It’s back-to-school day. The day when all of us make sure the kids are scrubbed extra clean, their hair is perfectly neat, they have new backpacks, and we snap an adorable picture to commemorate the day.
When I was a kid, I didn’t realize how much my mom was doing to prepare for back to school. Now I get it. Just this past week, I’ve been finding out my daughter’s teacher (and talking around my local mom network to determine that teacher’s reputation), shopping for the back to school supplies designated by that teacher, buying a new backpack, making a mental note to determine if the bus stop location has changed, and arranging for after school care and after school activities.
Today is also exciting because my son starts full time preschool at a new school today. His biggest concern is whether or not his teachers will allow him to wear superhero costumes to school. (Note in the picture above, he’s wearing a cape in the hopes that the answer is ‘yes’.)
In a way, as a working mom, I welcome the start of school, as it is good to have a routine. Juggling care during the summer with multiple camps and my daycare provider taking vacations made it feel like I was always searching for childcare. But you know what I dread? The homework grind.
As a first grader, my daughter was supposed to read 15 minutes each night, write up a paragraph on what she read, and complete 1-2 pages of homework assignments. Her teachers said, “it should only take a half an hour.” My challenge is that my daughter never seemed to get her homework done during after school care, so she was tired and cranky by the time she started it. Along with tired and cranky comes drama, whining and a short attention span, meaning that homework would take up to an hour and a half to complete. I’m not looking forward to that nightly struggle.
After school activities are also a challenge for me. I’m now starting to get a taste of how hard it is to have both kids in activities. Many of the activities are in the mid- to late-afternoon, and trying to determine how to manage the commute to get the kids, deliver them to their activities, fix dinner and somehow work the hours my employer expects me to work truly makes my head spin. My goal this school year is to fix crock pot dinners on the nights that we have after school activities, which should cut down a bit on the chaos after we get home. This is my favorite site for crock pot recipes.
Another chore that comes with back-to-school is packing lunches and snacks every day. I admit that I often find myself falling into a rut with the foods I pack, but I love to check out the suggestions at www.100DaysofRealFood.com. Check out their school lunch suggestions, and their healthy snack ideas. I take great pride and care in packing healthy, unprocessed foods for the kids, even if it means I have to give up a bit of sleep to do it right.
Back-to-school is a time of transition. There will be new friends, new teachers with whom to build relationships, new volunteer opportunities in the classrooms and new things to learn. It’s another opportunity to take note of just how fast time is slipping through our fingers. It’s a time to take those traditional pictures and share them with the grandparents and put in the yearly album. It’s also a good time to call your own mom and thank her for all the preparations she did for your own back-to-school days.
So, to those of you moms out there who have joined me in the race to get ready for school, it’s time to virtually pat ourselves on the back, and pull up those boot straps in preparation for our role in the education of our children over the next school year. Happy first day of school!