Reentry: Taking Summer Wisdom Into the School Year

Like a lot of you, I’m in the reentry zone right now, with one foot in summer and the other in fall.

We just got back from vacation. The kids start school next week. So I’m running to parent orientations between unpacking suitcases.

It’s enough to give a mom whiplash.

Instead, of course, we get it all done, down to buying that last three-ring binder with the special pockets. But often something gets lost in the great, heaving transition to fall.

Call it summer wisdom. This year, I’d like to hold onto it.

So before I fill out those extracurricular activity forms, here are some resolutions made on the beach this August:

Summer Wisdom

• Keep Cool About School: Summer makes it clear that academics are not everything as we find our children shining in ways that are not always measured in class. But this fact is quickly lost in the mad, back-to-school scramble. How can we keep the stress at bay?

For me, the key is to stay positive, recognizing that other things I have more control over, like fostering strong family ties, are at least as important as school. Where I am involved in supporting my girls’ studies, being a coach rather than a taskmaster seems to leave everybody feeling happier.

• Choose To Be Calm: An aunt I visited this summer is so tranquil that just being with her makes you feel serene. What if I could be like that in my house?

At the least, I vow to stop confronting my husband with the evening’s homework and housekeeping demands before asking about his day. And that whole business of trying to communicate from one room to the other about shared domestic duties has got to go too. Keep summer romance alive!

• Stretch First: On vacation I took time to stretch after getting up and felt the benefits all day.

Just a few minutes on the mat helps put my well being on the top of the agenda (as opposed to the dog’s, whose needs are usually first up.) It’s also a great time to affirm being calm, though now that pooch is on the mat too, it’s hard to think big thoughts.

• Lighten Up: Some of us midlife moms are way too bogged down with stuff, obligations, even our own weight. My vow lately has been to lighten up.

Over the summer, I traded my survival-kit sized purse for a small shoulder bag. I also lost 7 pounds.

Now, returning to a house full of things I happily did without on vacation, I’m ready to purge stuff. It was so refreshing to travel with just one sparkly barrette this summer. Who needs that basket full of broken ones?

Your Fall Resolutions

So those are my resolutions. I’d love to hear yours. Please comment below!

Also, are you looking for a resource to help keep those resolutions alive?

Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, has been helping women preserve beach wisdom since it first came out in 1955. It’s the book to pick up when you need a long walk by the shore but can’t get there.

Now back to unpacking. A camp trunk is sitting in our foyer, unopened since June.  God only knows what is in there!

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  • JenniferHull

    September 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm
    Reply

    Good idea, Cynthia! Now if I can just remember to look at these goals every day amidst the hubbub of family life! That's the big challenge for […] Read MoreGood idea, Cynthia! Now if I can just remember to look at these goals every day amidst the hubbub of family life! That's the big challenge for me - keeping it all present. Read Less

  • InSeason Mom Cynthia

    September 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm
    Reply

    Jennifer, thanks for the stress-free and practical reminders! Goals work better for me when I divide them into spiritual, mental and physical goals each week. […] Read MoreJennifer, thanks for the stress-free and practical reminders! Goals work better for me when I divide them into spiritual, mental and physical goals each week. I like seeing those quick results! Read Less

  • Marla Beck

    August 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    Reply

    Your resolutions make me think of these images: "cool, calm, loose, light." What a great way to begin the new school year, Jennifer! Loved this […] Read MoreYour resolutions make me think of these images: "cool, calm, loose, light." What a great way to begin the new school year, Jennifer! Loved this new post. I'm sharing it on my Facebook page now. Read Less

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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Credits

The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.