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by Emma Santizo, LCSW and Tara Farajian, LCSW

Here we are again and you are probably shopping for school supplies with your kids to get ready to start a new grade and/ or adjust to a new school. There are many transitions when kids go back to school such as, having new expectations from their new teacher(s) and meeting new friends.

However, they are not the only ones getting ready for these transitions. Mothers/parents everywhere are trying to prepare themselves for this new beginning as well.

So are you happy with back to school time and all that comes with it?

Here are some tips to help you and your family manage this time of the year:

  1. Talk to your kids to see how they feel about going back to school and if they have any concerns you want to address with them.
  2. Review with your family what you did last school year and what changes you would like to make in order for it to be more enjoyable for your child and the entire family.
  3. One or two weeks prior to your child going back to school, start setting their bedtime and wake- up routine.
  4. Have your child participate with getting their backpack ready for school and organizing specific places for their school items.
  5. Discuss your expectations of them and how that will affect what activi-
    ties they plan on participating in.
  6. Discuss and review your expectations of homework time with your kids.
  7. Discuss with them chores and your expectations of them on a daily and/or on a weekly basis.
  8. If your child is going to another school which makes it difficult for you to drop them off, start looking at your support system and see if you can coordinate with another parent to help with drop off and/or pick up.
  9. If you have more than one child and they need to use the computer to do their homework, schedule timesfor each child to use the computer.
  10. Remind your child that you love them unconditionally.

Here are a few tips for mothers to get ready for back to school time:

  1. Plan ahead by buying school materials and or clothes.
  2. Have your child pick their clothes out the night before.
  3. Discuss the school lunch menu with your child and see what days they would like home lunches.
  4. Prepare lunches the night before.
  5. Give your kids enough time to get ready for school by waking them up earlier than usual.
  6. Plan ahead and be mindful of your own schedule for that week and see what you can do to make your week less stressful. For example, gassing your car the day before, getting your brief case ready the night before, having your clothes ready the night before and maybe getting up a little early to sip on some hot coffee/tea before the kids get up.
  7. Be mindful of the voice you use when waking up the kids. Instead of yelling, be excited for them.
  8. When the kids are ready and in the car, give them a high five as a morning routine to acknowledge their help in getting ready for school.
  9. Make sure they know how much you love them every day.
  10. Make sure to treat yourself to a smoothie or something for planning ahead and making your transition back to school as smooth as possible.
  11. Enjoy!

Lastly, routine is so important to maintain a happy home so kids and parents know what is expected of them. Be involved and know what your child(ren) are learning by connecting with their teacher and helping them with homework.

Remember that schoolwork comes first before extracurricular activities and it is important not to over schedule children if they cannot get their tasks completed without losing sleep time. In addition, try to set limits in your home regarding watching television, computer, video games, cell phone usage, and other high tech gadgets. A common phrase is “square time”. Time that you allot on a daily or weekly basis as it relates to the use of electronic devices.

Finding balance as you prepare for this transition back to school is a daily event. Know what you are expecting of yourself and whether it is reasonable or even possible. Moms are always full-time moms. So, be aware of how much you are taking on and if it is too much. For example, if you want to volunteer in the classroom, but time does not permit, find another way to connect with your child and their learning. Knowing what you can and cannot do…and being ok with it is key. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. It is necessary. When you feel more balanced, your family will too.

To adapt to the challenges of the recession, to create more flexible work schedules, and circumvent the limits of a male dominated corporate culture, women are starting businesses and becoming self-employed. Women-owned businesses are growing in numbers at twice the rate of all U.S. firms (23% vs. 9%), and the ranks of women business owners are increasing by 23% annually, 2.5 times faster than the growth of businesses in general. “Women Rising: Five Predictions for Women in the Workplace—2012” is from the upcoming book Society 3.0: How Technology Is Reshaping Education, Work, and Society, by Dr. Tracey Wilen- Daugenti (Lang, January 2012).

Today’s society is pushing more and more mothers to go into the work force and provide financially for their families. Mothers are reevaluating their abilities and how they translate into the workforce once they have transitioned into motherhood. More mothers are opting to creating their own businesses in order to get the flexibility they want to continue to be a part of their family’s daily activities. Dr. Wilen-Daugenti also states that, “Women now influence more than 25% of the U.S. GDP and hold nearly 48% of all jobs. Without women, the U.S. economy would be 25% smaller than it is today.” Now that does not calculate the kind benefits of moms who are “at home” where 70% manage the finances of their family and reduce household costs by being “at home”. Basically, as Beyoncé states, “Who runs the world? Girls!!”

So how do you know if you are ready to take on the entrepreneur leap? What are the tools that you need to start being your own boss? Erika Anderson, creator of Proteus, wrote an article for Forbes Magazine in March and identified “What it takes to Create Your Own Business – Really”.

Anderson identified that passion is the most important element in creating your business; finding what wakes you up in the morning and moves your spirit. When we decided to create Transitions in Motherhood we identified motherhood as our passion and supporting mothers and their families in their journey through motherhood. Yes, we wanted both motherhood and career, which is a balancing act. But when you think about it – what isn’t? Everything is a balancing act and finding what that means for you is extremely personal. Literature can go from one extreme to the other as to women working “outside the home”, but finding what makes you happy is something that can only come from within you. Know there will always be someone who has an opinion one way or the other of your choices, but only you who will be living them.

Transitions in Motherhood would like to identify one more element that can assist in supporting your process in considering the entrepreneurial world. We would like to add self-reflection. We believe that making that leap also requires faith in self, so taking time to reflect on your fears that could potentially become roadblocks down the road is very important. We all have fears, but being able to face them and move through them will strengthen you as an entrepreneur. Having clarity regarding your fears will keep you from making decisions based on them. When you have a business that you are passionate about you can feel very exposed at times. So when you face moments when things don’t turn out the way you planned, being able to learn and move through those moments will be key.

We sometimes hear moms share that they feel like they “should” stay home if they have the ability to, but struggle with wanting to go to work once they do. And moms who want to stay home, but are returning back to work. If you could create your idea, what would it be? If you could create your vision and find/ follow your passion, what would it be? Research shows that when mom is happy, so are the kiddos…and partner too.

So whatever you decide or have already decided we wish you all that you could dream of and know that Transitions in Motherhood is a support for you along the way.


Emma and Tara are co-founders of Transitions in Motherhood, an organization dedicated in helping families, especially mothers, and their mental health.

Emma Santizo, LCSW

Transitions in Motherhood
Motherhood Balance
Read more about Emma here



Tara Farajian, LCSW

Transitions in Motherhood
Motherhood Balance
Read more about Tara here