Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School. Eh.

I have mixed feelings every year about the old "Back to School" gig. Being a student for nearly 20 years, and working in the school system for nearly 6, I feel pre-programmed to HATE back to school. Even though I get to stay home, and even though it's a time a lot of SAHMs look forward to, I have trouble embracing it. While I am excited to have my structure back, I am going to miss my big girl. She is good company (most of the time), a great companion for kid movies, eating out, and shopping, and she is a LOT of help. She's my second set of eyes on baby girl. She's the reason I can shower EVERY day. On the other hand, she's a "MOOOOOOM!" when I'm on the toilet, she's the one taking Baby Girl's toys just to see her mad face, and she's the one leaving cookie crumbs, dirty dishes, and Barbie dolls in a haphazard trail that makes me feel like a dog chasing a coon. In addition to the effects on my home, there are the effects on my wallet. I DREAD the August bank statement, knowing it's like a second Christmas. I LOATHE that stupid school supply list, the worst scavenger hunt known to man. However, I LOVE our yearly shopping trip to Springfield, watching her define her style, helping her find matching shoes, and meandering from store-to-store looking for a good deal. Finally, there are the effects on my girl. It means no more staying up enjoying a late night pretend session with Barbie. It means no more 10 am snack, and no more Good Luck Charlie marathons on rainy days. It means no more runs to the lake, mid-day ice cream cones, or mid-week sleepovers with Nana. It's schedules and school lunches, early mornings and baths at 7, reading, homework, and exhaustion. It's also new activities, kids her age, a structured day, and back to a familiar routine. It's back to seeing friends every day, which can be a good thing, but for my big girl, it's often a struggle. She wants so badly to fit in and befriend almost everyone, but tries so hard and is often rejected. A lot of girls in her class are catty and mean already. They already judge each other based on what they wear, and who their parents are friends with. They sniff out weaknesses like a shark after blood. So it's back to not knowing if it's going to be a good or bad day for her. It's not knowing if she'll disembark the bus with a smile or in tears. It's not knowing if she'll be wanting to pick a fight to vent her frustrations, or if she'll want to sit on my lap, or if she'll just want to be alone. It's back to not being in control. It's giving her heart and emotions to someone else to handle. To mean girls, to ornery boys, to disinterested teachers. She's going from being adored by her baby sis and appreciated by her mom, to a place where she has to work to be liked, and even then fails. They say being a kid these days isn't easy, and that's for sure the truth. But no one ever warned me about the heart-break that comes with being the parent of a kid these days.