It seems like everywhere I look, moms are squealing and clutching their chests with glee over sending their kids back to school. Am I the weirdest mom ever for not feeling the same way? I mean, I’m a work-from-home mom, so I understand the benefits of six child-free hours: the fewer kids in the house, the quieter the house, the less crap to clean up, the fewer disputes to mediate, the more work I get done. I get all that. But…
1. I suck at mornings. I just got used to my work until 1 a.m. and sleep until 9 a.m. schedule. The kids know how to turn on the TV in the morning, pour themselves a bowl of cereal, and leave me the heck alone. Now I have to readjust to getting up at the butt-crack of dawn again, and I have to give up my beloved night-owl work schedule. Yeah, this is gonna suck.
2. Getting my son ready for school is like herding feral cats. Once my grumpy troll of a son has at last been pried from his mattress with the Jaws of Life, he slumps catatonically before his oatmeal with glazed eyes and a string of drool dangling from the corner of his mouth. I shovel food down his throat so he doesn’t end up starving at 11 in the morning and having a meltdown in class. He needs a flowchart and copious yelling in order to leave the house wearing all required items of clothing in the right order (underwear first, son, then pants. GAH!). All of this whilst my 5-year-old daughter—completely dressed and teeth brushed—observes haughtily and preens like a peacock over how much more responsible she is *eye roll*.
3. I have to make my kids’ lunch before I’ve even had my coffee. I mean, I don’t have to make their lunch, but the stuff they serve in the school cafeteria, well, that’s a whole other essay of its own. And for all the organized supermoms who are about to suggest I make his lunch the evening before? Uh, well, I don’t have a snappy comeback for you. You’re absolutely right; I should totally do that. But I won’t, because I’m not that organized. So there.
4. School-year grooming requires me to actually pay attention. We can get away with lackadaisical hygiene over the summer, like long hair, days without baths (the pool is antimicrobial, right?), dirt under the nails or a little wax showing in an ear canal. But when school is in session, teachers, administrators, other moms, the janitor…they will all judge me if I don’t stay on top of that stuff. I get anxious just thinking about it.
5. My kids have to get used to wearing closed-toed shoes again. After a summer of nothing but Crocs and flip-flops, regular shoes (no open-toed or sling-backs, per the dress code!) suddenly feel like medieval-torture devices. “My shoes feel weird, Mommy.” “Something’s rubbing/pinching/squishing/scratching me, Mommy.” “There’s a wrinkle in my sock, Mommy.” And the most ridiculous: “My shoes aren’t on the right feet!”—when they are totally on the right feet!
6. Schedules are too crazy during the school year. The mere act of programming all of the obligatory meetings and appointments into my phone calendar exhausts me, and that’s before I actually do any of the stuff. During the summer, we lazily float through the days and all the fun stuff we do is on impulse, exactly how we like it. The school year is a highly scheduled smorgasbord of after-school activities, teacher conferences, required volunteer hours, birthday parties, school recitals, project due dates…I think I need a Xanax.
7. Homework. I’m sorry, weren’t you just in school for six hours, kid? They couldn’t squeeze enough learning into six hours? Now you have to do an extra hour at home while I’m folding laundry and cooking dinner? I thought I was done with homework when I graduated college. This is a fresh new hell.
8. Earlier bedtimes. No more “if you rub/walk on/scratch Mommy’s back, you can stay up later” crap. My kids actually require a certain number of hours of sleep to function at optimal capacity, and it’s on me to make sure they get it. I’ll sure miss those late evening back-scratching sessions.
9. Fundraisers. Here’s a hundred bucks, school. NOW LEAVE ME ALONE.
And, if you want to know the real truth: I’ll miss my kids while they’re at school all day. There. I said it. So sue me. Yes, in spite of my daily whining about how my kids are always underfoot and driving me crazy with their noise, I do honestly like having them around during the summer.
And not just because I get to sleep in.
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