I know I’m going to upset some moms and dads out there with this statement but it’s the truth – back to school is not the most wonderful time of the year for me. I actually enjoy having my kids home during the summer (for the most part). I like the slower pace, less need for routines, and freedom to do what we want or nothing at all depending on our moods. Sure the kids get underfoot and I’ve occasionally had to barricade myself in the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and quiet, but back to school isn’t all roses and bluebirds either.
First off there are mornings. I’m not a morning person so it shouldn’t be a surprise that my kids aren’t either. I hate waking up early and that’s magnified when I need to get grumpy children up and moving before I’m really awake. Of course, in every family, there’s the one exception to the rule, and my 8-year-old is up and (ugh) perky at the crack of dawn. We know that we’re not a family of early birds so I try to get as much done as possible the night before but there always seems to be a lot of stuff to do in the morning anyway!
Then there are the lunches. Oh, the lunches. At home, over the summer I can make the older kids fend for themselves when it comes to lunch, and make one thing that works for everyone. Not so with lunches. My kids are pretty self-sufficient on the lunch making front but I still have to buy all the things to let them do it and nag remind them to make their lunches at night. Even pizza days aren’t days off – snacks still have to be made, and I need to remember when they’re happening!
Back to school shopping is definitely not one of my favourite things. There are always lists of things to get and my kids don’t use half of them. Or they use them but leave them at home when they need them at school or leave them at school when they need them at home. Always. Erasers seem to disappear into a black hole as soon as I buy them, and none of my kids can find a protractor or even a ruler when they need it for homework, so I can only assume they’re all at school. There needs to be some sort of service where you can replace only the pencil crayons your kids use – I don’t need more forest greens but I’m really short on sky blue and reds for some reason.
The final thing that makes back to school not my favourite time of the year is the anticipation of the struggles ahead. When you have a kid with unique learning needs, you know the beginning of the school year is not going to be easy, and will involve lots of meetings and trial and error as they adjust to a new classroom, teacher, or school. Even when the school is on board, there can be struggles adjusting to new schedules, different expectations, and just getting back in the swing of things. When the school isn’t on side, well that’s a totally different battle. One I will continue to fight, but I do enjoy the summer off from those battles. Speaking of battles, I don’t miss the homework battles during the summer. My kids are pretty good about homework, but they still like to complain and try to get out of doing it because they’re kids. With my eldest starting high school this fall, I’m going to have to keep her siblings away when she’s trying to do her homework. So far, the house rule that says homework must be done before any electronics are turned on seems to be working well, and I’m lucky to be home when the kids get home from school so I can enforce the rule.
All of this isn’t to say that I won’t enjoy a few hours with my little one once the kids go back, and I feel like once all of the kids are in school I’ll probably have a warmer feeling for the season, but right now I’m going to go and enjoy the last couple weeks of summer with the kids.