Hopefully, by now, everyone is back to school and in a good routine. Generally it takes a few weeks before everyone finds their groove. Having recently relocated, my family and I are creating our routines from scratch. This has not been without its challenges. However, there are some universal lessons we are learning that may apply to anyone figuring out a new schedule.
FORGIVE ANY MISSTEPS
It is inevitable we are sometimes going to drop the ball. A permission slip fails to get signed or does not make its way into the right backpack, lunch accounts are not updated, and about a thousand other action items may fall by the wayside. Make some space in your life for these missteps. Instead of beating yourself up, recognize it as part of the process of change. If you can normalize the mistakes, then they become easier to correct.
Also, when you are feeling overwhelmed by all you have yet to do, take some time to give yourself some credit for the hundreds of things you already have accomplished.
You are amazing as is.
I guarantee it.
To help off-set some of your stress and responsibilities, get your kids involved in the details of their day. Do not expect perfection, rather, enjoy the relief that comes with letting go. Believe me, I get that it will be done ‘right’ if I am in charge, but I do not have the emotional resources to maintain this ‘perfection’. I have to rely on my kids to be on top of their school responsibilities. Mostly, they have managed quite well. I am grateful for what is working and this leaves me more time and energy to focus on the areas that need tweaking.
THE PROCESS OF PATIENCE
The hardest part of moving is that it feels like it is never going to get better. I have had many days in this new setting where it feels like difficult will be our new normal. Logically I understand that adjusting to change takes time and feeling overwhelmed is part of it. The lesson here is give yourself time and focus on getting through each moment as it arises. Eventually, if you demonstrate a willingness to be uncomfortable, aspects of change will become easier. This is how we learn compassion for ourselves and others. These are the gifts hidden within the painful parts of change. With patience these gifts will flourish and so will we.
My oldest son had been away for three weeks this summer and was away when we moved into our new home. Therefore, he only had about two weeks before school started to get acclimated to our house and new area. This added to the stress of him starting a new middle school as an eighth grader. Overall, I have admired how he is hanging in there with a tougher curriculum and navigating the social structure that has already been established.
One silver lining is a connection he has developed with his English and Language Arts teacher. She made a special effort on his first couple of days to acknowledge him being new and offered him support, guidance and kind words. I cannot tell you how much this meant to him and to me. It was a reminder to be open and kind to the people we meet in life. I told my son that once he is comfortable at his new school, to make sure he remembers how it felt to be ‘the new kid’ and to reach out to others that may feel that way in the future.
In life, during transformation we may feel like the world is against us. We must counteract this by actively looking for kindness. Kindness will always find its way to us if we keep our hearts open.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful school year showered by the many, many kindness you deserve.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent