People often ask me “how do you do it? How do you balance a crazy hectic job and a crazier home life?!” I mean, I work in a school, and I have a kit and kaboodle of my own school aged minions. Working in a school can have its own share of challenges, especially when you have kids of your own. Why is it I mix up my kids names half the time, but I can remember a random grandparent’s email address?! Life is no longer a work/life/school balance with delineations, it’s all combined into one marbly mix.
Sometimes I find myself wondering as I contemplate the number of years left until retirement. It’s 33, if you’re interested.The school year is filled with a bit of paranoid lice dodging, hand sanitizing, and navigating the world of data entry, registration, and student services. Organizing is my thang (am I too basic?!). Welcoming new families and saying goodbye to old as they transition into a new venture can be both taxing and rewarding. Most parents look forward to summer – no school, kids sleeping in, no homework, etc. For me, it’s like living in Santa’s work shop. For me, it’s Go Time. No backsies, no pauses.
My job ensures everything is perfect for incoming families, schedules are created and perfected for principals, and data is processed (among many other tedious tasks). Streamlining such processes ensure a smoother transition year after year.
In the interim until #blessed retirement, I’ve discovered some ways to keep (somewhat) sane in my professional and personal life:
1. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
This word cannot be overemphasized. This isn’t to say you want your life to be a perpetual bullet journal, listing everything from soup to nuts. Keeping tabs on what your family’s foreseeable plans are will help minimize frantic “I forgot” moments (we hope – fingers crossed ). But when you do forget your favorite Starbucks coffee mug on the roof of your car, miss a doctor appt. because you’re too focused on homework or an extracurricular, forget your kid’s science project in the back of the Mommy Van, or discover a jar of dead frogs buried in the back seat because your kid wanted to save some animals (true story), remember, you’re still doing a bang-up job. Scheduling helps organize your plate, but it’s no Fairy Godmother (if I can find one, I’ll let you know).
It’s important to segregate work, home, and school life. Don’t over complicate, but create boundaries to keep yourself in check. Build a border wall around your free time and me time.
It’s important as a working parent to get your ‘Me Time.’ It’s not selfish. You can’t drive around on empty. Fill yourself up with things that bring you joy and a glimmer of happiness. You only have one life to live.
3. Don’t be a “yes man.”
Be honest about your abilities, and realistic with your mental budget. Don’t overextend to the point of burn out. Everyone loses if you take on more than what you can handle. Be strong and soft. Don’t be 1 ply in the clutch of a toddler, getting pulled apart by the hands of pressure. Be 3ply.
4. Treat people like puppies.
That doesn’t mean approaching people crouched down, squealing in an octave 3x higher than normal pitch (unless you’re into that sort of thing). And it definitely doesn’t mean to pet them. Life lesson: don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things.
Treat people who come across your path like they’re the highlight of your day. And…maybe offer them a treat, everyone loves food. A small dose of empathy goes a long way. It’s not called the “golden rule” for nothing. Working in a customer service oriented position can be a challenging task when you are confronted or treated less than ideal. Just remember, you don’t always know what others are going through, and their behavior may be indicative of the burdens they bear. They could be just as much of a hot mess as you are!! Hopefully, your act of kindness will lend itself in return. And if not, just remember that you did your part. Don’t let someone else’s negativity bring you down.
5. Learn to relax.
A wise man once told me when you’ve got a whale in front of you, remember your fork and knife. Take it one bite at a time. Eventually, it’ll all get eaten. Now, I’m no shark, but I do know how it feels to face large challenges. Sometimes it feels like climbing a sinking ladder. Step back. It’s all about perspective. Tackle that beast one hit at a time, and eventually, it’ll be conquered (in a PC, PETA friendly fashion).
Realize your potential. We are all in this together, one step and one breath at a time. If you’re feeling like a disorganized hot mess, take some steps to alleviate the pressure. Create a plan, mark the calendar, set some time up for yourself. Set your boundaries to be cognizant of your time, so others will respect them too. Relax, enjoy your downtime, and resist filling it up with unnecessary filler. Your time isn’t an Easter basket. Remember, facing challenges today will bring you heightened awareness of new challenges tomorrow. They may be beasts, but approach them one step at a time. No flamethrowers necessary. Salute!
To learn more about Script and how to streamline your K12 school processes such as field trips, aftercare, parent purchases, digital permission slips, please feel free to book a demo at www.scriptapp.com