8 Highs and Lows of Back to School

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From the pictures proudly posted on Instagram and Facebook this week, across America moms are sending their children back to school. I’m sure once the Pinterest-inspired grade signs and handed back and the kiddos are safely on the bus or left in their new classrooms,  one of two reactions could be observed:

A) After keeping a brave face for their little one, they are now sobbing because their BABY is growing up; or

B) Clad in yoga pants and messy buns, coffee in hand, with the opening notes of “Old Time Rock and Roll” running through their tired heads, they channel Tom Cruise:

Of course, the Homeschool Moms are laughing at us all, because they start whenever they want without all the drama if they even took a break over the summer.  [Side note: I need more homeschool moms as friends because they have more patience than God and nerves of steel.  Fifteen minutes of math homework with my kid has me looking for the Tito’s bottle. And I was a Finance major.]

While I fall firmly in the second category, white socks and all, I always have mixed feelings about the start of the new school year.  Earlier this week, the kids accompanied me to the grocery store, and as I was walking in, I was lamenting all the things that hadn’t gotten to do this summer, wishing we had just a little more time.

By the time I reached the checkout, I was reminded that I put shopping with the kids up there with my c-section recovery and getting wisdom teeth pulled – necessary, but painful, and I found myself chanting my calming mantra “One more week.”

What I Love About The Kids Going Back to School:

1. Life gets less complicated. And by less complicated, mean complete everyday tasks such as grocery shopping without mediating fights, or listening to bickering or moans of “how long will this take??”  Honestly, when you end each shop with “this will be a lot more FUN when I can do it alone” you know it’s time to send them back. Or anywhere. Because when grocery shopping becomes fun, it’s probably time to take my car keys away.

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2. Re-establishing a routine.  While I realize this isn’t the case for everyone, my family needs routine, and the freedom of no schedule during the first month of summer wears thin by the beginning of August.  And given how scattered my brain has been, I NEED to get back into a routine if I hope to get anything done.

3. Writing without interruption. If I had to put my finger on any one reason why my writing has been inconsistent this summer, other than how easily distracted I am lately (hello, Facebook, I’m talking to you) it would be the inability to work uninterrupted. Just like picking up the telephone is the siren call of the child, so is a mom at her laptop.  Any time I start to really get into a groove, a fight breaks out. Or someone needs a jar opened, or a plate (which would be fine, except I guarantee I told said child to eat 30 minutes earlier when I wasn’t writing).  If I had a door to close, I could ignore the fighting but my desk is in between the kitchen and dining room – basically, in a hallway. Pretty, but hardly soundproof (and too close to the pantry).

4. Limited Disney XD or Xbox. Don’t get me wrong – I love Disney, but a marathon of “Jessie” and that back-talking Zuri will give me a nervous twitch. For the past week or so, just to keep a grip on the last shreds of sanity and civility I possess, I’ve tossed TV/Gaming time limits out the window, so long as they eat and spend some time reading and playing with friends.  Total mom fail and I just don’t care.

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But sending the kids back to school DOES come with a price.

1. Waking up EARLY. People, my kids get up at 6 am. We’ve been sleeping in until 8 or 9. HOLD ME.  The past few days I’ve moved my wake-up time to before-sunrise, and seriously, it took three attempts just to make a cup of coffee on the Keurig. While the kids typically pack most of their lunch during the week, I know how foggy they will be as well. Frankly, I’m pushing for school meals for the first week just to keep the morning crazy to a minimum.

#coffee

Summing up me in the morning thanks to Lifewithpethairballs.wordpress.com

2. The Return of Homework.  I thank the sweet little baby Jesus each and every day for the teachers at our last school who held Math Universities or gave me their email addresses so when I couldn’t help with homework (because I had no clue what they were doing) I could get some instructions what the heck they were doing. They said it was math, but it was stupid, and my way wasn’t their way so there was a whole lot of frustration.  And then there is my middle schooler, who is going to get buried in homework, or so I’m told, and he had minimal amounts in 5th grade, so with a few of the courses he signed up for, his head may just explode.  I’m not good with blood, people. Or science.

3. Drama. The good thing about summer is that kids generally only have to interact with people they like. School means there will be drama no matter what. My kind, gentle son is entering middle school and this last move has caused him to go back into his shell a bit.  He’s a great kid, but I worry that he will get eaten up and spit out. And with girls, there is ALWAYS drama.

4. Can I say it? School Fundraisers. Please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, just let me write a bloody check and be done with it. I don’t want to sell anything, I don’t want to help my kid sell anything, and I hate carnivals and fairs with a passion. (Ok, I LOVE book fairs, but that’s it.)

There is one item that fell on both lists, so I’ll just add it last: the PTA.

I confess: I wasn’t active in the PTA last spring because the move to Texas overwhelming enough, but it also meant that I didn’t meet a whole lot of people. I have met some of my best friends through the PTA and so I have vowed to be more active for the simple sake of meeting more moms because frankly when the Kroger cashier asks “how is your day”, I don’t really think she expects an excited (read: long) response. (I’ve tried to stop it all but when you don’t talk to anyone during the day other than the dog, sometimes you just can’t keep it all in).

I have kids in two schools this year, and that means two PTAs, which is great if you’re not an introvert. Oh, I’m fine once I get to know a person, but in the beginning, particularly when it feels like everyone knows everybody else, it’s overwhelming: overcoming nerves, forcing smiles to combat resting-bitch face, and figuring out what to do with my hands so I don’t fidget.

It’s a struggle people, and it’s exhausting.

But then again, so is dealing with the bickering and fighting of my two, and if I can make a few new friends at the PTA, I won’t have to drink wine alone.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids. They are fun and clever, but I’ll appreciate them more when we haven’t been fighting all the livelong day. I know these days will go by quickly, so I’m trying to appreciate every moment I get with them.

And I’m sure I’ll appreciate the time together even more next summer.

Mama’s Losin’ It
This post was inspired by the prompt “List 8 things you’re looking forward to and/or list 8 things you are dreading about sending the kids back to school”, because reading directions is not my strongest skill.

Check out the other posts linked up this week with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop because I’m sure they had enough coffee to hunt down enough images for their posts.

I didn’t.

Comments

  1. I’m so with you on just about everything on this list. I’m looking forward to the kids going back but definitely not looking forward to the early mornings!

  2. I sent my son back to school with a heavy heart because I remember how I hated going back and he feels the same way. It’ll be nice having more free time but I am dreading the homework! Stopping by from Mama Kat’s!

  3. One week to go!! yes, I jumped for joy for realsies. My three have kept me on my toes the whole summer – one minute being the best of friends, then quickly to mortal enemies. There’s like – no warning at all. Just laughing then…. *SCREAMS OF ANGER AND PAIN*
    I don’t think too much Xbox or DisneyX is a fail…. letting them kill one another? that’s a fail.
    We’ve had some great fun times though. but vacations with kids are not really vacations at all, so yes — it’s time for them to go back. ha

  4. SPOT ON! I agree with every point! I think I’d like a little more time though too. The little buggers are growing on me.

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