Dodging the Back to School Chaos

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In less than two weeks, my kids will be heading back to school for another exciting school year. Usually by this time of the summer, I’m racing around the house like a mad woman purging and cleaning. I don’t know what triggers it. It’s like the nesting feeling an expecting mother gets shortly before the new baby arrives. As in both states (expectant mother nesting and back to school nesting), an unstoppable force takes over and in a trance-like state I grow four additional arms to clean and organize every nook and cranny. Even the dust bunnies get a makeover.

dodging the back to school chaos #parenting #brandiclevinger
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created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © millefloreimages at
Dodging the #BacktoSchool chaos #parentingwin Share on X

It’s almost like a trance

It’s more than typical spring cleaning, too. It’s spring, holiday, and family-is-visiting cleaning all in one. Hence the phrase ‘a mad woman purging and cleaning’. Quite ridiculous it may seem, but if you’re a parent, then you know exactly what I mean.

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image from © artursfoto at

Like approaching the New Year with a list of resolutions of ‘do overs’ and ‘starting fresh’, a new school year brings me the promise of getting it right this time. Another chance to do what I’ve intended to do in years past – attend all school events, participate in the PTSA, have the perfect teacher gift for each appropriate occasion, patience for the countless hours of homework, not procrastinating on school projects, and the list goes on – only to fall flat on my face within the first month week of school starting.

Breaking the cycle?

And even though this failure happens each year, I still strive to start off the year with the best intentions of breaking the cycle and making this year different. One year I’ll get it right. In fact, one year I will receive the mother of the year award, and everyone will gather to say what a terrific mom I’ve been by staying on top of all my goals! Okay, so reality says it won’t happen and I’m perfectly okay with that – honestly. A mom can dream, right?

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first day of school, 2017

This year is different, and not different as in breaking the cycle and having a chance to win that award. Like I said, it’s less than two weeks to school kick off and the house looks as though it did at the start of the summer. Actually, it’s worse than that. We have the end of last school year crap hidden under a layer of summer crap. And I’m making no attempts to change it any time soon. It will happen when it happens IF it happens.

Summer of pain

For the past four months or so, I’ve been struggling more than usual. A sudden onset of new symptoms struck me in late March and have yet to leave my body. The way I feel changes day by day, often times hour by hour. One moment I’ll be coping okay and the next I’ll be doubled over in pain unable to move. When living like this it’s hard to make plans or have energy for anything other than getting through that moment.

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enjoying a beach break one week before school starts

Last week when my husband commented that school was starting in just over a week, I couldn’t believe it. Where had the summer gone?! Oh, yeah – it went into hospital visits, doctor appointments, pharmacy stops, and bed. When looking back at the summer of 2018, I’m sure my family will remember it as the most boring summer ever. I know I will. It’s been horrible for us.

Ready for school? Nope!

We’ve managed to do a few exciting adventures this summer, and even those were hard for me to do. The summer hasn’t been a complete loss, and I hope the kids remember the few things we did do rather than how much we were in the house. We have kinda went stir crazy in here, and I know the kids were looking forward to a trip to my in-laws like in years past.

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Our family photo before our oldest son’s end of the year piano concert. May 2018

So, am I ready for school? Not at all. In fact, I’m leaving my house in less than ten minutes to gather school supplies. It’s really the only step I’ve taken to prepare my kids for the new school year. Wait a minute – I did order them book bags from Amazon a few weeks ago. So today’s task will be the second step. Progress!

What’s the point?

Since I’m not able to purge and clean the way I usually do in this last stretch of summer break, I’m thinking it’s not so bad. What’s the point of doing all that anyways? I do go into the new school with the best of intentions, and end up doing the best I can. So why isn’t that the goal from the beginning?

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Our oldest daughter’s end of the year Wax Museum project, May 2018

Each New Year’s Day my husband and I purposely do not make resolutions. We see it as a way of letting ourselves down by falling short of what we planned to do. If we set all these crazy goals of eating healthier, working out, or whatever else and then fail to do it, we only make ourselves feel bad. BUT if we go into it with the mindset of doing the best we can, then there’s really no room for disappointment if we did just that – the best we can.

This is what I plan on doing for the new school year. I intend to do the best I can with what I have at that given moment. It’s the most accurate and realistic goal I can set for myself, and more importantly, I won’t be disappointed.

Brandi Clevinger

A place where I talk about everything and sugar coat nothing.

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