You would think that after nineteen years of preparing for the “first day back to school,” I would have this down pat. In all honesty, I am a mom of three and I have a strong dislike for the first day they all head back. Yes, you heard me right. My reasoning behind this varies.
Let’s begin with the unbelievable amount of pressure we feel just to get them back through those hallowed doors of learning shall we? The ergonomically correct backpack, because research shows children now carry more weight than ever and it is destroying their posture. What? Huh? Chiropractors for kids??? Oh and don’t forget it has to be fashionable too. The not one, but two pairs of cool shoes. You must be sure that the soles do not mark the floors of the gymnasium. Oh, and on a side note, apparently young children now need special attention to insoles and insteps and what not. My grandmother would find this amusing, but I digress. Let’s not forget the litterless BPA friendly lunch bag. I am all for helping the environment. Moving on to the PERFECT first day outfit, if you are blessed with a daughter. Be prepared for multiple wardrobe changes on said morning. Tears will ensue and her bad hair day will be all your fault. Govern yourself accordingly.
I am the proud mom of children which span through all levels of education. I have one child entering sixth grade and one heading into fourth year University. It’s an interesting life. 🙂 One has a backpack filled with a 24 count of pencil crayons and he is truly hoping he can use pens this year. He is most excited about never having to use a recorder again. I am most excited about starting him on a journey of me never making his lunches again. It is a big year for both of us!!
My University spawn has a backpack filled with a laptop and one mechanical pencil, if it’s a good day. He is twenty-two and in his fourth year, so he has finally mastered not leaving his apartment without a key and locking himself out. He has figured out how to manipulate his schedule in order to achieve classes beginning after 2 pm. His biggest concern most days is which fast food place has the best 2 for 1 deals in order to stretch his student budget for the year. I am beyond proud of this child. Come on, he is going into fourth year, feeds himself and budgets his money. I will take that any day of the week. Oh, and not once have I had to send bail money.
This morning I was killing it. I made three dozen home-made chocolate chip cookies, keeping in mind the very strict list of ingredients that may never cross the threshold of school doors these days. I then made mini muffins (for school snacks) and large ones for breakfast, containing banana, zucchini and a splash of chocolate chips for fun. The wee spawn thinks these are the best thing to ever enter his mouth and if he ever found out what vegetables were hidden inside he would wrinkle up his nose, gag and swear they were not even edible for farm animals. I will save that surprise for him until he is at least nineteen. I LOVE being a mom. My point is this. Today I feel as though my mom cape is flying high. His backpack is ready to go, healthy snacks are on point. Here is the reality. We have to be okay with not being perfect parents.
Just because my son will arrive on his first day prepared, there is a thousand percent chance that there will be days he has Halloween candy in his lunch bag for a snack….in December. There will be plenty of days he will wear the same tshirt twice before it is washed. He will go two days without a shower. He will not always get to bed at a decent time. More often then I would like we will have take out for dinner. I am a busy Mom. I am a tired Mom. Most importantly I am a realistic Mom. As I mentioned, I have been at this for quite a while. I have lost track of how many times I have crawled out of my bed to make breakfast for my kids before school to realize there were only a few drops of milk left. How did I not know this last night? No child has ever suffered life long traumatic consequences from having peanut butter toast or a granola bar and cheese for breakfast. I have learned to be the queen of compromise.
We do not always have the luxury of being as present as we would like for our children. We roll up to the drop off zone and see other parents and think, “How do they manage to look so put together?” Have I ever drove my child to school in my pajamas with seconds to spare? Yes. Has my child ever been the child to bring Timbits for snack? Yes. Have I also been that parent who spends hours and hours hand crafting Halloween cupcakes, absolutely. We do what we can, when we can. I will tell you that my adult children do not sit around and tell stories about the Oreo Spiders I sent into their class in grade school. They also never remember those times they ate cheese and granola bars for breakfast. 🙂 My son has now been using the same backpack for three years. It is a great backpack and he got it from his big brother’s University.
It is in fact our own selves who place these higher than normal expectations on our plates. Just simply stop comparing yourselves to others. Do not worry that your kids will look back on their childhood and think you did not do enough. The only thing they want from you is your presence, that is it.
My biggest reason for not loving the first day of school? I have now watched two of my three children grow into adults. I see how fast it truly goes. I think they are all awesome humans. The fact of the matter is, when they head back, I miss them.
So, take a deep breath. You are doing great! Put your feet up once you drop those critters off tomorrow and enjoy some “me” time.
P.s. Don’t forget to pick up some milk!
Much love ❤