Going Back To School: The Good, The Bad And The UglyJeannette Kaplun
However, the beginning of the school year is a fresh start in many ways. I guess that’s why a major retailer was even labeling it sort of a New Year’s for moms. I don’t necessarily agree but it is the beginning of a new cycle. As such, it made me take a look at what I like about the kids going back to school, what I dislike and what really puts me off. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with my choices.
School provides structure and that I believe is a good thing, not only for little ones but for adults as well. Routine can be boring but it can give you peace of mind in the midst of all the chaos. The school day through it’s schedule brings back an order to your day and for many, that is quite comforting. In that sense, having your kids go back to school tells you more or less what to expect on any given day or even gives you something you can rely on.
I also love seeing how my kids grow, not only physically but also emotionally and intellectually, thanks in no small part to their teachers and their guidance. Teachers rock, especially those that take the time to look at each child as an individual. If you haven’t had a good experience in the past with a specific teacher, don’t let that taint your vision of those who are spending so many hours with our children.
Refer to my first paragraph. No matter how hard I try, mornings are simply nuts. Trying to get everybody ready, fed, clothed and out the door in time sometimes seems a gigantic task. Sometimes all you can do is just get up even earlier and if you’re not a morning person, it’s hard.
Then comes homework. I think at some point homework became “what we didn’t have time to do in class” instead of “let’s reinforce what we learned today.” Too many times I feel I have gone back to school because my kids need help with their projects and assignments, when I think the point should be for them to be able to do their homework without help.
Carpool is another thing that I honestly despise. My children go to different schools so it takes extra planning and time to make everything work. If one carpool takes longer than usual, it means my other child might be late and that is plain stressful. In general, carpool is a big waste of time (and gas) but since I don’t have another solution, I just deal with it. I don’t like it, but I accept it as part of school-life.
Many parents will tell you that as your children grow, problems do, too. As my son enters fifth grade, he has started worrying about different things. Instead of avoiding the issues, I believe in honest answers when asked about bullying, cheating and yes, the dreaded sex-talk. My friends who have girls also are dealing with cliques and self-esteem issues as they hit puberty.
But kids are not the only ones dealing with cliques. In some schools and grades, it is quite common to see a group of moms that stick to themselves and can be too quick to judge other parents that might seem very different from them.
Then there’s the issue of school lunches. Even if you do take the time to prepare lunch at home for your kids, it’s a huge challenge to make a lunch box that’s nutritious, appealing and non repetitive. In my family both my husband and I travel a lot, so we’ve reached an agreement with the kids: we discuss the monthly menu together and plan for the days they will take their lunch from home. It usually means preparing one to two lunches a week instead of five.
The ugly part is that cafeteria food might be convenient and on some days a lifesaver for busy working parents, but nutritionally, it leaves much to be desired. I see many schools trying to improve the quality of their lunches and there are even many efforts led by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, but there is so much to be done.
What are you looking forward to this new school year? Are you dreading it or excited about what’s to come?
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