Will Your Kids Be Heading Back to School This Fall?

Here in France, my kids went back to school in May and June. They are on summer break now, but schools are currently planning to fully open in September (technically, I think the first day back is August 31st).

Friends have asked what it’s like having kids back in school — what are the safety precautions? — so I thought I’d walk you through what it has been like here to have the country slowly and carefully reopen.

Lots to talk about. Come discuss with me.

A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How have you been? We spent the last week in Brittany and it felt great to take a break from my laptop.

Things I want to discuss with you:
– How France has handled reopening — what school and church and errands and vacationing is like.
– Our trip to Brittany (you can see highlights here and here).
– Updates on the house renovation. Things like tile for the bathrooms, the light fixtures in the office, and updates in the garden.
– The frustration between creating content for Instagram versus creating content for the blog.
– The American passport and having kids that can’t get to us.
– My emotional visit to La Cressionnere (the house we used to rent when we lived here before).
– Mental health updates.

I owe you blog posts on all this and more. I find I’m having a hard time managing my time and can’t quite put my finger on the reason. Is it stress from current events? Renovation overwhelm? Depression? Not sure. But I always miss it when I’m not updating regularly, so even though it’s Sunday while I type this, I wanted to share my Friday link list. : )

Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

23 links this week. Come see.

Living With Kids: Lani Inlander

When I first started asking parents about how their lives had changed because of the COVID pandemic I thought we would be out of it in several long weeks. 4 or 5 Living With Kids posts and we would be back to normal. But here we are, in July and we’re still talking about how the quarantine has changed lives.

Today I am excited for you to meet Lani. She is an entrepreneur and lives with her husband and two kids in DC. Like so many of us her life was thrown into turmoil while trying to figure out how to work from home and run school and parent, but now the family is settling into some sort of normal and appreciating what they are learning in the process. Welcome, Lani!


American Tragedy Documentary

Do you remember when the Columbine high school shooting happened? It was 1999, so I’m sure some of you reading were too young to be aware yet. There were so many essays and op-eds in the months following the shooting, suggesting that the parents of the shooters must have known something like this was going to happen; that the parents could have prevented it; that they must be absentee parents, or cruel, abusive parents to have raised a child who could kill in cold blood. And of course, we hear the same thing suggested every time there has been a school shooting since.

But in the 21 years since Columbine, a huge amount of research has been done, and the experts agree our assumptions about parents are wrong. It turns out parents don’t know and can’t predict if their child is going to become a school shooter, and that even loving parents can raise a killer.

So the bad news is, the statistics tell us 1 in 5 kids will have a severe and debilitating mental health disorder before the age of 18. Which means even if it’s not your child, it’s 4 or 5 kids in their class. But the good news is, Anthony Biglan reports in The Nurture Effect that with the right tools and early interventions, “preventing crime, academic failure, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, marital discord, poverty, child abuse, depression, anxiety . . . is possible.”

My sister-in-law, Lisa Sabey, dove into mental health research when one of her six kids was dealing with an eating disorder, and the research became her passion. She has made it her life’s work to change the way our country thinks about and approaches mental health care for kids. Her second full-length documentary on mental health, titled American Tragedy, comes out tomorrow (July 7th), and it follows the story of Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two Columbine shooters. The message of the film is: it’s an American Tragedy that we have not understood the importance of mental wellness, nor taught it.

Some really hopeful and helpful info when you keep reading.

Living With Kids: Julie Hammond

Today we get to meet Julie Hammond of Asheville, North Carolina. Covid-19 continues to make impacts in so many lives, large and small. In Julie’s and her husbands case, who were recently “empty nesters”, it meant welcoming their college aged daughter back home to shelter with them and wait out the pandemic. Julie’s house feels warm and comfortable, and Julie has a great perspective on enjoying and appreciating older children as they become adults. Welcome, Julie!




Design Mom is all about the intersection of design and motherhood. I'm Gabrielle Blair (some people call me Gabby), a designer and mother of six. I think you're going to love reading Design Mom.

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