It’s Thursday, and after kindergarten pick-up, and then a birthday party (yes, a Thursday evening birthday party), I will have *almost* made it through the week. One more school day and we will be DONE! Done with what feels like 47 drop-offs and pick-ups each day, homework, lunch preparation, backpack checking, rushing out the door while screaming, “Where are your shoes?!!!” -- that is until tomorrow morning, when soccer starts.
Is anyone else completely exhausted from their kids – not you – your KIDS going back to school this September? Don’t get me wrong – I am head over heels thrilled they even have school, but I’m waiting for that “break”. At the risk of sounding like one of those women who complain about “first world problems” (I do, I own it), I’m sitting here perplexed as to how this back-to-school thing has created more work for me than my child attending it. And before you say anything else, no, I absolutely do not want to be their homeschool teacher. I’m just a mom, standing in front of a sink full of dirty dishes, venting.
A few months ago, we made the difficult decision to move. Well, some found it difficult. Mainly me. In the midst of this chaotic and emotional move, I registered one child for kindergarten, and one for preschool. Thrilling right? Like so many moms, I started planning my days out in my head. I could get SO MUCH DONE, you guys! What would I even do first? Well, of course I would work out every morning, eat a real breakfast, tend to my part-time job, prep dinner early, finally have a clean house, and ooh maybe make a doctor's appointment or— STOP. Hold up. I quickly awoke from that daydream.
You know, trying to log into Parent Portal for two hours on a Sunday night really changes a girl. Was anyone else aware that as a parent, you would need to take on a new part-time job just to read school emails? After reading 12 from the Superintendent, 7 from the school Principal, 5 from the Technology Desk, 4 from the PTO, and 2 from my daughter’s actual teacher, my head was spinning. And this was just for kid #1. My threenager's school sends out a sh*t ton of emails for a Preschool. Pardon my language, but I felt that word described it best. After reading a 47-page handbook, which consisted mostly of instructions for the car line, I felt completely overwhelmed. The amount of letters, health forms, apps to download, and new student registrations to complete left me wondering how I got stuck with this new job. And, left no time for the stuff I daydreamed about.
Fortunately, I “have time” to do this. I’m predominantly a SAHM, I have supportive family members, a wonderful husband, and the ability to easily read and comprehend the plethora of correspondence. Big props to the single parents out there, moms who also work full-time, and those who may not speak English as a first or second language. After combing the aisles of Target and Walmart for the *specific* highlighter, glue stick, dry erase markers, etc. that my kid needed for school, I gave up and ordered everything online. At that point, I welcomed expedited shipping costs. I ordered those cute labels for each kid and agonized over color, font, and design, because, like, who else will? Could I have asked my husband to help with this stuff? Sure, but then I would be doing double the work when I needed to return the “unapproved” water bottle he ordered.
As emails started pouring in about orientation, meet + greets, enrichment classes, and God knows what else, I knew it was only a matter of time before I messed something up.
And yes, I messed something up. I showed up to a meet + greet with the wrong kid. Yes, correct. I showed up to a meet + greet/playdate/#thingihavenotimefor with the WRONG child. But ya know what? Sh*t happens. After staying home for a year and not socializing, my brain is doing mental gymnastics trying to manage everyone’s busy schedules. I went from having literally nothing on our calendar to tiny boxes filled with “Early dismissal”, “Welcome breakfast”, “Swim Lessons”, “Birthday Party” all in 1 day. And trust me, I’m not exaggerating with these birthday parties. That was one thing I did not miss during quarantine.
These days, I find myself mentally exhausted from meeting new people. I find myself constantly saying “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?”, “What is your daughter’s name again?” I go from thinking “Yes, I have 3 hours to myself!” to almost immediately (and what feels like 25 minutes later), racing to pick up Child #1, and then Child #2. Except, of course, if it’s Wednesday Enrichment. Or Friday Lunch Social for the preschooler. The calendar is just one big rat’s nest of revisions. I would love to pencil in a day of rest. A day to sleep. A day to turn ‘OFF’ after so many days of being ‘ON’.
As parents, we’re always ‘ON’. So when September ends, don’t wake me up. Please, let me sleep. Let US sleep.