No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks! Yes, I know it’s only the second week of school, but I have been doing this for 18 years and I have had enough. Before I get blasted here, let me put this disclaimer in first. I am fully aware of the importance of a quality education for my children and I am very blessed to live where the schools and teachers are phenomenal. I can call many of the teachers in my district dear friends and they have helped shape two of my once little people into wonderful young adults.
Now, back to the rant. I will admit, without hesitation, that when I finally walk through the door in the evening after pick-ups, grocery store runs, and various practices, I am mental toast with the patience of a toddler on the verge of meltdown city. It is late, the minions are hungry and I am whining the loudest. Did I mention my husband is a saint for putting up with me most nights? Dinner gets scarfed and it’s onto the homework at hand.
Considering my older two kids are a freshman in college and a sophomore in high school, one would assume I am no longer tactically involved in the minutia of their daily schoolwork. Nope, it’s just transformed into a tracking game and argumentative debate over what the website shows they have done, what is due and how it is all the teacher’s fault.
It’s the second week of school for my seasoned sophomore and she is failing Geometry already! How is that even possible?! There is absolutely no chance I even remotely remember Geometry. And, there is even less chance I am going to try and tell my 15-year-old girl how to do anything without it ending in a tear-filled, door-slamming episode because I don’t know anything, don’t understand her and never take her side. Yes, at this point, I am now bypassing the wine rack and heading straight for the liquor cabinet. I simultaneously set a calendar reminder to try and find a tutor before her entire academic future is completely ruined. I will also be figuring out how to fit the cost of paying for a tutor into my already bursting-at-the-seems monthly budget.
Onto the new college student. The conversation goes something like this.
Me: “What time did you get up today?”
New College Student: “Mom, I had to get up at 11am this morning to be at class on time. It was rough.”
(Mom now drinking straight from bottle to avoid lecturing new college student on the importance of hard work, not procrastinating and going the extra mile in order to get ahead in the workplace)
Me: “Did you get your financial aid worked out and buy books?”
New College Student: “Yeah, I need $750 for the tuition balance and $300 for books please by tomorrow and did you get that link I sent you for a new laptop cause mine broke?”
Now, my Dad did try to prepare me with some words of wisdom about putting kids through college. He told me lovingly that in high school kids ask for 10, 20 or even 50 bucks for gas money, school supplies etc. and it seems like a lot. But, then when they get to college, he told me to count on adding a zero to all those requests. He was right… again.
Moving on to my brand new kindergartner. Yes, I said kindergartner. It’s the first day of school and she is ready to tackle the world. She is dressed in the cutest outfit, her backpack is on point and I even managed a first day of kindergarten photo. I got this! I am a pro, a veteran, a sage, a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with all those first-time kindergartner mamas. Drop-off is perfect. She is prepared, well-adjusted and ready to kick some kindergarten butt!!
Fast forward to pick-up.
Her teacher is the sweetest thing ever and I am so excited to hear all about the big first day and how my baby shined brighter than all the rest!
Not so much.
My little angel threw an all out, level III fit and told her new teacher, “You’re not my boss and I don’t have to do what you say!” This was after she refused to say the pledge of allegiance and screamed and yelled throughout the duration of yoga time.
The good news my friends is that the only place to go from here is up! By the grace of God, we will get through yet another school year filled with milestones, proud accomplishments, blood, sweat, and tears.
I’m humbled daily by the challenges of motherhood, thankful for the journey and the ability to teach my kids that our failures aren’t fatal. Even though this back-to-school was rough for this old Mom, I will carry on knowing I am not alone in the battle.