Ah yes, back to school season. A time for laughter, tears, Pinterest trends, and overall chaos. All summer you told yourself that this school year would be different, that you’d be the parent who always packs healthy lunches and never forgets to turn in a permission slip.
That first day of school rolls around and everything you planned goes completely out the window. Your kid who has never thrown a temper tantrum? He threw one as you were walking out the door. That new skirt your daughter picked out the night before? She hates it now. You have to be prepared for anything.
School Survival Guide
If you ever want to test your survival skills and see if you make it through the apocalypse or the next sharknado, go to your local Target the day before school starts.
You and every other parent will be there trying to get everything off that list of school supplies that your kid’s new teacher sent home, muttering to yourselves “I don’t know why he needs separate notebooks for every subject as well as brand new markers but fine.”
No More Pinterest Trends
PSA to all mothers out there: enough with the tiny chalkboards and letter boards. Yes, it’s a cute idea you saw on Pinterest that seems like a good idea now, but realistically you’re not going to remember to do this every year from pre-school to grade 12 so you might as well quit while you’re ahead.
Also, we all know that your five-year-old didn’t write in perfect calligraphy that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
Please Don’t Be The Worst One
There’s a certain fear that comes with sending your kids off to school, especially if it’s their first time. What if they’re the worst behaved child? What if all the other moms judge you because your kid is the one that hit someone else on the playground?
Or even worse, what if your kid ends up being… the teacher’s pet. That would be the worst. Truly embarrassing for you as a parent.
All You Want Is To Sleep In
For two months, your peaceful quiet summer vacation has been filled with children waking you up at all hours of the night or morning. All you wanted was to sleep in past 6:30 and to not be woken up by your daughter poking you in the face.
Then these ungrateful children have the audacity to not get up for school despite you asking them repeatedly? How dare they do this to you.
Pics Or It Didn’t Happen
If you don’t document your kids’ first day of school and post it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, did it even count? You might as well just not send them at all.
It can be overwhelming for parents to try to pick out that perfect Pinterest-worthy outfit. It has to be just right, just enough color but also stylish enough that it might go viral. That’s the goal in 2019, and if you don’t meet it, you’ve basically ruined your child’s entire school year.
A Lesson In Responsibility
The key is to have your kids pack their own bags and lunches for school, and if they question why you’re not doing it, tell them you’re teaching them about responsibility. Responsibility is an important value to learn about at a young age, okay? It’s all about how you spin it!
Just supervise from a distance, and by “distance” we mean from the couch with your eyes closed while you nurse your second cup of coffee.
A One Time Deal
Maybe you’re one of those parents who goes hard for the first day of school and starts prepping two days before. Good for you! You managed to get all your kids out the door, on time, with all their lunches, and everyone’s shoes were on the right feet.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that every morning will be like this though. Two months from now you’ll think back to this day and remember the long-lost calm you felt that day as you now listen to your two sons yell at each other about whose lunch bag is better.
Never Trust Them
Always remember to check your child’s backpack. Always. No matter how good of a student they are, they will forget to tell you about an assignment or a permission slip for a field trip.
Even if they say they don’t have any homework, or that they “don’t have any work for over the summer” don’t believe them. It’s a trap. Don’t end up in a situation like Simon where he needs to help his child read 12 books in 24 hours.
Do You Love Your Children Enough To Buy The Buttons?
School pictures are the time when parents learn how much they really love their children, and you learn who the favorite child is.
You’re either the parent who orders the bare minimum package where you get one wallet-sized picture and a 5×7 of each kid, or you’re the parent who orders the full package for each kid that includes key chains, magnets, buttons, as well as multiple wallet-sized photos and 5x7s so you can have one for the office, one for your car, and six for grandma.
So you’ve managed to get everyone out the door, we don’t need to talk about how many minutes later it was then you had planned, and now you’re on the way to school. Then you get there and remember what you’d suppressed the entire summer: the chaos that is school drop-off.
