Dear Moms Without Back-to-School Sadness: You’re Not Alone
I can honestly say that it’s been years since I have felt as busy as I have these past few weeks. The last time I was this busy was when I was in college cramming for my comprehensive exams. Just to give y’all an inside look into my schedule, here is what is going on in my life:
- In addition to teaching, I took on a new role at the school I work at (which I love, by the way)
- I was just the Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding
- I am a bridesmaid in another wedding in the coming months
- I began a larger writing project of my own
- We have been searching endlessly for a new house
- I have been prepping blog posts for autumn
- …and my son is starting another year of school
So, WOW! I swear if my head wasn’t attached to my body I would have lost it by now. With all of that being said, the one thing on this list that has been causing me the most anxiety has been our son starting school again. Between finding the right backpack, making sure he has the right Goldfish for snack time, making sure that his vaccination records are all in order, and finding him sneakers that he will actually wear all day, I am exhausted (and stressed).
However, despite all of the exhaustion and anxiety and every other emotion associated with your kid starting school again, do you want to know what I am not feeling? Let me tell you:
Is that terrible to admit? Honestly, I am not sure. Whenever I log onto social media during back-to-school season, I see two types of moms: the ones sad that their children are going back to school, and the ones excited for their kids to head back into the classrooms. Personally, I fall in the second group.
What day is it, again?
I write about self care, scheduling, etc., pretty often on this blog because these things mean a lot to me. If my head is in the right place I find that I am happier, more productive, and just overall healthier. Having a daily schedule helps me with this all.
School is part of that natural schedule for me. Not only does it mean that my kid is back to a schedule, but it also means that I am on a regimen. I cannot stand waking up and asking myself, “What day is it?”
“How are you possibly bored?!”
Every kid is excited about summer break. As someone who was a child/teenager not too long ago, I remember dreading the end of summer and return to classes.
However, school gave me something to do. By the time I was in college, I was excited every fall to go back and see my friends. From my perspective, toddlers are kind of similar. My son is only three years old, but school gives him something to do all day. He has asked me every day since summer break began when he gets to see his friends again. And yes, we do have play dates! But not every day.
Additionally, keeping kids occupied all summer long is exhausting and very pressuring as a parent. We went to the beach, on vacation, to baseball games, had pool days, play dates, barbecues… and it somehow wasn’t enough. There were still days in between that consisted of watching Sesame Street on repeat while I chugged coffee just to keep my eyes open.
Mama is tired (And that’s not a crime)
Anyone who is a parent knows how exhausting this job can be at times. After a few months of constantly keeping a toddler occupied and entertained, mama needs a break and I am not ashamed to admit that truth. Do you want to know what one of our family goals were for the summer? Potty training! Do you know how gross potty training can be? (And before the mom police come to yell at me: we even practice gentle potty training! My son’s been having the time of his life with this new chapter! However, guess who has to clean the poo off the carpet when he has an accident?)
I am not telling this story as a way to earn brownie points in the mommy community. This is all stuff we eventually have to conquer with our kids. But it is all exhausting and recognizing the need for a break is not selfish. Rather, it’s good self care.
And if you’re a parent who is sad about the kiddos going back to school, more power to you, mama. I genuinely mean that! This post is not about shaming certain moms or anything. Honestly, it’s more about solidarity with all the parents who are tired and looking forward to a new school year.