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Going Back to School Means a Bittersweet September

There are plenty of mixed emotions associated with the start of the school year.

“If you are happy your kids are back in school, you shouldn’t have had them in the first place.” – “Mrs. Cleaver” on momania.com

Okay, so I guess I should be childless (please don’t tell my kids this).  But yes, I, like many others I know, have been longing for the return of school since about mid-August!

It got to the point of having a recurring daydream…kind of like those old Calgon commercials. But instead of being whist away to a warm bubble bath, I was instead at the school drop-off line, blowing kisses to the kids, then driving off as fast as possible. 

The departure speed was always in direct correlation to just how loud the kids were yelling at one another…Imagine that!

I love my kids more than anything or anyone in the world!  I think that they even love me too, when they are not calling me a “mean mommy.”

But after spending about 10 weeks with each other non-stop, I am not quite sure how much we actually like each other right now (Irene’s four powerless days were simply icing on the cake).

Well, here we are, the first day of school, and like many other things in life I feel a twinge of guilt about wishing the days away.  The days take forever but the months fly by in an instant, don’t they?

While wishing away the summer in the heat of the moment, we’ll look back and cherish the fun we had this July and August, like the many lazy days by our pool watching my daughter perfect her dive, or the inevitable skinned knees as both kids learned to ride two wheelers.

We are also tremendously grateful for our time shared with my brother-in-law and his family down the Cape.  (It never ceases to amaze me how close our kids are even though they live in Tampa.)

But there is something to be said for the structure and variety of interactions the kids have in school.  Especially for the kids who are stuck with a parent with a strong introvert personality like myself. 

In fact, this is the first summer I became mindful of my kids suffering due to my social anxiety. My tendency to avoid most social events has never really fazed them up until now. 

As they age and my avoidance includes playdates with parents I don’t know well, they have been left with a pretty unstructured vacation.

My advocacy for has not veered; it is just that school provides a healthy balance of structure and boundaries that kids like mine need, and quite honestly, what I need as a mom as well. 

I can be “on” socially in short intervals and the long days of summer just don’t allow for that.  The school year not only accommodates that, but it also affords me the opportunity to “be off,” so I can then be the role model my kids need so hopefully they can avoid my anxious tendencies. 

Amongst the positives that the school year provides my family, I must admit that there are a few freedoms of summer that I will greatly miss on a much more light-hearted note…

  • Lounging in our p.j.s long after breakfast
  • The excuse of going in the pool as a reason not to wear makeup.
  • Minimal laundry-primarily bathing suits and towels
  • Paper dishes (though not “green,” they do make life that much easier)
  • Aluminum foil-what I use to cook all my veggies on the grill
  • The absence of committee meetings and volunteer projects

But as the school year starts, we can look forward to …

  • Sleeping with windows open
  • No more lathering up with sunscreen and bug spray
  • Apple picking
  • Jumping in leaf piles
  • Covering my pear shaped body in cardigan sweaters!

What is your saddest summer goodbye?  What do you welcome most with fall quickly approaching?  What is your feeling about the kids heading back in school?

I look forward to getting your feedback…

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