Living in Michigan, we often feel the chill of fall weather right after the Labor Day weekend. But is it the cooler weather we are feeling, or the biting sting of back to school activity that is giving us the shivers?
School has started!
Things to do…
Make sure you’ve got your child’s curriculum night on the calendar
Actually attend curriculum night
Complete that huge pile of enrollment paperwork
Sign the one-and-done check which doesn’t really seem to be the end to your fundraising commitment for the year
Figure out which clubs they’ve joined and rearrange your entire schedule based on their new schedules
Wait patiently in line on the roads as the new bus drivers figure out their new routes
…and gear up!
This time of year is extremely hectic, chaotic and stressful. Not only are we dealing with our own increased stress levels, but our kid’s stress spills over onto us as well.
I mean, it’s great that they are communicating with us, but it does add to our stress levels and we need to be honest about that (at least with ourselves).
Many of us go through this same thing every new school year, but choose to deal with it all silently on our own.
Why though, when we are all going through the same thing?
Why I Love Sleep
I’ve been overwhelmed with the back-to-school chaos too. I recently caught myself feeling like I was about to explode. I had a massive headache and a sick stomach, but it didn’t occur to me to reach out for help or take a break for a minute.
I was thinking about this and was like, wait; why does this have to be so difficult?
I'll give you an example.
This summer my youngest was in summer camp two days a week while my oldest had the summer off with some volleyball clinics and tryouts for the high school team. She made the team and started going to practice for the last three weeks of summer.
It’s always a lot, but in general the summer was pretty chill.
However, now that school has started, it has been a little rocky.
For some reason, the practice times for her team are not right after school. That means she has to come home, grab a quick snack and then head back to school for practice. This weekend she had a big tournament, and during the week she’ll have games on both Tuesday and Thursday nights which doesn’t get her home until about 9:00 pm. And then she has to do homework!
I give her all the credit in the world though, because I am bushed by 9:00 pm and I am not even jumping up and down slamming volleyballs into other people’s faces. I’m kidding. She doesn’t really do this. I mean she does, but I’m sure it’s accidental.
Anyhow, between working, taking care of my four-year-old, attending the volleyball games, getting everybody ready for bed and planning for the next day, at the end of the day I seriously feel like I’m about to collapse.
Last week, a friend of mine was about to go out of town to a festival and asked what we were planning on doing for the weekend. I replied that that we had plans to go out Friday but then would take the weekend for sleep, sleep, sleep, and then more sleep.
When I told her we didn’t have any plans, she responded with “Wow! Sleep sounds really good!”
Reflecting on that, I was wondering to myself - why is that? Why are we looking forward to sleeping?
Girl Gangs and Red Tents
We all get wrapped up in our schedules and the hustle and bustle. Even though I often coach my clients to take time for themselves, I realized that I wasn’t doing it for myself. The start of school craziness get in the way of my own self-care.
I have been constantly worried and anxious, wondering what else needed to get done. If there were a couple of free hours I’d ask myself - should I be re-organizing a closet or something?
So I had to remind myself that I didn’t need to do all of this. I could actually take a nap or watch some Netflix. It’s okay, Brooke. Fill your own cup.
I also opened up to some girlfriends this weekend because I knew they were drowning just as I was. My goodness, what would I do without them? If you don’t have a girl gang to talk to and bounce things off of, please try to cultivate some healthy relationships with other women.
Openly giving and receiving our feelings and emotions promotes a healthy Sacral Chakra (helps us feel energetic, passionate, confident, kind and happy). When we are not connecting with others in this manner, feelings of vulnerability, fear and fatigue arise.
In addition to adding to the support we are giving and receiving from positive people, it is just as important to block out the negative ones.
If you have a friend where the conversations seem to always lead to some sort of comparison battle about how great their kids and husbands are…get out. You don’t need that crap, sisters. Just walk the other way.
Women need to support other women. Be there for each other through thick and thin, through good times and in bad, and through life's ups and downs. One thousand percent, hands-down these are the women that we need to be surrounding ourselves with.
And there’s nothing new about this concept. The idea of a menstrual hut (aka “Red Tent”) has been around since the beginning of time.
During their cycles, women would spend most of their time in this tent because they were seen as unclean. It became a sanctuary for the women who would gather to share thoughts and wisdom, exchange gossip, seek solace in each other and pass on their knowledge of midwifery and motherhood.
We’ve really lost this type of communal support and exchange of ideas.
Embrace Your Friends
If you don't have a tribe of women, I highly suggest either reconnecting with friends from the past, exposing yourself a little more to your current gang or join some groups to make new friends with similar interests.
We do not have to weather the storm alone.
This week’s assignment is to get your girl gang together and really try to be yourself and relax. Don’t just go through the motions. Make sure you find that group of gals who you can be 100% legit with and who allow you to be your authentic self.
It needs to start with you, though.
Be the person you want them to be as well. Expose your good and bad, ask for help, receive support and guidance, and allow them to do the same.