Summer’s over and now I am hitting the ground earlier, getting breakfast together with one eye open, making lunches, backpacks stocked, thinking about work and dragging sleep drunk kids out of bed. I barely get a swig of coffee before I tear out the door with two rowdy kids in tow. The drive to school is full of “I don’t want to go to school, I didn’t brush my teeth, I forgot my homework” and me fumbling to check my iPhone calendar at a red light. Yep, I am “back to school”! The world of an overwhelmed “back to school” stressed out mama, doing the best I can! You may be a CEO, work in health care or prevent global warming, but back to school stress still gets you!
Once I drop the kids at the school doors, papers flying everywhere; I put the car in drive, breath and start thinking about how another year has gone by…sniff, sniff! As a mom it has been hard learning how to adapt to so much change and juggling so many things at once. I confess I can’t do it all and sometimes just scrap by trying to keep it all together myself. I am not the “I’ve Got It All Together Classroom Mom” or the “Super Working Mom”. I‘ve found myself in several awkward situations; trying inconspicuously to pull a hot roller out of my hair while running into the school with a form or arriving at work with mismatched shoes, or forgetting to send my child’s lunch to school.
So here is why you may be a “Back to School”, Stressed Out Mama!
According to a an article published in June of 2013 by UK Daily Mail looking at 1000 moms and stress; the following was found:
- Moms feel stressed 5 times a day.
- 14% of us are stressed 10 times a day and on the verge of a mommy break down.
- The most stressful times of the day were 8:01 am, 11:56 am and 5:30 pm.
- We spend on average 3 hours and 28 minutes doing family tasks.
- We prepare on average 63 meals a week.
So what’s the connection with the “back to school”, stressed out mama? You probably figured it out already. Based on this study we can make an educated guess that moms getting kids ready for back to school increases a mother’s stress exponentially. This study catches some of these variables but does not include all the hours of registration paperwork, forms, school supply shopping, medical appointments, lunch prep, negotiating after school activities and arranging child care on top of the 3 hours of family tasks per day. To be fair, this study focused on feeding the family and how exhausting this can be for a mom. Which is so true, 63 meal a week! It also found mom’s were feeling guilty and beating themselves up if they had take-out. If you add back to school stress, the morning circus, making lunches, working, activities and, homework on top of it all…. “Voila” you may end up with a curler or two left in your hair, mismatched shoes, a little dirt on your face and takeout.
When researching for this post I could not find a lot of information on mom’s and how to cope with back to school stress. I did find tips about organizing yourself and how to be the best “Super Mom” you can info. I am not going to obtain “Super Mom” status any time soon. I do understand thought that time management is important and “yes” can reduce stress and increase coping. Another study stated “85% of moms say their Smartphone helps with back-to-school stress, and decreases this stress overall. If I can locate my phone it is helpful. What do you think?
*A important find was that moms don’t practice self care. Moms often don’t take time to eat and practice “Power Parenting”, trying to make every second count. Exhausting! Sometimes there just isn’t enough time no matter how organized you are everyday. This is reality. Something has to give” and it is often a mom’s health.
What I do know… is it is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, sleep deprived (well that goes without saying) and wondering if you can get it all done? Feeling anxious about someone else caring for your kids, how your child will do this year and shedding a tear at the thought of the school empty nest. Women transition and change throughout their lives. Our roles and goals change with us and those around us. We steer the ship and encounter uncharted waters everyday but yet get through the storm. We are amazing multi-taskers, hard workers, mountain moving, project managers, small terrorist negotiators, the key holders to our children’s futures but terrible at looking after ourselves. It is hard and back to school is no easy feat! Cut yourself some slack. Once the dust has settled put yourself first, recharge. Don’t feel guilty about sitting down with your cup of coffee, getting a massage, talking to a friend on the phone that “gets it”. Knowing someone else feels like you and isn’t a “Super Mom” helps! You have to look after yourself so you can look after everyone else. A hot roller in your hair, mismatched shoes or take out never hurt anyone.
For more information on how to cope with being a “Back to School”, Stressed out Mama …. call Orlando Women’s Counseling with Life Counseling Solutions at 407- 622-1770.
Author: Marva Caldwell
Mail Online: Modern mums cook nine meals a day for fussy families and admit reaching the end of their tether five times. June, 17, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2343421/Modern-mums-cook-meals-day-fussy-families-admit-reaching-end-tether-times.html
Mashable: Survey: Smartphones Ease Back-to-School Stress for Moms, Kate Freeman, Aug 30, 2012. http://mashable.com/2012/08/30/smartphones-back-to-school-moms/