This essay originally appeared in our monthly newsletter for The Mom Hour podcast. To get our emails, subscribe here. –Meagan
I’ve often referred to September as the New Year for moms. Even if you don’t have kids in school, it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy surrounding the back-to-school season. This time of year just seems to vibrate with the promise of freshly-sharpened pencils, blank notebook pages, and empty calendar pages waiting to be filled with new activities and routines.
But sometimes all that promise can feel like a lot of pressure. The rest of the world may seem to be ready and rarin’ to go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re feeling it right this minute.
Maybe you’ve been sick, or your baby isn’t sleeping anymore, or your first-grader is suddenly dealing with a bunch of anxiety related to her new classroom and new routine. Maybe you’re riding out a rough spot in an important relationship, maybe you’ve been feeling bad about the ten pounds you put on last year, maybe your energy is low and you don’t even know why.
You know what, mama? That’s okay. You can recognize the fresh potential of the season and still not feel quite ready to dive in full-force. I’m there myself – it’s been a stressful week, I feel behind on everything, and I’m definitely not ready to overhaul my entire life when my kids start school on September 4. But that day isn’t a set-in-stone deadline, and nobody (but me) is keeping score anyway.
A new start doesn’t have to involve All The Things. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, think about simple ways you can let the fall spirit inspire you. Maybe you could swap out your tablecloth for something more seasonal. Maybe you could sign up for a meal-planning service to make it easier to get back to cooking dinner at home. Maybe you could make a point of getting in a walk every morning. Maybe you could just try to get more sleep. Even if you just add one inspiring action, you’ll be coming out ahead.
All of it adds up to a life: the disorganized can’t-seem-to-get-anything-done days, the super-productive ones and everything in between.
You’re enough, right now, even if your pants don’t fit the way you wish they would or your kitchen has been a mess since August or that closet organization project you abandoned back in May is still plaguing you on a daily basis (two out of these three apply to me, I’ll let you guess which ones.)
Here’s to September. Some years I slay it and some years I just survive it. Whichever approach you’re taking this year, be kind to yourself.
We can always try again in October, after all.
How are you feeling about this month? Comment below and let me know–I’d love to hear from you!