Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited for the kiddos to be back in school as the rest of the moms out there who've had a 12-week hiatus from normal daily life. I just wish we could remove a couple irritating back to school elements from the equation (listen to me, I already sound more scholarly ... ugh, summer is officially over).
Here are those irritating elements, I mean, the annoying stuff that comes with those darn kids needing an education:
1. I get to feel stupid again, AKA homework: All summer I was sooo smart. I figured out the logistics of carrying four chairs and an umbrella, a cumbersome (but cute) straw bag, and two boogie boards from my car to the beach with little assistance. I could tell you the location of Amanda Bynes with pinpoint accuracy, due to my summer reading, which consisted of anything you could buy while checking out at the grocery store. I know, brilliant, right?
Now, I'll be expected to know the order of operations or who won the Franco-Prussian war. I don't even know who was in the Franco-Prussian war and it seems like the name is a total hint, which makes me feel even stupider. Crap, is stupider even a word? (P.S. The older they get, the "stupider" you get to feel. YAY!)
2. Waking up early: I love those extra minutes/hours you get to sleep in the a.m.during the summer, not to mention the stress-free morning routine. There's no mad rush to get to a bus or carpool lane. No one needs to check and make sure work is completed and paperwork is signed to avoid getting docked a letter grade.
Even when the kids are in camp, I have no problem dropping them off late because, well, I know there won't be a pop quiz in archery or dodge ball, and no one is grading their lanyard making skills.
3. Getting to bed early: Because of number two, I now have to get my kids to sleep at a time that will allow them to be fresh and rested the next morning ... apparently punctuality is important to the school boards. That said, my kids have this amazing ability to get a second wind right when I need them to settle down.
In fact, merely telling them "it's bedtime" is like announcing through a bullhorn that it's time to play with the dog, remember you have unfinished homework, realize something hurts you, that you lost something, decide you didn't have enough for dinner, or start to divulge the details about your day, which I inquired about six hours ago, with no response.
4. There are NO excuses not to work out: The summer schedule can be pretty erratic -- one day one kid is home, one day another, we do things like find beaches or spend days at pools or go to arcades. Things that require my attendance, things that take up the time I could use to stay in shape. Now, with them gone six hours at a clip, it makes it much harder to find reasons to stay away from the treadmill, the gym, or those Tracy Anderson videos, which will induce mountains of guilt.
Maybe I'll put up signs asking solicitors to come to my door, or I'll make appointments at free clinics to ensure I'm in a waiting room for a good portion of the day, or I could always go to the grocery store multiples times daily because I forgot one item (wait, I already do the last one). Darnit, I may have to actually lift a weight or something.
5. Making lunches: I don't know why the task of making lunches is so burdensome. It's not like I don't feed my children on a pretty regular basis, because I do, and I have since, like, forever. But for some reason, there's this pressure to have enough, and to cover the food groups or pyramid or isosceles triangle or whatever it is these days, plus the extra act of putting things into Ziploc baggies is sheer torture.
6. Teachers are a judgy bunch: Over the summer I can be a total slacker. No one knows if my kids considered swimming the equivalent of bathing for the last week, if they wore the same clothes for three days straight, or if they ate pizza breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But at school there are these other adults who are watching ... and smelling them -- and they are totally aware of such negligence.
Plus, those evil drill sergeants request that I sign and return things, on time no less (or they take it out on my children). They expect my kids to arrive before the bell rings ... with fresh breath, and full bellies, and finished homework, and signed reading logs, and ... It takes a lot of effort and acting ability to seem like all that stuff is done with ease. I don't mean to seem paranoid, but I'm pretty certain they throw darts at pictures of the bad moms in the teachers' lounge.
7. I have to compete with other mothers: OK, I know I don't have to compete, buuuuut my competitive nature is a real hindrance when I try to explain that to myself. Let's just say, if I don't beat out the other moms, ahem, kids in the third grade science fair this year, I'm gonna be pretty pissed.
8. School supply shopping: Seriously, if you want to test the elasticity of your patience, spend a day in a crowded discount store ... with your kids and eight bazillion other people trying to vie for the last pack of Crayola Twistables. Don't forget to add in the time it takes for your child to pick the perfect folder or composition book.
My daughter spent 25 minutes deciding whether the kitten popping out of a birthday present was "better" than the puppy looking at the kitten with sad eyes while the kitten batted him in the snout. Seriously, neither is going to make you a best-selling child novelist so just freakin' pick one before I stab myself in the eye with the pointy side of this compass!
As much as you're ready for them to go back, you know something annoys you about back to school time ... spill. What is it?
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