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Challenge: Back to School

'Back to School' Is a Six-Week Process

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A long time ago my friend told me that "back to school" is actually a six-week transition period. I believe this is true. To prove my point, I’ve outlined below how it works at my house with my three kids.


Week One: The Pregame (the week before school starts)

  • Kids are generally feeling excited, happy, and slightly anxious.
  • Find out about teachers, schedules, classmates, and lockers.
  • Celebrate or freak out accordingly.
  • Hemorrhage money on last-minute items for school/sports/fashion that are suddenly required.
  • Look around the house and shake your head sadly about all the long-term projects that did not get done this summer.
  • Savor those last moments sleeping in and going to the pool.
  • Fill out approximately 4,567 pages of forms.
  • Go back and forth about putting kids to bed early/waking them up early to prepare them for the coming schedule change.
  • Give up on that sh*t because it’s all a goat rodeo at this point in August.


Week 2: The Big Day (the first week of school)

  • Alarm goes off hideously early and pre-school morning chaos rituals commence.
  • Amazing breakfast lovingly prepared, left uneaten.
  • Everyone feels super weird, like, “What is happening? Is this even life?”
  • Carefully-selected first day of school outfit is discarded at the last minute because child in question is suddenly extremely self-consciousness.
  • Attempt to assuage child’s concerns. Make things much worse.
  • Get kids to school or the bus stop. Experience emotional swings from GET ON THE D*MN BUS AND STOP TOUCHING YOUR BROTHER to OMG I WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH, MY PRECIOUS BABIES.
  • After school cranky pants are in full effect as kids are super tired and have been “on” all day and need to decompress.
  • Ask how their day went and either get a grudging one-word response or a 49-minute recitation detailing every single thing that happened or the way they were aggrieved by a nose-picker.


Weeks 3-4: So This Is It (the second and third weeks of school)

  • For some reason, that alarm clock is just not getting any easier to deal with.
  • Novelty of the new school year starts to wear off, but our collective stamina to withstand the long school day, homework, etc., has not yet built up.
  • As a result, every day at least one person cries and/or has a hissy fit. Sometimes that person is me.
  • Fall sports are now in full swing.
  • Take a look at the family calendar for the next month and weep silently.
  • You've already forgotten to bring snack to something, so now you just keep a Costco-sized box of Goldfish in the car and throw bags at children when they get fussy.
  • So it turns out that your child is the only one at their school without {choose one} an iPhone 7, a second piercing, Snapchat, a boyfriend/girlfriend, headphones that cost $200, white high-top Converse sneakers, Grand Theft Auto 5, cool parents.
  • There is really just not enough caffeine.
  • Google “healthy slow-cooker meals” and read the results while waiting in line at the drive-thru.


Week 5: Sh*t Just Got Real (you’re now one month in)

  • You know how you thought you had a handle on homework? LOLOLOL.
  • Add a new layer to the family calendar that includes the due dates of kid projects, presentations, and tests. Visibly shiver in fear.
  • Weekly grocery shopping suggests that you are feeding a camp of lumberjacks.
  • Get your first {choose one} late library notice, bad grade found crumpled at the bottom of the backpack, lice email from the school, actual lice.
  • Think longingly of the weekend so you can relax, get organized, catch up on sleep.
  • Remember there is a tournament on Saturday morning at 7:00 am. An hour away.
  • Enjoy the nightly arguments that stem from walking a line between “not micro-managing homework” and “not allowing your child to fail 6th grade."


Week 6: Remember Last Summer? (AKA Is it Halloween yet?)

  • It’s getting chilly and the leaves are changing! How lovely! It really feels like fall.
  • A child comes downstairs in new jeans purchased just before school started and the child looks like a midshipman on the Bounty.
  • Kids are now used to school to the degree that you mention something that happened over the summer and they sigh as if you’re discussing the good old days when the earth was new.
  • Now that you’re more or less settled into a routine… someone gets sick.
  • Remember how productive you were going to be once the kids were in school and everyone was back on schedule? It’s OK. It’s not just you.
  • Kids complain about what’s in their lunches.
  • Kids start to make their own d*mn lunches.
  • Look at your children and realize they look alarmingly bigger/older/more mature than they did just six weeks ago.
  • Hug them aggressively until they start squirming. Then do it more.


~~Congratulations! You have succesfully transitioned into a new school year.~~

This post originally appeared on Rants from Mommyland. Check us out on Facebook for additional nonsense and tomfoolery.

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