back to school
You see, you, bad parent that you are, are excited about your kids going back to school. You’re sick to death of freezer pops and cramming “fun” activities into every day.
Ah, back to school time. You can practically smell the excitement — and sanctimony — in the air.
I’ve been seeing it for weeks from the GOOD moms of Facebook. They are lamenting you and feeling sorry for your children. They are hand-wringing and staying up at night praying for you. They are shaking their heads with every status you write about how if your kids tell you they are bored one more damn time . . .
You see, you, bad parent that you are, are excited about your kids going back to school. You’re sick to death of freezer pops and cramming “fun” activities into every day. Oh, you started with the best of intentions. You had these grandiose ideas about all the awesome times you would have: the staycations, the events. You were going to the library or museum — every week. You Pinned at least 40 ideas to keep your kids learning during the summer. You were going to make healthy meals. THIS WAS THE SUMMER THAT YOU WOULD ALL LEARN TO LOVE KALE, DAMMIT.
Somewhere, though, it all went wrong. There were the days your kids wore pajamas all day. The meals were sometimes just (not even organic) peanut butter and jelly. The museum trips that were actually full of less discovery and of more “I’m bored, I have to pee, I’m tired of walking.” And the staycations. No one told you that those actually turned you into the chef, maid, and cruise director. Which, come to think of it, basically meant nothing changed for you, except that you weren’t working outside of the home. At one point, you gave completely up and began fervently praying for the start of school to come and take all of this pressure away from you.
But how dare you, terrible mother and/or father. Don’t you love your kids? Don’t you want them to prosper? Don’t you miss them with every ounce of your being when they are in class? Aren’t you weeping huge tears of sorrow over the loss of this valuable family time?
You’re not? Me neither.
We haven’t started school yet, but I am looking forward to it Unashamedly. My kids need routine and structure. Our routine in the summer boils down to “Your babysitter will be here in a minute and you should probably be wearing more than underwear when they show up.” I worry about how much they lose in knowledge over the summer, but I also know that a limitation of mine is the patience to adequately and appropriately instruct them. I have them read, and I try with the educational activities, but I won’t pretend that I hold a candle to their teachers.
I love seeing my kids go back to school. I adore the way they light up with new knowledge. The love of learning is too often a fleeting one, but they are still there. Not only are they getting the building blocks for everything they will learn in the future, but they are gaining interpersonal and socialization skills.
It’s a little self-serving, too. My food bills go down when my kids can’t graze all day at home. My child care costs are reduced. And I have a moment after work where I get to re-center myself before I am parenting my kids. I am a better mother when I get those moments, and less financial stress is better for my entire family.
So, the day after Labor Day, I will happily send my babies off to school. It’ll be a little bit of a gut punch when they cheerfully bop off and barely wave goodbye, so excited to see their teachers and friends who are way more important than Mom. Mostly, though, I will be happy to see the end of the lazy days and to start off the school year.
And since I’m a bad mother, I am not even sending them with a Minecraft-themed bento box.