Hi, I’m a Mom Who Doesn’t Like Back-to-School Season
While other moms are thanking their lucky stars that their kids have headed back to school, celebrating with drinks or manicures or breathing deeply in their nice, clean, quiet houses, there is also a whole collection of moms like me — who are not fans of the back-to-school season.
Truth be told, I have been dreading back-to-school season for my whole family for pretty much all of summer. Maybe I should be glad my children are lucky enough to have an education and create that good start to life, but lately, I have just been feeling trapped by the entire school thing. For example, a few nights ago at dinner, we were discussing recess and my husband mentioned how middle-schoolers at his new school don't get any recess.
My elementary-aged children were appalled. “What do you mean they don't have recess?!” they said, their mouths agape. “So they just sit inside a building all day without any fresh air??!”
I mean, when you really think about it that way, it does sound kind of crazy, right? Hearing it from their perspective, I started to panic a little. Am I doing the right thing in sending my kids away to school? Should I be homeschooling? Unschooling? Doing some sort of hybrid online schooling so they aren't a slave to the system?
It's enough to make a mom lose her mind just a little bit. But no matter which way you look at it, one thing is for certain: I am not a fan of back-to-school season.
Sure, there's a little bit of excitement when my kids get their shiny new school supplies because picking out folders is always so fun (shoutout to my 90's moms who remember the pure joy of Lisa Frank folders!). And sure, there's some excitement when I think of all they will learn in their time at school and what kind of independence and skills they will gain. But other than that?
I really, really struggle.
I struggle with knowing if the schooling we have chosen for our children is actually the best choice, I struggle with knowing if we are actually hurting our children rather than helping them, I struggle with wondering if I am teaching them to conform rather than think for themselves. I worry about bullying and mean kids and homework and plain old time wasted and the fact that they are learning to gobble down their food as fast as humanly possible because they literally only get five minutes to eat it.
This past week, I put a smile on for my kids and made a big breakfast of waffles for their first day and took the cutesy chalkboard pictures, but inside, I've been a mess. I feel this strange sense of foreboding that somehow, we are doing the wrong thing, but I honestly can't explain why. My kids are safe, well-cared for, privileged, even, if I'm being very honest with you, and yet, I feel this weird, gut feeling that someone is wrong.
And yet, I send them anyways.
I miss them, plain and simple, and I miss the carefree routine our lives had over the summer. I work from home on purpose in order to be free for their needs and to give our lives some breathing room and then come school time, it feels like I am making our lives unnecessarily difficult. Up by 6:00 am, march through breakfast, get your shoes on, quick, we're late, drive to school, hurry, here's your backpack, pick them up, try to pry information about their day out of them, do your homework, pack the lunches, collapse, exhausted, and do it all over again.
I realize I sound a bit melodramatic here, but I am `fessing up in hopes that I am not the only mom who feels this way and in hopes that if another mom is feeling even just a bit lost right now, to realize that she is not alone. Maybe we won't ever have all the answers, or maybe we will make some changes as the school years go on so we all feel more comfortable, but until then, we will just be here, packing lunches and staying positive, hoping we aren't screwing our kids up too badly. If that's not parenting done right, I don't know what it is.
Any other moms out there struggling this back-to-school season?