KatieKatie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

With the start of school, the holidays sneaking up on me and starting a new contract job last week, things seem a little more hectic than usual. Fall is generally a jolt into reality for our family. My husband works his “busy” season from mid-August to January 1st — just in time for other busy additions to our family schedule. After the idyllic days of no wake up times or tardy bells in the summer, fall is a rude awakening. I never feel like managing stress is possible during these times.

Instead of getting all worked up this year though, I’ve decided to get ahead of my stress and make it a non-issue. That is easier said than done, of course, but I’m really giving it a try. Here’s how I’m making our family’s busiest season our best one this year:

There’s always time for tu-tus

How We’re Managing Stress

  • Taking time to get organized. I used to think I only had the time to DO, not plan ahead, but that’s crazy talk (and will make you a little insane too). I have a adopted a “two steps ahead” (or in the case of my family, four or five steps ahead) mentality. I make sure all the kids pick out their school clothes and collect their shoes long before bedtime the night before and I double check for things like socks (side note: isn’t it crazy how looking for just one pair of socks when you are trying to walk out the door can ruin your entire morning?). I also take about an hour on Sunday to lay out my work schedule for the week based on deadlines. I take into account the days I will be pulled away from work during school hours for field trips, doctor’s appointments or special school events. If I have a light day, I pencil in a work task from the next week in hopes that I might actually get ahead. Any opportunity I can find to prepare, I take it. I’m finding that while I cannot schedule everything, having a handle on what I can control really helps when unexpected things arise.
  • Asking for help. Again, this is an area where many moms think it is easier to just power through and DO things rather than take the time to ask for help. And really, our spouses and significant others should be able to read our minds, right? Um, no. When you feel overwhelmed, you need to speak up. Scratch that. Long before you feel overwhelmed, you need to speak up. My husband and I both work at home so he is here much of the time when I am but he has no idea from one day to the next what my work schedule looks like unless I tell him. I’ve also started relying more heavily on my writer friends to help me with my workload for a few months which as a writer and business owner, is a scary prospect. You know what’s even more terrifying though? Losing clients I’ve spent years building relationships with because my writing pride got in the way. Even worse — being a slave to my desk because I have more work than one human can possibly complete. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of power and confidence that you recognize that others can do what you do well if given the chance.
  • Letting myself have fun. When you are a mom, your to-do list is endless. The same is true of small business owners. There is always SOMETHING that could be done. Know when to take a seat on the couch or take your kids outside to play and then forget about your other responsibilities for awhile. I’ve declared Saturday to be my lazy day of the week. My husband is gone at work all day and I only have two of our four kids. I play with my girls, watch TV in the afternoon and clean only on an as-needed basis. That’s my reward for pushing through the crazy week and leaves me feeling refreshed to tackle work and domestic tasks in the days that follow. I suppose I could plan elaborate Saturdays filled with trips to the park or library, or at-home fall crafting, but I’ve made a conscious decision to just leave that day alone and my kids seem to enjoy all of mom’s free time too.
    Know when it’s wagon ride time

Above all, in managing stress, I’m trying to remember that with each day, our family is changing and my kids are getting older. Come January 1, they will all be three months older than they are now and so will I. Instead of powering through these months, I’m trying to enjoy them and bring my family along for the ride.

How are you managing stress in your own home?

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Tags: Back to school