Since my husband and I are both middle school teachers, and both of our girls are still of school age, back-to-school is a big deal. It’s almost as big as Christmas and it’s certainly bigger than Thanksgiving (including the pre-Black Friday sales).
We teach summer school during June and have our big softball tournaments during July. So as soon as Independence Day lights its last firecracker, we start thinking about going back to school. My husband and I start making lesson plans, reworking curriculum, developing classroom blue prints and Pinteresting classroom décor … well, at least I do. Our girls start thinking about their back-to-school outfits, their new backpacks and start sending us links to the latest school planners and supplies they just can’t live without.
(This is where a lesser mom would launch into a tirade about how we had yellow pencils and solid-covered spirals. The fanciest thing we had was a puppy or a Trans-Am on a Trapper Keeper. But I’m not a lesser mom … Also, I am a sucker for colorful ink pens, and I don’t mind who knows it. They suck me into their fancy supplies by starting with cool colorful pens.)
Anyway, our school doesn’t start until the third week in August and while seven weeks or so seems excessive in back-to-school prep, let me tell you, it’s simply not enough time.
For starters, from Memorial Day until the Fourth of July, we’ve stayed up late and slept later. Our first order of business is to start getting acclimated to waking up in the morning while it’s still, well, morning. Usually, this amounts to one of us sleeping through the alarm entirely and waking up at lunch time, one of us turning off the alarm and waking up after lunch time, one of us hitting snooze repeatedly until it’s almost lunch time and then one of us waking up first thing in the morning because the three women in his life can’t control their alarms. Once we do get up at a school-time, the wails and gnashing of teeth one has read about in Old Testament times is a very real thing at our home.
So, obviously, we need work on our morning routine. If the first days of school for the past 11 years or so are any indication, then we’ll still be trying to perfect this waking-up-in-the-morning business until, well, about October. Or so.
The second thing we have to work on is actually eating breakfast and preparing a lunch. Summer is for us to nibble and graze as if we were cattle in our own kitchen and then hem-haw around until we drive through late night taco places for dinner. We have to relearn that cereal is not eaten straight from the box nor are sandwiches antiquated food that we eat at Grandma’s house.
We have to also learn to get dressed when we get up. Considering that we stay in our PJs most of the day (until we drive through the local taco joint when the late news comes on), the greatest mystery of summer is why we have so much laundry. This is not my best parenting moment, but I trust y’all so I’ll share. There was a 48-hour stretch that one member of this household wore the exact same shirt. Hint: It was an adult. Another hint: It wasn’t my husband.
So, getting ourselves dressed with clean clothing that we haven’t worn in the past twenty-four hour period is a hurdle we must jump prior to school actually starting. The good news is that we’ll get some new clothes as we head back to the books, but all that really does is add to the oddly growing laundry pile.
We’ve tried everything to prepare ourselves for the inevitable, including downloading an app that promises to stop time. Really, it just stops your clock for an hour or so. It’s a great gag and a lot of fun to have on a road trip, but it doesn’t really stop time—much to the disappointment of every rational being in our household.
Despite our endless prep, school begins. Several dry runs result in screams, cries, throwing of clothes, supplies and the precious colored pens that I simply adore. We seem to be able to do breakfast or lunch, but rarely do we nail both. (Can I get an amen for Lunchables?) Our backpacks are pre-packed and our shoes du jour are by the door. Barely do we make it out of the house in time.
We love school, really we do. It’s just so hard to return after the lovely summer break. Good news is this: Only 12 days until Labor Day.
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and a teacher—believe it or not! Her latest book is “Sundays At The Fields,” a softball family devotional. You can contact her through her website, www.Heather-Davis.net.