chocolates I returned? Good thing, because I’ll probably be eating half the bag while hiding out in my laundry room.

Bottom line, ya’ll, the only way we are getting through uncertainty is through faith. Without faith I am nothing. I am letting go (which takes my breath away) and leaning in to my faith.

So if you are feeling out of control these days, remember how I’ve handled things today: a weird mix of music, chocolate, and laundry.
Give yourself a ton of grace and hang in there, ya’ll. xo

Originally published:

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