I have never valued a straightforward routine so much as when I became a mother.
If you had asked me twenty years ago what I thought about the idea of my days being neatly laid out like the school clothes I donned in my youth, I’d have laughed in your face while frolicking away and blithely whiling away the time doing whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased.
Now, the very idea of doing that for weeks on end is…still very appealing. But this ideal fantasy life mostly works with just me, myself, and at best, my fiancé in the scenario. Doing this with kids IS WORK.
I am a middle school teacher at an all girls school. One might think that hitting the halls again is coming all too soon for me. Nope! I’d much rather spend the day educating your tween-age daughter than watching mine wander listlessly and complain that there’s “nothing to do” for days on end.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some lovely times visiting friends in Asheville, NC, hanging out at Texas Beach and Pony Pasture, and finding rocks all over RVA. But the best part of summer right now for me is that it’s over!
So here are my top 5 reasons that I am thrilled about my kids going back to school:
- Routine. Routine. Routine. We all know the drill. We’ve all agreed, mostly, to the drill. My son likes knowing exactly what to expect. School provides that for him. I don’t have to spend nine months answering, “What are we doing tomorrow?” We all know. Added bonus: With his school uniforms, we also know exactly what he’s going to wear. Yes, getting up and out in the mornings can be a challenge. But we all know what the expectation is. My incessant yelling to “Get it together!” is par for the course. No hard feelings. It’s the school year, people! Let’s go!
- No Need for Playdates. Really and truly, I’m awful at setting up time for my kids to hang out with their friends. I either don’t really want them running around my house or I feel guilty about unleashing my pair on others. I never really believe when other moms say they’re welcome anytime. I also refuse to get my daughter a real cell phone until I believe she’s responsible enough to have one. Therefore, talking on the phone with her friends, not so much. (I know, I’m PURE EVIL). Behold, school lets them see their friends ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Sure they cannot play or hang with them the entire time. But hey, when they do, it’s on someone else’s watch. Can’t beat that!
- They’re eating all of my food. I’m not sure who’s gained more weight from snacking: the kids or me. Either way, I can’t keep the cupboards or the refrigerator stocked enough for summer “I’m bored so I’ll eat” appetites. At school, there’s a time, place, and limited supply for all of this.
- My kids only seem to like it when their teachers tell them what to do. And while they may not like it all of the time, they generally comply without immediate feedback, commentary, or outright refusal. This is not something I can handle very well as a mom without breathing techniques or immediate removal of myself or the child from the situation. It is the holiest of holy moments when my kids do what is asked of them on the spot without question. Ah, the profound joy in these moments; it’s really magical. But they are few and far between in the summer and so, back to school we go!
- School is the corn starch to their mushy brain stew. We were blessed to be able to send both of our kids to great camps for part of the summer which sparked their creativity, imagination, and higher-order thinking skills. They even tried new sports! That time, however, was limited, and I don’t have the strength to keep them from the video games that also keep them out of my hair. And so, more school time, less screen time… and less guilty mom time.
So there you have it. Bring on the routine! Bring on the structure. We are soo ready! Give a teacher a hug or a high five and let the school year begin!