As a mother of three “active” boys, people love to tell me how excited I must be for the kids to go back to school.
“You must be counting the days!”
“What will you do with all your free time?”
“I hope you spend a full day watching tv and eating cookies with no one on top of you!”
Actually the last one is my own brain, but who am I to listen to reason.
The truth is, I think I despise the back to school struggle more than the kids do. After all they get to show off their new sneakers, clothes, and chat with their friends while going to gym class and eating lunch with other humans their age. But, before you think I’m a mom who loves my children so much that I can’t stand to see them go back to the facility that keeps them away from me for 6 hours a day, let me explain.
First, Boy Three is in preschool three days a week from 9am-12pm. This means I have to rush through the already painful am madness to get Boy One and Boy Two to school 20 minutes early so I can drive Boy Three to school on time. From there I pile in as many meetings and writing assignments as a two hour window will hold, before shutting down my non-kid life and running to pick Boy Three up again. There’s usually an errand or two plopped in the mix, then home to be jumped on by the DD (that would stand for Dreaded Dog, not Dunkin Donuts), make lunch, attempt to converse with Boy Three about his day at school, clean up lunch and the left over mess from the am, and then– what do you know–it’s time to get the other two from school.
It’s January in Upstate NY, which means degrees plummet below zero. So on goes the coat, hat, boots, gloves, and reluctant struggle from Boy Three who just wants to stay home and “watch a show!!”
Pick up is cold and windy. Moms chat too long about teachers, parties, and PTO things. Boy Three insists he’s too tired to walk as he plops on the ground with legs like rubber. I venture from one side of the school to the other collecting Boy One and Two who pull on my jacket begging to play on the frozen playground, while my arm burns from the 25 pound child who’s suction cupped to my body.
When we return home the two all-day-school heathens run to the fridge, consuming anything they can get their hands on, before sitting down and beginning the painful homework routine. Boy Two will get upset that Boy One is reading too loud. Boy One will say that Boy Two is using his personal pencil,. Boy Three will attempt to color or steal their homework because he wants to be part of what they’re doing, Boy Two will melt down because he doesn’t understand his homework, and Boy One will begin asking if he can play video games before his first sheet is halfway completed
If it’s warm enough I’ll force the “active” ones to throw on their snow gear and play outside, but if it’s too cold I’m meant to battle the fights and arguments and running that children that have been pent up all day come home with.
By the time dinner has come all the bodies are melting down. Who’s tired, who’s hungry, who’s is looking at the other the wrong way. This status seems to hold tight until they’re sound asleep in their bed.
But, while all of this is a lot to take, my most anxiety ridden part of the day stems from breakfast and the routine that follows. The am fight of who wants what to eat, who didn’t ask for what is in front of them, who doesn’t feel like eating, who doesn’t feel like going to school, who doesn’t want to wear that shirt, who doesn’t want to brush their teeth, who doesn’t want to make their bed, who forgot their gloves at school, who wants to bring lunch two minutes before we leave for school, who stole Boy Two’s Pokémon card that was on his dresser, who is sneaking Pokémon cards into school, who can’t find their boots, who can’t find their coat, who pushed who, who is taking up too much room in the car, who just forgot their book bag at home, who doesn’t want me to walk them into school, who does want me to walk them into school, who just threw a snowball at my butt? It’s enough to make me want to crawl back under the warm covers and ask what other parents seem to fear…”how long until the next school vacation?”