Do you ever have those days where you’re scheduled for a full day of pre-start-of-school professional development and you have to still do your full-time job and you’re somehow president of the PTA at yet another school and your father is having a squamous cell carcinoma removed from his ear so you have to be on call for him and your daughter just got back from a full summer away so you want to spend some time with her and you learned that her father never took her to an orthopedic specialist as recommended by her pediatrician for the finger she has broken twice and your dog is overdue for his flea medicine and your other daughter has a junky cough and you might actually drown under laundry and you have to pick an insurance plan and both your kids haven’t finished their math packets or summer reading and your 7-year-old  just lost a tooth and the only cash you have is $10 and the Tooth Fairy is just going to have to part with that kind of cash because you’re not going to be able to get to the bank and you just want to collapse face-first into a bag of Zapp’s salt and vinegar chips and a bottle of pinot grigio but you can’t because you’ve lost 6 pounds and you almost wish diet and exercise didn’t work so you could stop counting calories but it does and so you kind of have to keep going …?

Just me then?

Anyway, I decided to ask Ruby and Georgia for their best back-to-school advice to cross one more item off my to-do list.

Ruby says:

  1. Just be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not just to make friends. You don’t have to fit in – sometimes fitting in as someone you’re not is worse than just being yourself and not fitting in.
  2. If your school has uniforms or a strict dress code, maybe you can express yourself through your school supplies. Get a fun folder or cover your books with something you like.
  3. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s counseling or tutoring, people at school want to help you.
  4. I like to choose one solid color for each subject and stick to it. My notebook and folder for science are both green, and for math, they’re both yellow. It keeps me organized.
  5. For extracurriculars, do what you’re passionate about. If your ideal club doesn’t exist, see about creating it. You don’t want to waste time on an activity you’re not really excited about.

Georgia says:

  1. Always do your homework.
  2. Listen to the teacher every day.
  3. Never hurt another kid or classmate – either with your words or with your body.
  4. Make all the friends you can.
  5. Eat ice cream as much as you can! Mom, put an exclamation mark because of ice cream!

From the mouths of babes, y’all. If Georgia tells me to eat ice cream, I think I pretty much have to, calories be damned.

So there you have it: back-to-school tips from the kids who know. Be nice, be yourself, have fun, follow your passions, seek help when you need it, make friends – and eat ice cream.

It’s going to be a great year!