Fall is always stressful for families. Most families are getting ready for the dreaded (or if you are a parent, I am told, celebrated) back to school season. I myself have been part of the back to school craziness for quite some time.
Between double majoring for my bachelor’s degree and then continuing on for my master’s, fall has been back to school season for me for most of my adult life. And I love it. I love the pens and notebooks. I love filling out new planners and lists. I love the excitement that surrounds new classes.
But I also know that it is extremely stressful. Moving from the fun of summer, into the business of fall is a drastic change. It’s a new schedule to get used to and a new mindset.
I am lucky that now that I am done with my degree, I am not worrying about all that back to school stuff. I don’t have books to buy or classes to figure out. But it doesn’t mean I’m immune to the stress of the season. Partly this is because I work at a university. So, while I don’t have to worry about this stuff. I am gearing up for our busy semester. And I am seeing all sorts of other students who are freaking out and stressed, which is stressful by itself.
But in my household, there is another reason that fall is stressful. We own a booth at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.While this is an amazing place to work and play, it also means two, many time three of my days are completely filled up with Renaissance Festival work. Its two more full days that are starting off full on my schedule. And it comes right at the back to school craziness.
Of course this year we are also getting ready to move among the already over-scheduled, stressful time of the year. As you can imagine. I feel a little stretched thin.
So everyone, Give me your tips and tricks for staying sane this back to school season. What makes it easier for you?
I’m not a morning person. I’m much more of a stay up late and sleep in type person. My Dad is a night owl, so I like to think it’s genetic. When I was little I would pretend to be asleep and hide under my covers with a stolen flashlight and read until 2am. In the morning, I would be happy to stay in bed and soak up as much nice warm blankets as possible until I feel ready and motivated to start the day. But really this isn’t how the world works. And it most certainly isn’t how my household works.
Another case for genetics is that both of my children are night owls as well. Alice’s natural time to fall asleep in the last few months has been 11pm. Tempest is only slightly earlier at about 10:30pm. But this “earlier” sleep time is only because we have spent months slowly backing up bedtime to get it there. If I would have told you a few months ago about our sleep habits, Tempest was going to bed most nights around 1-2am.
The problem with us all being night owls is that I don’t get alone time to actually get things accomplished. In my ideal schedule (you know the one that sounds so good in your head but never actually happens) my children would be asleep by 8 and I would have until 11 pm to work. Then we all would wake up around 8. Which if you figure all the math out is the 12 hours of sleep that science says my children need at this age and 9 hours of sleep for me. Unfortunately, no matter how much I really want this to be our schedule, it isn’t.
So, I’ve resorted to something extremely drastic for a night owl. I started setting an alarm to get up early.
For someone who is only logging 4-5 hours a sleep a night, this might sound insane that I wouldn’t take every opportunity to get even 2 minutes of extra sleep. But I’ll tell you why. If I get up, before my family, it gives me a chance to ease into my day. I can start work, or even just a load of laundry. I can also start breakfast long before the “Mom! I’m Hungry!” whining starts. By actually feeling in control of my mornings, my anxiety significantly is reduced. This makes my whole day feel better. It also helps me get more accomplished and waste less time.
But here is the biggest perk: With less anxiety and stress in my day, I need less alone time to relax and unwind. Which means I might even be able to get to sleep at a decent time and bump my sleep up to 6 hours a night!
Do you get up before your kids?