Here I sit on a Tuesday night thoroughly exhausted and unable to have a coherent thought after my oldest’s first day of school. I sent my first child to her first day of first grade; there’s something I’ll never be able to say again.
The exhaustion is more mental than physical, I’m sure. I mean, yes, I forgot about all the pesky BTS shopping until yesterday (we had just gotten back from a week long vacation, don’t judge) so we spent hours frantically walking around trying to get the perfect items. Yes, I probably did get everything on the list (including the teacher’s wish list) in an effort to not be one of those moms. And yes, I did stay up way too late manually sharpening 50 number two pencils, eventually popping the burn blister on my index finger. I have to say, I don’t think saving those extra pennies on non sharpened pencils (or an electric sharpener) was worth it. I still can’t feel every part of that finger.
So, while my body is crying out for my bed my mind is, well, fried. Honestly, I’m trying to think of something encouraging or witty to say to all you moms and dads out there who had to watch their kids walk into their classroom without glancing back, but all I’m coming up with is try not to sob too loudly; they embarrass easily.
For the past month I’ve only had one consistent thought: I can’t wait for school to start. I can’t wait for school to start. I can’t wait for school to start. When does school start? You get the point. I couldn’t see past the idea of a quiet house. 2 YO would have no one to scream at. She would have no one to antagonize or vice versa. She would have all the toys to herself. It was going to be glorious.
I forgot that when my 6 YO goes to school there will be 35 hours a week I won’t see her. Having the house quiet means she won’t be here thinking of great games for her and 2 YO to play. First grade means she’s another year older. She’s about to become even more dependent. How can one person (me) feel so relieved and so worried at the same time?
I am so relieved that I don’t have to separate a fight every 30 seconds or trip over as many toys. On the other hand I’m worried about whether or not she’s making friends or staying safe. I wonder, as every good parent does, if she’s missing me while I sit at home missing her. It’s the third year I’ve had to drop her off, but every year my involvement has to get less and less. It’s tough.
Because it’s tough and because parents are in public when they drop their kids off, I’ve come up with some tips that you’ll love to hate.
- Stay up really late the night prior.
PRO: If you’re struggling to stay awake you have to work that much harder to remember everything you need to, so you don’t realize how sad you are (or that you are dropping your kid and leaving at all) until after you pick them up at the end of the day.
CON: 3 hours of sleep doesn’t do a whole lot of good to a person’s grasp on their emotions. This can turn into extreme irritation (hello!) or prone to weeping. Don’t worry; it’s often the first.
- Wait until the last minute to do everything.
PRO: All of your time is taken up by making sure you have everything and it’s all in it’s place. There is no time for worry or sadness.
CON: You’re going to forget something. There’s no time for relief or peace.
- Focus on volume rather than reactions.
PRO: Silent tears draw way less attention so your kid isn’t always aware of your inner pain.
CON: The harder the silent cry, the uglier the cry face. That will not go unnoticed.
- Be honest.
PRO: The teacher is used to emotional parents anyway. Let her know up front you’re not really crazy. Also, the more you let your kid know you love them, the less you have to worry about them not missing you.
CON: Sometimes being very open with your kids about how much you love them may embarrass them. The older they get, the more fun that gets.
- Drink coffee – all of it.
PRO: I should think it’s obvious.
CON: Is there one?
If I could give you more pointers, I would, but I’m barely skirting by myself.
Before I attempt to regain my emotional equilibrium in sleep, what are your back to school survival tips? Share below and help all us parents out.