School hasn’t even started yet and I’m already slammed trying to organize everything. Three different sets of school supplies. Three different orientation and registration days. Three different bus times. Last year when I only had two schools to deal with it was pretty much a cakewalk, and now I have no idea how I’m going to swing all this. Couple this with the fact I work from five a.m. until usually after two p.m. and at some point, something’s gotta give. Parents and school stress is something so many of us deal with, I’m just not sure how I am going to deal with this.
My eldest is a junior in high school so it’s of upmost importance that he continues with his school activities, which are mandatory for his college transcripts. My other two want to participate in activities and sports, but my youngest will be in the magnet program which will mean extra homework. This same kid doesn’t arrive home until close to five so between homework, dinner, bath time and chill-out time I don’t know how she will be able to participate in soccer or cheerleading or whatever other things she wants to try.
I’ve got a new middle school student this year and any parent who has survived middle school can tell you it’s a doozy. Middle school is usually difficult for kids. They aren’t quite big kids, and they aren’t as coddled as the little ones. Middle school is usually when bullying and school stress rears its ugly heads and that coupled with pre-pubescent hormones means that not only do you get a kid with more school responsibility, but with a pile of little emotional minefields you have to help them navigate.
My middle school kid will also be attending a school that requires uniforms, so that will be new for him too, as well as the fact that his school is a lot larger than the elementary school he is used to. This is the kid I am most worried about. He is a sensitive dude, with a huge moral barometer, and I can pretty much guarantee that this year we will have issues. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hadn’t considered just keeping him with me and attempting to homeschool him. I just don’t think I’m cut out for it.
My eldest is in the choir program at his high school, and it’s basically a full-time job. His program is very serious, and between rehearsals, fundraising and performances it’s pretty much the only thing he can do other than attend classes. He needs to complete driver’s ed. He wants to get involved in sporting activities. I also had hopes he could do some volunteer work but between his choir activities and classwork load I’m not sure that’s possible. His grades take top priority because after this he only has one year left. I’m not even sure when he will have time to sleep. My daughter is a year younger than everyone in her class. Not only will she be attending the advanced program, but being younger has its own set of difficulties. She is a smart kid. She loves school. But considering it’s almost five when she gets home I notice this kid is tired. Last year we would do homework before dinner and I could tell she would be getting drowsy before we even completed her daily work. I know the fact she is younger makes a difference, not only in how she feels physically but in how she relates to her classmates. When her friends have already been talking about boys and crushes, my daughter is still playing Barbies and getting super excited about Disney movies. She can’t be held back, because — and I am so not trying to humblebrag here, it’s just how it is — she is advanced in her school skills. It’s just mentally and psychically I think where I think her age makes a difference. She is younger. She gets tired.
Downtime for my kids is really important. All of them are in school for seven hours and they need time that has nothing to do with homework or chores or after-school activities where they can just relax. Whether that be playing outside or reading or watching TV or playing games. Everyone needs that, especially little brains that have been focusing on work all day. But between homework and after-school things I’m not sure when that will happen, unless it is just on weekends.
I work, and because I work at home the bulk of the housework and meal preparation, not to mention grocery shopping and appointment attending, falls on me. My husband works very long hours and travels a lot, so juggling all of this stresses both of us out. Not to mention the fact all of our schools are at least 20 minutes away, so it’s close to an hour of drive time depending on traffic. I know a lot of parents have it worse than we do, whether because of number of kids or school distances. I know some parents in my district who have kids that travel an hour each way.
There is no answer for any of this, because school is the most important thing in all of our lives. My kids have to attend, and they have to do well. It’s that simple. But I can’t help already being stressed about all of this and trying to think of ways to be better organized for both myself and my children. It just seemed much easier when I had only one in high school and my other two attending the same school. I know that there will be times when it isn’t as hectic and as crazy as I feel it’s going to be, but until those days come I’m already dreading the days that will be an endless stream of taking care of my biz and making sure they take care of their biz.
I can’t be the only parent looking at the school calendar looking and already considering asking their doctor for a valium prescription. I can’t help but think my own mom with her own three kids probably acquired a fondness for martinis due to having three kids of varying ages in school at the same time.