I just spent the morning labeling lunch boxes, signing paperwork, and locating toddler shoes that fit, which can only mean one thing: It’s officially “The (Pre)School Year.” Truth be told, with all the Sharpie-covered prep ramping up, I started to get a little nervous about all of the obligations that will soon be headed my way. Room Mom assignments, holiday party prep, staff breakfasts, and class donations are just days away from being assigned, solicited, and volunteer for — and I am not up for the challenge.
I mean, if last school year was any indication, I am officially the worst preschool teacher gift-giver of all time. (Who knew you were supposed to bring in gifts for Valentine’s Day?) But as soon as the butterflies hit my stomach, I had a coffee-fueled epiphany.
This year, I’m taking a stand.
This year I refuse to let preschool extracurriculars become yet another thing on my to-do list. And as much as I love how much my son grows, learns, and accomplishes each year, I also refuse to put too much pressure on my kid and myself because, really, it’s just freaking preschool. Instead, I’m just going to have to say “no” to the following things:
1. Back-to-School Teacher Gifts
I learned my lesson last year, and I am prepared for gifting teachers, admins, directors, and aides on all of the holidays (major or otherwise), but I just can’t with the “Welcome Back” teacher gift. We haven’t even started yet! I promise to take in a Target gift card when my kid starts potty training and will try very hard to remember all of the teachers’ birthdays, but a back-to-school gift is lost on me.
I’m sure the other mommies will do a great job of figuring out the perfect trinket to say, “I hope my kid doesn’t terrorize you this year,” but I’m going to need that brain space to plan an appropriate St. Patrick’s Day teacher gift that doesn’t involve booze.
2. Keeping Every Piece of Art
Oh, the art. I love when my son makes art, he loves when he makes art, and we all make a big fuss over the art. But then what? What do I do with all of the art? Save it all? I just don’t have that kind of storage. This year, after the fuss has been made, I am going to quietly trash some of the preschool art. Now, I’m no monster; I will obviously keep the good stuff (cotton ball sheep, I’m looking at you), but a coloring page with a few crayon scribbles just isn’t going to make the cut this year.
3. Gourmet Lunches
Last year, I caught a peek at another mom unloading her babe’s lunch and almost died of shock. Let me just say that my attempts at lunch-packing did not hold a candle to her toddler’s bento box complete with a turkey sandwich rolled and cut to look like sushi. All I could wonder was how long she spent that morning, screaming babies underfoot, making a sushi sandwich that a toddler clearly would not appreciate.
Last year, I let the bento lady get to me and thus spent way too much time crafting elaborate lunches that were hardly consumed. This year I’m sticking with the classic combo of Goldfish, mini muffins, and raisins, and calling it a day.
4. Attending Carnival Day (on a Saturday)
I really like you guys, I promise. It’s just that things are kinda crazy around here, and organizing a family trip to school on a Saturday is just not going to happen. If I’m being honest, I can think of one million other ways I would rather spend a Saturday than herding my kid around a parking lot full of games that require both hand-eye coordination and waiting in line (neither of which are his strong suit). If we promise to celebrate fall at home with a hay bale and a grocery store pumpkin, can we get a pass on this one?
5. Theme Days of Any Kind
If I have to find a special outfit, pack a special class snack, craft a goodie bag, or do any “homework,” then we’re out. He’s 2. He’s in this for the playground, not “celebrate our home state week.”
6. Parent Mass Email Chains
While I do want to be informed on everything the teachers deem necessary, I do not want to buy Tupperware, candles, face wash, or leggings from you just because our kids happen to be in the same 2K class. Trust me, I already buy most of that stuff from friends who bug me on Facebook, and the well is dry. So don’t mind me while I unceremoniously delete your mass email and remove myself from the chain.
Cheers to the new school year! I’ll see you around — just not at Carnival Day, or holiday party prep, or your candle party.