Deliberately Minimal: Back to School Edition

This edition by Raena Boston of @theworkingmomtras

For some, back to school is here and for others it’s just around the corner. Once again, we find ourselves navigating this particular season in times that still aren’t quite precedented. Phew!

BTS feels hectic because it is. It’s full of shopping, new routines, endless opportunities for extracurriculars, and the return of the dreaded car line.  Instead of resigning yourself to the overwhelm that this season brings, let’s get curious...How can you invite deliberate minimalism into your routines and rhythms? 

Should it inspire you, I’ll share how my family has incorporated our values into how we’re approaching back to school for this year.

Minimize school supplies shopping

Reimagined school supply shopping: For me, school supply shopping does not spark joy. Alas, it must be done. One of the ways that my family has reclaimed our time is by utilizing curbside pickup. If leaving the house isn’t on your to-do list, retailers such as Target and Staples offer same day delivery. Not only do these options give time back, but it also allows me to buy no more than what I need. My bank account is grateful, and my kids haven't shaken me down for more Legos.

If the thrill of the hunt and a deal spark joy, here are some tips to ensure success:

Weekly back-to-school sales typically start on Sundays. Shop Sunday and Monday mornings to beat the crowds and avoid picked over essentials. 

  • Don’t buy school supplies at Target without checking the Target app. When you use the Target app, you’ll get access to Target Circle offers like a percentage off a certain department (ahem — school supplies!).
  • Want to automate your deal finding? Sign up for text or email coupons at your favorite retailer during back to school season. You could also explore rebate apps and cash back plug-ins when shopping online. 

Minimize extracurriculars

Quality, and not quantity extracurriculars: As a family, we’ve really valued the extra time we’ve had together thanks to quarantines and shortened commutes. We won’t be returning to jam packed schedules. My kids get to choose one activity per season. Everyone is less stressed by this approach. 

  • When thinking about activities I’ve found that my children enjoy sports where they are in their body are best (not sure if this sentence makes sense?). What this looks like for my kids is enrolling in swimming or gymnastics instead of T-ball.
  • My boys are 4 and 5 and anything sensory is a big hit. They’ve enjoyed activities where they engage their five and sensory classes via music, dance, and art.
  • Many schools offer after school programs as well. School based after school activities are affordable and they cut down on the mom taxi time. 

Minimize car line

Car line drop out: I’ve opted out of the car line. I love doing drop off, but loathe the parade of cars that is after school pick up. I’ve heard of people getting creative with this part of the day by treating it as me time. Need ideas to make it more enjoyable? 

  • Have your favorite podcasts downloaded or  vibe to music that you can’t listen to with the kids in the car. Podcasts that I've been loving lately are Who was Prince?, which seeks to demystify Prince and We Can Do Hard Things from Glennon Doyle. You can also use the time to catch up on phone conversations with family friends. 
  • Want to minimize your time in the car line?  Team with fellow parents, family or utilize the school bus or other after school transportation.

With the focus on getting kids back-to-school don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle. Back-to-school time can be hectic for mamas and kids alike. Meet this time period as your favorite version of yourself. For me that looks like approaching this season with an emphasis on feeling cool, calm, and collected.  

Minimize mindfulness

Below are three ways to fit mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • Waking up 10-15 minutes before the kids to journal or sneak in a quick workout.
  • Preparing for the next day the night before. The less I have to do in the morning the calmer I am. This looks like setting out clothes, getting the coffee maker programmed to start the night before and making sure backpacks are by the front door. 
  • Inviting my partner to share in the mental load. I don’t want to do it all. My husband and I will take a look at activities and assignments so that the distribution of labor is spread out more evenly between the two of us. 

Cheers to you for surviving the summer! Identifying and setting intentions that take into account your values can help make this the simplest and low stress back-to-school season yet. 

Working Momtras

Meet Raena:

By day, Raena is an HR professional for a professional services firm. By night, she's been described as a table shakin', sailor talkin', truth teller at her expanding corner of the internet, The Working Momtras. The Working Momtras is a community where she discusses all things motherhood, marriage, careers, and parenting. Aksel (5) and Asher (4) AKA the #tinytenants, call her mama. The Tiniest Tenant is due in October.

For more Working Momtras visit www.theworkingmomtras.com and follow Raena on Instagram @theworkingmomtras

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