Back to School (Not So) Blues

Stress

Stress (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

My son went back to school on Tuesday, and I actually allowed my worries about getting back into the school routine to taint my last few days of summer break with unease. I wasn’t walking around in a funk, but I certainly did stress some. Part of that could be remembering the meltdown I had the day before Peter went back to school last year. And then there are all the questions. Can I get everything done in the mornings? How will my younger son behave without the distraction of his elder brother? Will my house ever be clean again? When will I read and write? Instead of looking forward to autumn, which is my favorite season, I focused on the little things that get under my skin.

I guess the problem is that my summer was just too good. I really enjoyed the freedom afforded me this year. I don’t remember a time when I’ve ever been so productive, as far as writing goes. I wanted to publish my latest story on Smashwords (I have another story, “Stranded,” published there already), and I did finish editing it right on schedule. But I decided to try my hand with the children’s literary magazine market instead. This is a new venture for me – and a new way to get rejected. Still, I figured it’s worth a shot. Maybe the story will end up on Smashwords anyway, just not as soon as planned. I also wrote blog content weeks in advance, something that I’ve missed this week. Plus, I loved the slightly later bedtime for everyone in the house. I found a nice rhythm of getting laundry done, cleaning the house, and cooking the majority of our meals from scratch. With things going so smoothly, the looming prospect of shaking everything up was daunting. “Disciplined” should be my middle name because I almost always have a plan for everything and generally stick to it. My problem is that when things don’t go as planned, I’m liable to have a conniption.

What I discovered this week, however, is that it’s kind of like what they say about riding a bike. And I haven’t even fallen off yet, which is a plus. Peter and I went to visit his kindergarten classroom on Monday, and I was immediately swept up by the school bug that made me want to volunteer and substitute teach there to begin with. It’s like Disney World for elementary school (and if there’s anything I love, it’s Disney). After only two days back on the get-up-at-4:30-and-out-of-the-house-before-7:00 schedule, I wondered why I was so worried. Yes, I have less time to clean the house, less time to relax, less time to write because, during the school year, when I’m either substituting or spending my days at my parents’ business. But since I’ve been at work every day, I’ve gotten to see my parents more, and work hasn’t piled up like it did over the summer, when I only came in a few hours every week. My younger son’s nap time has adjusted about two hours earlier, so my productivity during his nap is simply at a different time and station. I carry my laptop with me everywhere, typing and researching in my spare moments. And it’s working.

I wish I could say it will always be smooth sailing, but there have already been days when I’ve gone to bed with too much left to do. If I have a new goal, it’s not to stress out too much about it. And another nice perk is that the guys (well, my husband and five-year-old – not so much the toddler) are pitching in, too. The things that I often did myself over the summer, like cleaning and cooking, are shared responsibilities now. Why in the world do I have to be supermom? I can adjust, if only I’m willing to be flexible, and if I can just let go of my usual I’ll-do-it-myself attitude and allow myself to be satisfied with things that aren’t one hundred percent my way, I’ll make it through just fine.

4 thoughts on “Back to School (Not So) Blues

  1. Anne Miller says:

    Good for you! It’s hard for those of us who like routine and sometimes perfection!

  2. releaf1954 says:

    You’re doing great, Sarah. I wonder what it’s like to be so organized and disciplined, but I don’t think I will ever find out. I’m excited to hear that you’re submitting your story. It’s a good story and should be out there in the world.

  3. […] years ago, I posted a blog about the stress that surrounds the end of summer break and going back to school – and I […]

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