- 1. Routine, routine, routine: From 6 AM on, everyone knows where he or she is supposed to be. There is no waking up willy-nilly, no eating lunch at 3PM, and no falling asleep after midnight. Why? Because everyone gets up at the same time every day. Yes! Even if my kids are going in three different directions after school, I still know where they are, when they need to complete homework, and when to serve dinner. My ADHD brain struggles to be organized, so this natural routine is a God-send to me.
- Gettin’ the ZZZs: This goes along with the routine. I insist that my kids go to their rooms around 8:30, okay 9:00 at the latest. They do not always fall asleep right away, but they are winding down with a book or doodling. Now, this does not mean that mornings are smooth. I often resort to extreme measures for morning wakeup. Picture a bugle, some marching band cymbals, and a glauchenschpeel, and that’s just for two kids. The third, the hardest case of all, gets smoke bombs and other pyrotechnic devices. Hey, whatever works.
- Technology-Schmechnology: During the school year, the kids have almost no time for mindless Minecraft or Xbox games. Nope. School, homework, playing with neighbors, dinner, bath and bed. The computer and Xbox controls weep hysterically during the day when the kids are at school. I am a heartless mama because I feel little sorrow for these addictive interactive games. In fact, I am sure they can hear my manical laugh all the way across the house.
- School Supplies: My kids love school supplies, and if I am being honest, the nerd in me loves them too!!! I fan the paper packs to smell their “paperness.” Hey, notebook paper has a totally different aroma than construction paper. And, when the kids aren’t looking, I smell the delicious waxy odor of a box of Crayolas. I don’t know if it is a genetic flaw, but my kids and I have an overabundance of school supplies. (In fact, my husband thinks we are school supply hoarders, and he has threatened an intervention.) Not only do we have the basics like notebooks, folders and pencils, we also sport any kind of marker that’s currently sold in stores: Basic colors, neon colors, sparkling markers, markers that erase, and even markers that will correct your spelling. Then, there are the color-coded tabs, three different types of pencil cases, and lots and lots of Post-It Notes. I have an entire cabinet dedicated to school and art supplies. Need a special thing-a-ma-jig for holding your pencil correctly? I’ve got five of those. Need a metronome for regulating pacing? Yep. It’s in there. Need a special, super-duty electric pencil sharpener for 6 different size pencils? I’ve got the only one in the entire Southwest, special ordered from a mechanical engineer down the block. And, glue? Well, just specify what you need: white school glue, stick glue, Gorilla glue, fabric glue, Super Glue, rubber cement, even real cement? No sweat. I’ve got that covered.
- Stainless Clothing: Another reason I love the beginning of the school year is that my kids look neat and together early in the school year. Part of this is the need to look good in front of their homies they haven’t seen all summer. “Yeah, girl, you are looking tan.” “Dude, nice haircut.” “Are those the new ____ shoes, the ones everyone wants?” I don’t really care about the latest shoes, but I do like that their clothes lack spaghetti sauce, chocolate ice cream, and oil stains. Their hems are not drooping, and the bottoms of their pants aren’t frayed. By the end of the school year, my kids typically look like they went dumpster diving for the clothes. (Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t rule that out for them.) So, neat and tidy kids, even for just a week, makes this mama’s heart beam with pride.
I am sure you all have your own top five reasons. Feel free to share them here.