Why Back To School Is My Ultimate Mommy Downer

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back to schoolMy kids used to be really excited about going back to school. But as they got older and graduated from play-based learning to full on elementary school academia, their attitudes changed. To say their feelings are mixed is an understatement. While they’re looking forward to seeing their friends and finding out which teachers they have, for the most part they’re dreading it. And so am I.

For the first time, I will have all three of my children in school. Same times, same place. And instead of being relieved and thrilled to have them gone, all I can think of is the daily grind of it.  All summer long they’ve been busy at camp, and getting them organized was a pleasure. Mostly because they were looking forward to going. It didn’t hurt that camp starts later than school – and that lunch was provided. Getting everybody out the door was a breeze. Once school starts, however,  I’ll be resuming my job as the drill sergeant of the house: barking orders to rise ‘n shine, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack bags and move, move, move! All while preparing lunches and snacks and ensuring homework is completed and in the right backpacks.

The start of school is also the beginning of the after-school programs. Lessons and leagues and learning, oh my! My chauffeuring duties will resume, and with three kids in various activities throughout the week, my magic and teleporting skills will also be tested.  And then there’s the homework. While my oldest knows I refuse to be the homework police, the incessant whines about homework (and my own incessant have-you-finished-yet questions) do not a happy home make. Sure, they get it done, eventually, but until the routine is in full swing, it can be a nightly battle.

And I’m not alone. During the summer months, everything’s relaxed – from the shops to the streets. Come September, it’s a packed, rushed, mad world.  A lot of moms I’ve spoken to feel exactly the same way about the kids heading back to school. As one working mom told me “I hate school. Re-entry is a bitch.” Even though her summer routine has been exactly the same as the rest of the year, having her kids at home, relaxed and free from pressure has been a holiday in itself for her. Another stay-at-home mother explained that the urgency to get things done for her children and her family evaporates during the summer. Everyone is that much more chilled. And she doesn’t have to deal with the judgey, annoying moms at the drop off.

I couldn’t agree more. While my oldest heads off to his penultimate year of elementary and my middle gets into the swing of second grade, the journey to learning has, for my baby, only just begun. Which reminds me that I’ll still have another 10 years of the back to school groundhog day mania until the youngest is in high school. This will present a whole new slew of challenges, but I’m hoping the drudgery aspect won’t be one of them.  Getting a group of teenage boys out of the house and back to school is something to look forward to.

Isn’t it?

(photo: Oleg Golovnev/ Shutterstock)