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August 30, 2022

Back To School

*disclaimer…I wrote this on 4 hours of sleep and a very hectic first day of school so do not mind my grammar, spelling or just anything that may sound not quite right.

Oh Back to School!  One question mamas…how are you?  Honestly, how are you? I think one of the most important things you can ask someone is how they are and really wanting to know.  How are you though has become such a surface level question though like “how’s the weather?”  When asked most of us give a quick short answer and usually the response is “I’m fine” or “I’m good.”  

If I were to run into you anywhere that would be my response. “I’m ok. I’m good.” I could be way off base here, but I feel if you are a mother right now you are not ok. I am saying this only because this time of year is hard. It is really hard. For some of us it is definitely harder than for others.  It’s back to school time and that means well, so many things. Instead of pretending we are ok, let’s discuss that we are not. 

The Back to School feelings will differ from year to year. Each year brings new excitement, but also new challenges and worries. I will be the first to admit I have cried in a parking lot at drop off the first day of school, heck the first week of school.  

Some years are easier than others and as a mother of two I think feelings differ with each child as well. I have a love hate relationship with back to school. There are so many feelings….the emotional for one, but then there is also all the things that back to school brings.  Part of me loves back to school.  I love getting organized and being on a schedule. I love fall, sports, friends and everything that the school year brings. But I also long for those summer days, sleeping in, having no schedule and mostly having my kids by my side everyday.  Part of me loves the back to school shopping and all the orientation days, but the other part of me feels like I am being pulled in a thousand directions trying to get everything needed for each child, talking to the teachers to make sure they are aware of anything important about my child, reading all the updates, school policies, schedules, ports schedules and practices. It sometimes can be a lot these first few weeks.  

Today I am thinking about all of you out there. All the mothers that are overwhelmed, exhausted, worried, emotional and having an endless to do list running through their heads. I am even thinking the ones that are speeding away at morning drop off to Starbucks excited for a child free day and a minute to breathe. Then there may be those that are feeling a bit of both sides. Im thinking of you too and hoping that you are all really ok at the end of the day.

I am thinking about the mother’s that took their baby to their first day of Pre -K.  For some of you this will be the first time you have left your child this long.  It is exciting that they get to start their school journey and let’s admit preschool is fun, even for the parents, but those first days are bittersweet and full of worry.  

I am thinking of the mother’s that walked their Kindergartener to the bus stopped for the first time and hide their tears with a big smile as they waved bye to their little one.  At least that’s what I was doing at 8am this morning. Kindergarten is a fun year, but also very emotional for all involved at least in my experience with my first. It is the first time your little one will ride a bus and will be gone for a full day.  They are not your squishy little toddler running around anymore.  They have lost their chubby little dimples in their hands, have grown what seems like feet from last year, they lost their baby face and are no longer your baby that holds your hand as you walk them into school. This year is the year my daughter starts to Kindergarten and she has grown so much in every possible way from last year. My mama heart may not be ready for all of this and the tears have definitely been flowing, but she is so ready.  She is excited and can not wait to be a big kid, ride the bus, eat in a cafeteria and everything that comes with no longer being in preschooler.  I no longer have a preschooler in my house. I no longer have a side kick with me everywhere I go through the days. But what I do have is a little girl excited to learn, make new friends and is so happy and full of excitement. That is the part that makes the hard moments a little less hard.

I am thinking about the mother’s that are sending their 5th graders off to Middle school this year.  That’s me too. How do I have a middle schooler?!?! Truly the years have just flown by. The days are long, but the years are short is so true.  I think though in all honesty I am struggling more than my son is with this one.  It is the worry. New school and Middle school at that. I think we can all admit middle school is hard, really hard. Hard socially and academically.  Just hard all around. It is the year that you are no longer treated like you are a little kid, well because you aren’t and you have so much more responsibility not to mention social pressures.  My son stared middle school today in a new state from his last one. He went from private school to public school. From twelve children in his class to thirty.  He went from going to school with me everyday at 8:45 to riding a bus for the first time at 6:30am.  I have to say though he handled it with such confidence and enthusiasm, which made it easier on me. It though did not stop me from worrying every second of today.  My head was swirling with thoughts of everything all day. From did he like the bus, did he get there ok to could he open his locker and find his classes? I wondered all day how many times he had gotten lost or confused, if he made friends or if he sat alone at lunch.  I had all the thoughts all day.  I think one of the hardest things as a parent though is we have all of these feelings yet we have to be very carful not to let them project onto our child.  We need to make sure their thoughts and feelings especially at this age are their own. Which can sometimes be hard during transitions in our lives.  We have to just let go, give them independence and see what happens and just be there for them if they need us.  So sending all you middle school mamas big hugs. I am with you!

I am thinking of the mothers that are sending their middle schoolers to High School. Because middle school didn’t come with a whole set of new worries high school just takes that to a new level.  I do not have a high schooler yet so I can not speak from experience, but we were all high schoolers at one point so I will just leave it at that. 

 On the upside for me high school holds some of my best memories. It was where I built friendships that I still have today. Some of those friends are now like family. It is where I fell in love with Journalism and Photography. Where I had my first dance, my first kiss, drove my first car, my first heartbreak and even though it was tough it taught me a lot and the people that were by my side through it taught me even more.  It is where I became a cheerleader and loved every minute of it. There was homecomings, pep rallies, Friday nights under the lights, proms, sports and clubs.  It is where I met teachers and coaches that became my mentors and a few later in life my friends.  It is where I began to find out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. It was scary and it exciting. It was overwhelming at times, but also comforting at times.  High School comes with so many changes, so much growth and a lifetime of memories. 

And lastly, thinking of the Mother’s that just packed up their babies and sent them off to college.  Ah I am going to cry just thinking about that day.  I honestly can not even imagine. I have two friends that just packed up their son and their daughter and moved them to a new state, a new school and helped them start their new life without them. I know it wasn’t easy.  Sending you mamas all the hugs because I do not even know how I will prepare myself for that one.  I know though that your kiddos will do amazing things in this world and that all of your help, guidance and love prepared them for this day.

At the end of the day we just need to breathe, no these worries and stresses won’t last forever. Be thankful all of the good, for each year we have, face the worries and challenges head on together and soak up all of the fun with our children and make as many unforgettable memories as possible.  We just need to have faith, hope, lean on family, surround ourselves with good friends and just keep chugging that coffee. Or you could be like me and heat it up in the microwave fifteen times and never finish it.  Sending out big hugs. Cheers to a new school year and I hope you are all truly ok. And if you are not that’s ok too.  It gets easier I promise!

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