Back-to-school can mean something significant for both children and parents. The start of school is similar to what many face with the start of a new year…a time to refocus and restart. Part 1 of this 2-part blog series on Back-to-School Blues talked about some of the issues children may face. But now let’s talk about what you might experience as a mom or parent. It might be that the start of the school year has signaled a time of change or transition for you. Perhaps your child is starting kindergarten, junior high, high school or even college. Maybe you are going back to work, starting a new position, or transitioning into a job outside the home for the first time. These changes or transitions can increase your anxiety, worries, or emotions in general.
Now, remember back-to-school blues don’t have to be dreary. We can begin to see them as back-to-school blues that bring about that feeling of relaxed and prepared (cue pictures of the ocean blue or beautiful blue skies). And that my friends, is the power of reframing our thoughts! Let’s see how this can happen!
The start of the school year could easily be called The Parenting or Mom’s New Year. For many, this is a time to refocus efforts in organization, discipline, habits, and health. We begin each new school year with the hope of getting things under control and attempting to stay on top of things as it fits our unique personality. Speaking from my own experience, even those of us who don’t live by a strong, organized code of being on top of everything; try to start the new school year with renewed desire and willingness to grow and improve!
Child Headed off to Kindergarten—
It might be that your first child is headed to kindergarten. This can bring about a realization that time passes quickly and your little one is growing up fast. You begin to realize that the people who invest in their lives and interact with them are suddenly a greater degree outside your control or knowledge. This can bring a bit of anxiety. But it also can be a blessing, as you begin to see the team of people that will be in your child’s corner, cheering them on, teaching them, befriending them, and encouraging them.
Your workload at home might be getting lighter. Maybe you are feeling that time allows you to be involved in things outside of home and finding some time to invest in self-care, hobbies, or interests. Take this time to inventory where you are and where you want to be. What might be that next healthy step to help you grow and transition?
Child Headed off to Junior High or High School—
The feelings mentioned above grow even greater! You begin to see how quickly your child’s time in your home is truly passing. In so many ways it feels as though it was just yesterday that you held them in your arms and loved that little one. Now, you see them with budding independence and the realization that their world is growing much bigger and far beyond what you might know or even be comfortable with. But this is also a season where your relationship with them begins to change a bit. You begin to see their interest in relationships and independence as well as the challenge of instilling boundaries and fostering open communication.
While the tasks at home might be looking different, it is not accurate to assume that parenting is EASIER, just different. The emotional energy needed at these stages can still be a bit demanding. So, don’t feel alone in the struggle. There are many joys and challenges of this age. Your activity calendar might start to look a little different too. How might you find time to do those things that bring you some joy? This stage may allow you the chance to grow some of your interests and abilities. What might be the next step to grow as a healthy individual?
My Course, Learning the Language of Your Child’s Heart, is for parents of children from toddler to teen who are ready for fresh perspectives, new insights, and practical tools. You may have attempted other parenting approaches in the past, but didn’t feel like all the pieces fit. You may feel ready to work with someone relatable and kind, but are also ready to put in some hard work to experience true joy, connection, and transformation in your home. Click here to start.
Headed off to College—
This may be the year you send off an adult! That can cause you to feel a little sentimental, reflective, and apprehensive. While you feel excited for all that lies ahead, a large portion of your daily life will feel different. Allow yourself to both grieve the change and celebrate the change. Walk through all those emotions and don’t be hard on yourself.
This might also signal a time in your life when your workload changes. Even though you now have an adult child, you will still be pouring into their lives in different ways. You might also find yourself at a crossroads for seeking new and different ways to spend your time and energy. Don’t hesitate to discover the new you. This time of transition is big. How might you choose those next healthy steps with purpose and an open mind?
Starting a New Job, Position, or Role—
Sometimes the start of school signals a new time of life. It may open doors to working outside the home, working a part-time job, or just being part of things in a new way. These transitions and changes may be brought around by necessity or by choice and interest. But either way, it can bring with it some growing pains. Allow yourself time to adjust and become accustomed to your new normal.
You may feel a whole array of emotions. Give yourself the time to work through them. In counseling, we say the only way through it is through it! Stuffing it away for later only makes a bigger mess! This time of transition and change can stretch you and grow you. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and look for things that fit with your purpose in life. Yes, that’s right you were created for a purpose. And while mothering is a part of that, it is not all of it! Get excited about the transitions that will bring new opportunities and experiences to you and your family. Even in tough seasons, families can learn and draw even closer!
Simply A Continuation of Another School Year-
It might be that you don’t have any particular milestones in your path this school year. It might feel like a status quo year. But even so, you might use this time to refocus, reorganize, and renew your purpose in parenting. You might think of some of those “resolutions” you have…things you want to do differently this year, things that worked and should be repeated, new ideas, and refocused efforts.
How can you ward off feeling overwhelmed and instead take things in stride? What might be your next healthy step?
Sometimes we get overwhelmed because our internal dialog leads us down a path that leads to discouragement, fear, anxiety, or anger. We can easily let the talk in our heads get us more worked up and start to be driven by our emotions. It takes a conscious effort to acknowledge our feelings, choose our perspective, and take the next healthy step. Those steps we talked about last week can come in handy again.
Stop— Stop and acknowledge the emotion or specific feeling you are having. You don’t have to deny your feelings. Just take control of them instead of letting them control you.
Drop— Drop the negative and unhealthy self-talk. Choose your perspective and reframe those feelings so you don’t have to feel stuck.
Roll—Think of what your next healthy step is and roll with it—move!
Hopefully, this gives you some momentum as you head into this time of change and transition. Check out this week’s free resource to see some examples of changing those thought patterns using this approach. No matter what you might be feeling, it is okay to stop, pause, and acknowledge that. Whether your children are younger or older, you can experience times of transition that bring about a flood of emotion or even just some emotional confusion!
If you haven’t chosen a word for this year yet, try choosing a word for this school year. Read my post on 5 Easy Steps to Choose a Word for the Year that Can Change Your Life for more information on choosing your word and don’t forget to visit the subscriber-only resource page for these resources :
- 100 Ideas to Choose Your Word of the Year
- Effective Self-Care
- Discovering Your Passions and Skills
- Finding Time’ to Refresh and Refocus
Some things to think about:
- What are some things I would like to focus on this school year?
- What worked well for us in the past and is worth repeating?
- Are there areas of personal growth that I would like to address?
- What feelings do I have about this school year and the transitions that we may face?
- Am I tuned-in to God’s purpose for my life and choosing those steps that move me in that direction?
Here’s to a great school year ahead! Whether you are preparing your child or preparing yourself for the months ahead, best wishes!
You can do this!!
P.S. Listen to the Radio Show here:
P.P.S. Another article I wrote elaborates on changing perspective, Spring Cleaning Your Thought Life, check it out for more tips on Changing Distorted Thoughts and download that article’s free resource as well!