So that’s it. Summer’s over. You’ve bought backpacks and lunch bags, and negotiated what is and isn’t suitable for attire for the first day back at school. And unless you are one of those brave souls who chooses to homeschool, your house might be a little quieter during the day if, like me, you find yourself with your brood all in school for the first time.
If you’re a stay-at-home-parent, what are you going to do with all your free time? By free time I mean that short window of time when you’re not dealing with the never-ending admin that comes with being a parent and keeping your household running like a well-oiled machine…
Before you do anything, I strongly recommend drinking a cup of coffee in peace for the first time in three months, without anyone wanting snacks, shoes tied, or help finding a piece of lego virtually invisible to the naked eye. After you’ve done that, here are a few ideas for you:
Your school’s PTA is likely to be crying out for volunteers – whether it’s fundraising, helping with communications or as an extra pair of hands in the classroom. Get in touch and find out how you can help. Interested in volunteering in the community? Food pantries are always a good place to start – Lakeview Pantry operates in the city. Or find a position that will make use of your professional skills at Volunteer Match.
Still got 1st birthday photos on your phone? Thousands of pictures that you scroll through at night after your children are in bed? The time has come to get them off your phone and printed out. Use Mosaic for a quick fix straight from your phone or try one of the many online options such as Shutterfly if you’ve a bit more time to spare. Or for a retro project, get printouts of your favorite pics and put them into an old-fashioned album with handwritten captions. Your future family historians will thank you!
For a different type of organization project, it’s time to tackle the closets. Take some time to sort through outgrown clothes and decide what to keep/pass on to friends and siblings, consign, or admit it’s time to part with. Bonus of doing this while they’re at school – no one to talk you into keeping a favorite ratty shirt you’ve been trying to get rid of for months, and no one to judge you as you have a little weep over a tiny dress or button-down that your pre-teen will never wear again.
We spend so much of our time encouraging our school-age children to study, and tell them how important it is to be a lifelong learner. But how often do we practice what we preach? Try leading by example and joining a book club. Not only will you read books you might not have picked up, you’ll also get to meet new people and feel all sophisticated as you discuss characterization, plot and metaphor. Your local library is a good place to find a meeting, or start your own club with local parents and plan meetups to suit school hours.
Holidays are coming. And whatever you celebrate, wouldn’t it be nice to be ahead of the game with gifts/cards/food planning? Start making your lists, maybe buy and wrap a few gifts, or even get your holiday card photo shoot booked in before the leaves start falling. This year, your cards will make it into the mailbox before January 1!
But before you do any of it, have another cup of coffee in peace. You’ve got time!