10 Ways We Delude Ourselves When The Kids Go Back To School

by Kathryn Leehane
Originally Published: 
A woman smiling with her eyes closed during a sunny day while rain is falling at the same time

After a long summer break, your kids finally started school again. You’ve got big plans and an endless supply of motivation. You are going to be hyper productive and complete ALLOFTHETHINGS on your ever-growing to-do list.

Well, I’ve got news for you. You, like the rest of us, are probably deluding yourself. The cold, hard reality is, you’ll likely never achieve those back-to-school goals.

Delusion #1: The entire family will go to bed at a reasonable time every night.

Reality: The first night you’re all awake because you’re nervous about school starting. The second night you’re all in bed early because you’re so exhausted from the first day—only to wake up in the middle of the night because you went to bed too early. The vicious cycle doesn’t even out for the kids for a couple of weeks. And it never does for you, because Netflix.

Delusion #2: You’re going to wake up early every school day to ensure a smooth morning routine for the entire family.

Reality: You get up early on the first day of school. Time is a little tight on day 2. By the third day, you’re hitting the snooze button repeatedly and leaving just enough time to cram some sandwiches in a bag, kiss their non-smiling faces, and fling them out the door to get to school on time.

Delusion #3: You’re going to exercise every day while the kids are at school.

Reality: You skip the first day because you’re too busy eating your celebratory brunch and drinking your celebratory mimosas with your other mom friends. You might squeeze in a workout or two in the first week before deciding that shopping at Costco totally counts as exercise.

Delusion #4: You’re going to get all of the laundry in the entire house washed, dried, folded and put away.

Reality: You manage to finish two loads in their entirety the first week. By the second, the laundry piles have once again overtaken your house. You’re ignoring the moldy towel smell emanating from somewhere in the kids’ rooms and learning to appreciate the artistic placement of the laundry baskets in the family room.

Delusion #5: You are going make healthy, organic, seasonal snacks and lunches.

Reality: Despite the protests of your picky eaters, the first week goes relatively well. By the second week, you’re stress-eating the homemade granola bars after finding the rotten fruit and veggie sticks in the produce bin and debating the nutritional value of fruit snacks.

Delusion #6: You are going to have patience and understanding during homework time.

Reality: The first few days go well because there isn’t much homework. By day 4 you are pouring wine, rocking in the corner and repeating, “Your dad can help you when he gets home.”

Delusion #7: You are going to create a special space for the kids to organize their homework.

Reality: After discovering that the homework drawers are still full of last year’s papers and art projects, the kids just start piling their work on the dining table. You relent because you never really eat there, and a brown paper sack works great for storage.

Delusion #8: You’re going to empty and scrub the refrigerator to remove summer’s footprint of juice, fruit and barbecue.

Reality: You don’t really need to do that until Thanksgiving, right?

Delusion #9: Every weekend, you are going to do meal planning and shopping for the entire next week’s dinner.

Reality: You might make it two weeks—heck, even three. But by week 4, you’re ordering pizza and Chinese take-out just like the rest of us.

Delusion #10: You’re going to purge and organize the kids’ rooms.

Reality: After all of the back-to-school madness, you say, “screw it,” and just keep the doors closed until the next school break. The same goes for your desk, the stack of mail in the entryway, and the pile of crap in the kitchen. Fall is right around the corner—you can hide them behind decorative pumpkins.

We all might be deluding ourselves, but we can still take solace in the fact that the kids are back at school. Another round of mimosas for everyone!

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