Don’t Stress over School Prep: Lessons from a Seasoned Mama


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Who’s ready for back-to-school? “Me! Me! Me!” Shouting to the hills as I wave both arms, hands high in the air, kicking up my heels and breaking out into the “running man” dance (well, my rendition of the “running man” anyway). Yes! The time has finally arrived. I know it’s a bittersweet moment for those of you who have sweet little ones with cute pig tails, button noses, and rosy little cheeks. But, for me, I’ve been anxiously awaiting, checking the doorstep for this package along with all of the other online back-to-school essentials that I’ve ordered.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have thoroughly enjoyed the intense bonding experience that has taken place between my nine-year-old daughter and myself. However, if I’ve heard “mom,” “mama,” “mommy, look at this or that” one time, I’ve heard it 100,000 times. Although its going to be different not having her legs and arms wrapped around me like a baby koala bear, I’m quite excited about regaining control of my bed, TV, shower, potty time, and overall personal space. You see, I’m a bit of a homebody, so its not unusual for me to not get out of the house for days unless it’s absolutely necessary. So all of the energy of this delightful, very opinionated, talkative, and insightful child has, for the most part, been contained within these four walls. Well, it’s a bit bigger than four walls, but you get the idea. Having said ALL of that, let’s get down to back-to-school business!

Stock Pile Supplies

When it comes to school supplies, I’ve learned through trial and error not to put all of my eggs in one basket. Like a lot of other parents I used to wait for the famous Texas tax free weekend to save eight cents on the dollar. I say Texas because we never had such a thing in the great state of Wisconsin. Now that I know better, I start collecting supplies, clothing, etc. immediately after the school year ends (sometimes before), or whenever I come across a sale. As your back-to-school skills increase, it’s something that will soon become second nature. While in Kroger or HEB shopping for dinner, you’ll find yourself checking the clearance baskets for crayons, big pink erasers, highlighters, glue sticks, colored pencils, and washable markers.

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During my days as an elementary school receptionist, one of my jobs was to make sure that every child received a packet on the last day of school with information for the summer as well as a school supply list for the upcoming school year. I now realize how much help this was to the parents who liked to get a jumpstart on things. If your school is as kind-hearted as mine, then you’ll already have a leg-up on the competition. You do know that you’re in competition, right? An actual treasure hunt of some sort. Why else would we be running around from store to store like chickens with our heads cut off scrounging for the last of the Poly three-prong, two-pocket folders? And don’t forget about the one-subject, wide-ruled notebooks in red, blue, green, yellow, and black. You better get there soon, or else you’ll be left with nothing but college-ruled, and for our elementary babies, college anything just won’t do.

Cue Clothing for Class

Now that supplies are out of the way, lets talk back-to-school clothing. All of my children grow like weeds during the summer, so rarely am I able to salvage their clothes and shoes from one school year to the next. I used to think that my ISD was doing my children a disservice by not allowing them to wear street clothes like the neighboring ISDs. I felt as though they were trying to contain their creativity by making them wear the mundane and dreaded uniform.

Two years ago, after eight years of standardized dress, the heavens opened up, and Crowley ISD decided to give open dress a try but only at the high school level. I’ve been taught to be careful of what you ask for, and this turned out to be one of those situations. I now have the distinct pleasure of buying “street clothes” for my high school kids as well as the standardized dress (uniforms) for my elementary school baby. Honestly, neither one outweighs the other! My advice here is to go through your children’s clothes at the end of the year, decide on what’s salvageable, and start shopping online as soon as the last bell rings. This is when I’ve found the best selection as well as the best prices.

All in all, preparing for back to school can be quite an adventure. However, as the years pass by and the kids get older, the importance of some things seem to dwindle away or take a back seat. But just remember — there’s no such thing as preparing too early or having too many boxes of crayons, pencils, erasers, wide ruled notebooks, and three-prong, two-pocket Poly folders! Have a great school year!

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Laurie H
Laurie, known to many as “L,” is an only child born in Cleburne, Texas. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and relocated back to Big T almost 20 years ago. Laurie married her husband Taiwan in 2006, and they’ve collectively raised three sons and a daughter. Her professional experience includes working for city municipalities, independent school districts, and as a youth case worker. In 2015, she became the owner of CakePopsByL, a cottage bakery boutique. When she’s not filling dessert orders, she spends the majority of her time creating innovative digital content for more than eight social media accounts, where she shares recipes, baking tips, and cooking tutorials. She’s a self-proclaimed chef and spends a lot of time in the kitchen filming content and preparing delicious meals for her family. Laurie is a homebody who considers herself an extroverted introvert. She likes to travel, spend time with her family, and feels most rewarded when she’s teaching and helping others.



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