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Monday Mom challenge: Preparing for back-to-school!

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Changing your schedule

Back-to-school season can be a bittersweet time. Summer fun is winding down, a change of season looms, and a return to a more consistent schedule is imminent. Sure, the promise of fun and learning is exciting for your kids and for you, but there's also saying goodbye to the more loose ways of summer. Instead of missing summer before it's over, think about what back to school will mean for you personally.

Changing your scheduleWhile we as moms necessarily put most of our focus on getting our kids ready for school, there's also getting ourselves ready - and opening up ourselves to the possibilities that the school year will bring for us.

Perhaps this is the first year all your kids are in school and there will be previously unknown swaths of time for you to do...something? Perhaps it's an opportunity for more one on one time with your younger child? Perhaps it's many thing. No matter what it is, think about what back to school will mean for you, too.

What will it mean for you?

After the initial several weeks of adjustment to the new schedule, you and your family hopefully will settle into a comfortable routine. Depending on your situation, this may mean additional time during various parts of the day to get things "done." But what things? Sure, there's always stuff around the house to be done, but will it instead mean time for you to catch up on some reading or crafting, taking that yoga class you've been thinking about for so long, or maybe even thinking about a part-time job - or a change in your current job?

Take advantage of the time and structure!

Taking advantage of the structure and hopefully time created by the school day is a terrific way for moms in any situation to spend a little energy on themselves. This isn't (necessarily) the gleeful, "The kids are in school and now I can eat bon-bons" type of thing - unless you want it to be - but a real opportunity to do something new and different.

The chores will always be there

Sure, you could fill up the time and use the structure to continue the on-going and never-ending tasks of family life and "getting organized." The chores, the to-do list, the organizational stuff will always be there, and it does need to get done. Mostly. Thing is, it shouldn't suck up every spare moment. Use some of the moments created by the structure of the school day to get back in touch with you. You never know where "back-to-school" for kids will take you!

Video: Why moms need to put themselves first

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