Back to School: A Working Mom Perspective

back to school working mom

Mom confession: I don’t do anything for back to school.

The summer runs its course and then one day we just have to get up and get on the bus instead of getting in the car and going to a day camp. Such is back to school time as a working mom.

My daughters go to day camps all summer. That means we use their backpacks and lunch pails non-stop. (We do take some time off during the summer, but it’s a week here or there.) I make an effort to wash everything as August winds down, so there’s a bit of a “fresh start” feeling, but there’s no back-to-school build up at all.

Related: Relaxing summers – do parents have those?

As far as the back-to-school hype – I’m over it.  My kids are fine with going back to school.  They like reconnecting with their friends and teachers.  And the full-on scheduling (including after school dance classes) means we get things sorted quickly, and then stick to that routine for at least 4 months.

Truth be told, I like the consistency.  Of course I like the summer’s more relaxed schedule, but getting back to a more rigid routine means I have a better idea what’s on for “today”.

How we manage back to school time

Get good gear

back to school working mom

We bought good backpacks at Costco four years ago and they are still going strong. They came with matching lunch pails with ice packs, and those are still useable too. 

The backpacks are by Roots. Here’s an affiliate link if you’re in the market for new gear: Roots backpack and matching lunch pail

The only things we make an effort on at back to school time is new indoor shoes.  My girls feet grow like crazy (Emma is now in ladies shoes!), so new shoes are always a must. New dance shoes as well – the girls take ballet (as well as other dance styles) so those get worn out, as well as too small!

Make the kids help out

Our lunch making area (it’s really only a cupboard) stays stocked over the summer with granola bars and other grab-and-go items. Not really environmentally friendly, but sanity saving, so that’s what we do. Late in August we’ll be sure to re-stock all the things the girls like to take for lunches, and throw a few new ideas at them that sometimes work out.

My girls are old enough to make their own lunches, so they do. I have to oversee at times, to be sure they’ve got the healthy stuff as well as the granola bars and fruit snacks, but they do a good job.

Be ready for anything

My daughters’ school does not send out lists of what you need before school starts.  And if they do, it’s often things I usually have around the house.  Maybe a new pencil box, if last years is chipped or broken, or a new box of pens, but we have most standard stationary and “office” supplies at home. 

(I actually prefer it when the teachers provide everything, but have you send money, or provide classroom items like boxes of Kleenex or Ziplock baggies.)

Back-to-school can be a chaotic time, but it doesn’t have to be. Use the last few weeks of August to start stocking up if you don’t have your kids at day camps all summer. (Or even if you do and they’ve eaten everything!)

A little aside:

Have you experienced head lice? It’s terrible (as in gross and creepy) but totally manageable. The first time we had it I lost my mind, but now it’s old hat. Read about how we manage head lice outbreaks, and you have my sympathies if it ever happens (or has happened) to you!

Related: 7 Back to school tips from a working mom

Back to school as a working mom doesn’t have the same urgency for me as I see others sharing on social media.

What do you do to make back-to-school an easy transition? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments. I love hearing how other parents make things works – and I often learn new things!

I hope your fall transition goes smoothly. I have employment changes coming up at back-to-school time so stay tuned to hear how my world changes this year. (You can join my email list and get my news delivered to your inbox once a month. Sign up here!)


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