Back to School season has arrived, meaning many moms have a long to-do list. The season is often busy and hectic, from getting school supplies to schedules to thinking of lunch ideas. Some of our Single Mom Defined moms have already sent their children back to school, so we asked them to share what they did or wish they had done for themselves during that time. Yes, back-to-school self-care tips for moms are a thing. We want moms to remember themselves while caring for everyone else. The saying “Put on your oxygen mask first” comes to mind because moms often put themselves last. If mom is unhappy and unwell, the whole family likely feels it. So, mamas, check out these self-care tips and promise yourself to do at least 2 of them this season. 

Back To School Self Care Tips For Moms 

Reset Your Family Schedule 

Most of these tips will be all about what moms can do for themselves, but this first tip benefits both moms and their children. Community Member and mom Melissa advised resetting the daily schedule and routine 2 to 3 weeks before school starts. Melissa goes with 3 weeks, but 2 weeks will work too. The goal is to get children back to a routine close to their school year routine. That includes going to bed at their regular bedtime. Depending on how far off their summer bedtime is, work your way back by 30 minutes every few days until you hit the school year bedtime, aiming for this time to be at least a week before school starts. 

Please do the same thing for wake-up time, aiming for your children to have at least a week of waking up for school time under their belt before the school year starts. Get your children up and do their school year morning routine, too. And mamas, reset your schedule as well. With everyone back in the rhythm, this should make for a great first few days of school and build the momentum from there. 

Checkoff All The School To Do’s 

This is another tip that doesn’t technically feel like self-care, but do this ahead of time, and you won’t feel the stress of rushing just before school starts. What does this mean? Buy school supplies, make doctor appointments, and fill out school forms as far ahead of time as you can. Single Mom Defined Team Member MJ says the one exception she makes to this is buying shoes. In this case, it’s okay to wait until the last minute because these kids seem to have ever-growing feet! If you can get all this done at least 2 weeks before school starts, you’ll be golden.

Prep Your Space 

Organizing, decluttering, and preparing your space is an essential back-to-school self-care tip for moms. Consider this back-to-school “spring cleaning.” Get everyone’s personal, work, homework, and resting spaces in order ahead of time. Everyone will be exhausted in those first few days or weeks of school. But coming home to prepped rooms means one less thing to worry about. Consider schedules, agendas, and daily routines in preparing your spaces. 

Take A Day Off 

Do you have vacation or personal time available? Use it! Back to school is the perfect time to schedule a day or two off work. One mom shared that she always takes the first day of school off to take her kids to school and then take herself out to breakfast. Another mom shared she takes the first day of school off and the day after just for her. “I usually book myself a massage or something else just for me,” Gina says. 

According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of Americans (55%) are still not using all their paid time off as of 2018. So, if you have any time off that needs to be planned out, take a day or two off when your kids return to school. 

Treat Yourself 

Use your day off to treat yourself. Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything at all. Go for a walk or a hike since nature is free. Or if you’re okay with spending, you could book a room in a fancy hotel and order room service. Many hotels offer last-minute deals, discount rates for a day, and more. Maybe you and a few moms take the day off and watch a movie? Or perhaps you go home and sleep in your quiet house until it’s time for your children to come home. 

Head To The Spa 

Single mom Lauren spent the day at a local Korean bathhouse on the first day of school. She paid the low entry fee, enjoyed a massage, facial, and body scrub, and then had lunch at their cafe. All of this for under $100 was the best gift she gave herself after a long summer and the busy start to the school year. Can’t make it to the spa? A 10-minute hand or foot massage at your local salon will still give you a little love from yourself. 

Take A Class

Is there something you’ve been wanting to learn or try? An art, dance, yoga, or cooking class? Book it for when school starts. Why? Kick off the school year with something you like to do so that you have something to reflect on when the schedule really ramps up. It will remind you to include things for you on your calendar. The burnout will come; when it does, book another class. 


Consider starting a meditation practice ahead of the school year. You can also do this with your kids. Meditation is a great way to destress for everyone. You could learn a deep breathing technique you can use at any moment or put dedicated meditation time on your calendar. Grounding yourself and your children will give everyone a great frame of mind. 

Build Your School Year Squad 

Now is the time to ask for help and build your school year squad. If you need help with school drop off or pickup, ask a friend, family member, or fellow mom with children in your class or school. Having a support network in place is a vital part of your back-to-school self-care routine. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so don’t try to do everything alone. This might be hard for many single moms, but connect with single mom networks in your area to start meeting other moms and then go from there. The Single Mom Defined community is a great place to start. 

What back-to-school self-care tips for moms do you practice?