It’s back to school time … and this family is ready!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, kids really do need structure. Keeping them on a schedule is good for all of us and makes planning so much easier because I know exactly who will be where and when.
This past year, we had one child in elementary school, one in middle school, and one in high school. Believe me when I say that mornings and afternoons were really chaotic. By last May, I couldn’t wait for the school year to end. Between the awards assemblies and the class parties at the end of the year, all I could think about was how much I was going to appreciate the unstructured days of summer.
At first, mornings without making lunches and finding matching clean socks were an absolute delight. But eventually the novelty of summer wore off. It didn’t take long before I started hearing “I’m hungry” or “What are we going to do today”. Then there’s “What’s for lunch?” or “Can we go somewhere?” At some point, I think we’re all ready for school to start again. They’re bored and I’m worn out from trying to keep them busy.
I actually enjoy the “back to school” process and stockpiling school supplies. There were great “back to school” deals throughout the summer. A lot of stores had BOGO deals and door busters with low prices I couldn’t pass up. When I saw something that I knew was cheap, I bought it. When I saw clothes that I knew my kids would like, I picked them up. I don’t typically look for “back to school” deals. Instead, I make it a point to pick up something up whenever I ‘m out. It’s very much like Christmas shopping for me!
This year will be a lot easier with my two boys at the same school. I won’t miss tackling morning traffic at three different schools! They’ve already been to orientation and received their schools I.D.’s, books, and other supplies. My eldest took his younger brother under his wing and helped him get familiar with the campus. They’re at that age where neither of them really wanted to do the buddy system for a day, but when I explained that it was either walk around campus with each other or walk around with mom, they both jumped at the chance! They win their fair share of battles so it’s nice to know that I can still be persuasive when I want to be. I played cool about the transition into high school, but I was really worried about my “baby” getting lost on campus or not being able to find one of his classes. I can still remember holding his hand and walking him to his new class each year on the first day of school. There’s an 8 year gap between he and my daughter so he was my “baby” for a very long time and it’s harder for me to let go of him.
My daughter is in the first grade so I’m still able to hold her hand at school … at least some of the time. We visited her school a few days ago to find out who her teacher is going to be, but I’m still going to walk her to class on the first day and a few days after that. They let parents walk on campus the first week and then we’ll have to say good bye at the gate.
My last step before school starts is to tackle the grocery list. Well – I should start by making an actual list. Anyone who has ever had teenage boys will tell you they eat A LOT. It gives a whole new meaning to “eating you out of house and home”. It’s almost impossible to keep food in the house. They literally go through my grocery bags and start eating before I even get a chance to put anything away. My daughter is six so she’s still pretty easy. My biggest concern with her is that she’ll give all her food away because she likes to share.
School starts this week and I feel quite prepared. It’s a nice feeling that I don’t always experience. It seems like I’m usually rushing around at the last minute for everything while all of the other parents are organized and ready for whatever task is at hand. If I’m lucky, my new found preparedness will be a good indicator of how my family will function during the whole school year. One thing I’m certain of – when I do the last drop off for the morning I’m going to get in my car, smile a really big smile, and exhale.