My kids went back to school on Wednesday. Not that I was happy about that or anything.
... I mean, "thrilled" is probably the word I'm looking for.
Seriously, I love the shit out of them, but I was on the verge of dropping them off a few weeks ago with a backpack full of food and clothing and being like, "Okay kids, just wait here. School will be opening in ... a little bit." And then burning out so fast I left skid marks on the pavement.
It's just that those last few weeks before school starts are like the last few weeks of pregnancy. You're like, "THIS HAS BEEN JUST FANTASTIC BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY CAN WE PLEASE BE DONE WITH IT NOW?"
I do miss them during the day, I have to admit. And their first day back at school, the silence in this house - despite the fact that my four-year-old is still home for now - was almost overwhelming. So much that I was actually relieved (for probably the first and only time in my life) to hear his usual call of, "Hey Mom, can you wipe my butt?"
While I love the laid-back timeline of summer (read: I basically let my kids eat and sleep whenever they want to because I'm lazy like that), I kind of enjoy getting back into an actual routine, even though it's more difficult to keep up with. So overall, I'm glad they've gone back.
But even three days in, there are things that I'm suddenly remembering suck so hard. I mean, you tend to forget about that stuff over the summer because it seems so far away. Then school starts and the crappy parts about it come crashing down like, "Happy fall! And by 'fall' we mean what you're going to do when we slap you back into that School Year Reality." Crappy parts like ...
Waking them up in the morning. Dear Lord. Give me strength. (Or make it acceptable to get drunk before 8 am - whatever works.) There is just something inside every mother that screams nooooo! when it comes to waking peacefully sleeping children. And then when you do wake them it's like this:
Yet on weekends when they could actually sleep in, they're all:
And then after that there's ...
Getting them ready and out the door on time. When their friends show up at the door in the summertime wanting them to play, they're ready in less time than it takes me to yell, "Shut the door, the air conditioner is on!" (Although this may be because they leave the house in strange ensembles such as a plaid shirt and Pokemon-print shorts and a pair of Crocs.) But on school mornings it's as slow as a retirement home around here.
Keeping the laundry done. One thing about sending them to school is that you've got to send them in something that looks at least halfway decent, or at least not like you rummaged it out of a dumpster somewhere. I don't know about your kids, but mine only have a handful of respectable-looking wardrobe items between them, which means I have to do a nightly load of laundry to keep on top of those things, lest they be forced to wear the aforementioned Pokemon shorts.
Keeping up with their crap. With four kids, my poor brain is already on overload (and let's be honest, it didn't even function all that well before the kids). But now I have to remember and manage who needs a daily snack. Whose planner or folder I need to sign. Who turned in what permission slip. Whose lunch money balance is low. Who has a test and when. Whose class is having a competition to collect boxtops. Who is supposed to wear red and gray for "school spirit day." The dates of early dismissals and parent teacher conferences and canned food drives and birthday parties and - BOOM! Sorry, that was my head exploding.
HOMEWORK. Oh. Mah. Gah. I can count on one hand the number of times my kids have done their homework willingly and without complaint. The other times - so like 98% of evenings - it's like I asked them to eat a frozen turd. I have to stand there like I don't have a bazillion other things to do and make sure they stay on task, and then if they've half-assed an answer I'll make them write it again (I KNOW, MEANEST MOM EVER). But the worst is when they bring something home that they need help with and you literally have zero idea how to do it. For me, that's always math. I am so terrible at math that "terrible" isn't even a sufficient word. Nothing makes me feel more brilliant (snort) than staring at an upper-level elementary math problem and feeling my eyes glaze over.
The evening routine. It's pretty much like the morning routine, except that instead of trying to pry them out of the bed, I'm trying to coax them into it at a reasonable time. Which means that everything else - homework, dinner, bath, teeth brushing, etc. - has to fit into a certain schedule in order to be done before it's time for bed. I feel like I need to run around with a cattle prod or at least a well-trained sheepdog. Because it's like spilling a bowl of marbles onto a concrete floor and trying to get them all to roll into the same place at once.
The sickness. I know it's inevitable and I dread the day one of my kids comes down with a fever. Or a sore throat. Or the worst of all: THE STOMACH VIRUS. They haven't been sick at all for the entire summer - not so much as a sniffle between the four of them. But now that they're sharing germs with all the other kids in town, I guarantee it's not long before someone carries home some sort of nasty bug - and then generously shares it with the rest of the household. Ugh.
So yeah, I'm glad the kids have returned to school, but - just as there were things about summer that I could have lived without - there are things I don't exactly cherish getting back into. I just have to keep reminding myself of the good parts: like the fact that my kids can actually ride a bus in our new town (Hallelujah!) so that I don't have to get myself ready in the mornings too.
Because seriously, if I had to put a bra on in the midst of all the morning craziness it might be the one thing that sends me completely over the edge.