My daughters start first grade and kindergarten this year. My Facebook feed is filled with smiling children holding up signs stating the date and their upcoming grade. Every store I enter is filled with back-to-school displays. And every parenting magazine makes it seem like I need to have a monthlong plan to prepare for a very normal event – going back to school.

In response to this overload, my mind fills with all sorts of worries about the coming year: What if my 6-year-old doesn’t like the new first grade teacher? What if my 5-year-old never actually learns the alphabet? What if we made a mistake sending them to such a small school? What if my daughter has another asthma attack in gym class? What if her sister won’t eat the pizza on pizza Tuesdays? How will I ever stay sane sitting in traffic all the way across town twice each day?

If I’m not paying attention, these worries can dictate my whole day. Instead of focusing on my work, I find myself wandering the aisles of Staples and Target, buying spiral notebooks and pencil cases (which my daughters don’t need yet) and wondering if I bought the wrong style of lunch box.

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