School is Starting, Take a Deep Breath

Take a Deep Breath

‘Tis the season.

No, not that season. It will be that season soon enough, so you should probably start making your list and checking it twice.

Take a deep breath.

You have, like, 128 days until Christmas. Your kids will likely be in school for around 80 of those days, factoring in for weekends, other holidays, and the inevitable sick days. Your job and miscellaneous volunteer responsibilities will eat up 90 or so days. Most of those days – school days and work days – overlap, of course.

The math is getting complicated, but the point is, you have roughly one month to get ready for the holidays. Not one consecutive month, but still. Stop panicking about Christmas.

What you should be panicking about is school.

Take another deep breath. There is, in fact, nothing about which to panic. This is all you need to do between now and the first day of school, in no particular order:

  1. Fill out the registration paperwork (Bonus time if your district now has an online option, as mine does. Heaven, I tell you. I gained hours of non-form-filling-out life.)
  2. Fill out the Tell Me About Your Child forms.
  3. Realize you don’t know the answers to all of the questions on the Tell Me About Your Child forms. How is this possible? What is his favorite subject? Minecraft?
  4. Buy backpacks.
  5. Return backpacks, because they were the wrong colors.
  6. Buy more backpacks.
  7. Buy new lunch containers.
  8. Decide what to put in the lunch containers. No, children, fruit strips are not, in fact, fruit. Yes, they have fruit in them, but no, they don’t count. I’m not having this discussion again.
  9. Sign up for PTA.
  10. Regret signing up for PTA.
  11. Renew your commitment to PTA and being an involved, active parent.
  12. (Those last three items occurred over a 37-second time span.)
  13. Buy spirit gear.
  14. Exchange spirit gear for new sizes, because they may live at your house, but it’s hard to get a handle on how quickly the kids grow.
  15. Buy new pants for the kids. See above, re: quick growth.
  16. Buy new pants for yourself. See: summer indulgences.
  17. Assess the pencil situation in your house. You have 783 pencils. Two of them are sharpened. One has a working eraser.
  18. Remedy the pencil situation. (Bonus: sharpening pencils kills a couple hours during those last, dog days of summer.)
  19. Set up the homework station.
  20. Realize the kids will never recall where pencils, paper, hole punchers, staplers, erasers, glue, etc. live, even though you worked together to set up the homework station.
  21. Make a daily game plan to help with the morning rush and the after school insanity.
  22. Now is a great time to organize your recipes and plan a month of meals in advance, making dinner a snap.
  23. Hahahahaha.
  24. Organize the sports calendar, the piano calendar, the play date calendar.
  25. Realize you may not be doing as well “fighting the over-scheduling of our children” as you once believed you were.
  26. Meet the teachers. Pray you do a convincing on-the-ball parent act.
  27. Just pray. Period. For the teachers, the kids, the staff, your family’s sanity.

See? Nothing to it.

Maybe we should all take one more deep breath.


  1. I get back to school anxiety just as much as my kids do but they have no idea.
    They think I am so happy to have them go back but what they don’t realize is HOW MUCH WORK IT IS FOR ME ONCE THEY GO BACK.
    I. AM. NOT. READY.

    • So much work. The calendar already looks like the Schedule Fairy exploded all over it. I am not ready and I am ready and it really depends on what time of day you ask me.

  2. My oldest starts kindergarten next week . . . meaning that I’m in full crisis mode. For real.

    My plans, to maintain my sanity:
    – spend an hour every weekend during the school year preparing lunches for the week (I already do this, with a varying amount of success, for me & my wife, so this part, while it seems overly organized & stuff, might actually be the one thing that goes according to plan)
    – head school shopping with my son this weekend, let him pick out back pack, lunch box, etc . . . though I’m FULLY aware that whatever he picks out, even though he’ll pick them out, himself, will be seen as “not good enough” once he starts school
    – join the PTA because I’m a new “parent of a school kid.” Find that I’ve already scheduled myself (be they real appointments or fictitious ones) for every PTA-related function.

    • Oh, yes. It is crisis mode time. It was no easier when the youngest went to kinder. Maybe it was even worse. (And there’s your good news for the day. Ha.)

      The real deal good news for today is that the kids will be great, and you will adjust before you know it. Life’s new normal is pretty darn good. The goal is for them to grow up (and move out), and now you’re on that path! It’s exciting. And scary. And wonderful.

    (It’s practically here. And I host. Every year.)


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