As summer winds down, it's time for working moms to gear up for the back-to-school rush. (Don't worry, a separate Blog Post for SAHM is coming up next). Balancing work and family can be tricky, but you can ace this season with tangible and helpful Driven Day strategies. Here are some of my favorite ways to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Master Morning Prep:
Streamline your mornings by prepping the night before. This is a familiar idea, but with Driven Day, we make this a task on our to-do list like everything else. Having it as a habit you "check off" ensures it gets done, and seeing it in your planner can be a helpful reminder. You'd be surprised how those pockets of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day can be used for this. Lay out outfits and pack lunches to save time in the morning frenzy, and include yourself (your salad, making sure that shade of lipstick is in your purse, etc...)
Share Your Schedule with your Employer:
They will understand your priorities and can support your efforts. For instance, if you occasionally need a flexible start time to drop off your kids, discuss this upfront. When I taught Middle School years ago, my principal and I worked very hard to ensure I taught periods that began after school drop-off and my commute. By communicating and working as a team, we all won.
Attending to Person Wellness:
Remember to recharge! If your kids are a drop older (aka no midnight feedings), you can wake up earlier to squeeze in a quick workout or meditation session. Even a short stroll around the block can work wonders. Consider creating a weekly family movie or game night to unwind together. With little kids, putting out a toy they can see as soon as they wake up is a great way to engage them immediately and begin the morning on the right foot, allowing you a few extra minutes. These small moments of self-care can keep you energized and focused.
Communication is Key:
Stay connected with your kids by discussing their school day during your commute or dinner. Ask about their friends, teachers, and any challenges they're facing. We do the "best part of your day, something unexpected and something kind you did" at dinner. Share snippets of your workday so they understand your role, responsibilities, and wins. This builds a sense of camaraderie and support and helps a lot with work-life balance when they appreciate your day. I've personally had a few excellent business ideas from our kids; when I shared a struggle of my own, you'd be surprised.
Sync your family calendar with your work calendar: Mark essential school dates, parent-teacher conferences, and extracurricular activities. Use digital tools like shared calendars or scheduling apps to stay on top of everything. This prevents any last-minute surprises and helps you plan your work commitments accordingly. We are also big fans of WhatsApp chats. We have one with each of our older kids, my husband and I made one for camp this summer for the two of us, and I even have one for Driven Day Paperwork.
Reduce Decision Fatigue:
We've shared tons of ways to streamline dinner. Now is the time to use those ideas. Rotating outfits, subscribing and saving on Amazon, or any way to take the burden off of your brain is a win.
Prepare Your Family:
Reminding kids of new routines and school expectations, practicing essential habits leading up to the first day, discussing any worries or concerns about the first day, avoiding surprises, creating stability, and offering support. Ask the teacher at Back to School Night if you can record her saying hi to you your two year old, show pictures of their classroom etc..
Embrace back-to-school season as an opportunity to shine at work and in your family life. You'll sail through this busy period with confidence by optimizing your mornings, prioritizing self-care, fostering communication, and staying organized with your planner. Remember, you're not alone – many working moms are in the same boat. These practical tips set the stage for a successful and fulfilling school year for you and your kids.