Back to School
My 5th grade son and 7th grade daughter went back to school this past Thursday. The first day of school outfits were sponsored by Aeropostale, thanks to a 50% off sale at the Pigeon Forge outlet store last month. In the obligatory photo that morning, they both are wearing a bemused smile indicating they are way too old for this, but are only humoring Mom. If only they knew that I was probably as nervous as they were for the school year to start.
Even before school started, our family already had two instances of activities for the kids that required me to be in two places with a different child at the same time. Luckily my husband was able to help with these activities. However, I can already feel the anxiety of my overly scheduled life starting to creep in as our tans from summer break start to fade.
So this year, I am going to make a pact with myself:
#1. Realize I cannot be in two places at one time. I can’t be both at work and at the golf course for my daughter’s varsity match at 4pm. I’m somewhat certain that she probably doesn’t actually mean to push a dagger through my heart each time she asks, “Is anyone going to come to watch me?”
#2. Realize that sometimes a frozen pizza with a side of frozen broccoli is an adequate meal and move on . . . and avoid sitting by the mom who makes organic soup from scratch for her family at the next PTO meeting . . . and just smile when my husband tells me AGAIN about his mother making fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner on school nights.
#3. Realize that I will never, ever, be caught up on the laundry until both kids have moved out of the house. I need to just get comfortable with sound of the dryer going non-stop; it is the soundtrack of my life.
#4. Realize that I cannot control EVERYTHING, or rather, I control NOTHING. The very night that I need everything to run like clock-work will be the night that nothing does; my son’s piano lesson will run long, I’m late to the church meeting, and after making my apologies, receive a text from my husband that my daughter is sick and I need to come home. It’s called LIFE and it happens.
Of course, even with my pact, I am still going to feel stressed and guilty and inadequate and overwhelmed. I think this condition is called being a M-O-T-H-E-R. Maybe that is why I like to escape at the end of the day by watching the Real Housewives, whom I never see baking a frozen pizza or putting laundry in the dryer, although I do see them having knock-down (literally) fights with their in-laws and meeting their friends for drinks just to tell them how awful they are.
Does a more privileged lifestyle give you more time and energy for wretched behavior? I’m too tired after work, chauffeuring my kids to their activities, and making dinner (or not), to cause too much trouble for anyone else. Maybe the average Kentucky moms like me are not necessarily nicer than the pampered women with the glamorous lives in the big cities, maybe we are just exhausted.
Best wishes to you at the start of this new school year and remember to take a deep breath, we will all get through this school year just like we did last year . . . . by the skin of our teeth.