Someone’s first grader is crying, which sets off two other first graders. Someone is running after their child whose backpack is wide open and everything is falling out.
The Countdown Is Always On
It’s not that you don’t love spending every hour of every day with your children for two months straight (other than that one glorious week where you managed to send all the kids to summer camp), but it can be a lot. That’s a lot of father-daughter bonding.
After many hours spent listening to your sons fight over who gets to ride the bike and who gets to ride the scooter, and many hours of your daughter saying “I’m boooored,” you’re ready for them to go back.
Every Season Is Germ Season
A new school year means dozens of new children for your kid to catch a cold from, which will then spread to your entire household. We’re not even going to talk about the vaccination debacle, we’re strictly talking about the flu and/or cold germs that every kid will catch at some point in the year.
Also: head lice. If you get home that little slip of paper that says a child in your son’s class may have head lice, it’s time to prepare for the worst. Might as well just buzz all your children’s hair off as a precaution.
It’s Always Wine O’Clock
“Back to school” should be its own brand of wine for every parent out there to purchase or for every parent to give to teachers at that first parent-teacher conference where you have to apologize for your misbehaving second grader.
Whether you just got back from spending $300 on school supplies at Wal-Mart or you just had to sit through the third-grade talent show (where no one seemed to possess any real talent), a glass of wine is always warranted.
We’ll say it louder for the people in the back: mornings are hard for parents! Mornings are peak chaos in any household, regardless of how organized you are.
Sometimes you manage to shower and get yourself ready for work before any of your kids scream your name, other mornings you have two children interrupting you while you try to go to the bathroom. If you manage to get all your kids to school in the morning, who cares if you wore those yoga pants for the past four days. It’s about priorities!
Take All My Money!
Why are glue sticks and safety scissors so expensive? Seriously. No parent wants to shell out $100 for each kid to get a new backpack, folders, that sparkly pencil case every cool kid has plus mechanical pencils and every other thing on the school supplies list.
You know two weeks from now your son is going to come home and say he lost that Spiderman pencil case you just bought him or your daughter will have lost that Peppa Pig lunch bag she begged for, but you buy it anyways.
Thanks, But No Thanks Pinterest
If you have time to make a Pinterest-worthy lunch for your kids every day, that’s great, but if you don’t, don’t sweat it. Your son won’t be offended if you don’t make him a vegan bento box every day for lunch, he’ll be happy with PB&J!
Strive for healthy, sure. Toss in an apple or some carrot sticks, go crazy and toss in two fruits for all we care, but don’t worry about it being perfect. You have bigger fish to fry.
Don’t Make It Too Obvious
Parents don’t be surprised if your kids get offended that you started the “Back to School” countdown on day one of summer vacation. Try to hold off until the first month is done, or at least until day two of vacation. You can’t let them know that you aren’t absolutely thrilled to have them home with you all the time.
Pro tip: start the countdown a week or two before they actually go back so then you can play it off as “I’m doing it to mentally prepare you, it’s not for me.”
Extracurricular Activities Are A Scam
On top of making sure he always has his trumpet with him, you’ll also have to be responsible for either driving to school an hour earlier than usual or picking him up an hour later even though all his siblings catch the bus.
Extracurricular activities in general are a trap. Instead, encourage your kids to be social outcasts and not join any after school sports, that way you never have to make sure they have their running shoes or their volleyball kneepads.
The Sound Of Silence
Every parent knows the best part about your kids going back to school is that even though it can be really stressful to get them out the door in the morning, once they’ve left, you get the house to yourself!
Even if only half your kids are school-aged and you still have one or two little ones at home, it’ll still be far more peaceful than the last two months were with all of them together.
The Indifference Comes Quickly
By the end of week one or two, you’re already at the point where your kids are sick of talking about school. They don’t remember what they learned in History that day, and they definitely don’t want to talk about what they learned in Math class.
Luckily, you also didn’t want to talk about what they learned in Math class, so it all works out for the best! You’re living off the high of that back to school life, knowing that for 8 hours a day, your kids are someone else’s responsibility.