Okay, it’s ON. Back-to-school time is ON. There are forms and letters and lists and apparently a Singapore math workbook that I thought was optional and I learned yesterday is not.
You can feel it ramping up—the silly, slow, lazy, days of summer are over and it’s time for business. We start next week, but every day when I scroll through Instagram there are a few more first-day-of-school photos from friends around the country.
The feeling–the pressure–is in the air. We had a playdate this morning with two of my best friends. All three of us are working moms of little ones—one is librarian at an elementary school and the other is a dean at a university.
The kids ran in the sprinkler and splashed in the pool. We—the moms—were quieter than usual, a little stuck in our heads, scrolling through the massive amount of things to be done before school starts.
We chatted and played with the kids, but every time we picked up our phones to check what time it was or take a quick picture, we peeked at our emails, and then we were gone, absorbed in schedules and plans and meeting agendas, back-to-school to do lists and things to buy and organize and manage.
I’m going to tell you right now: this is not the part of parenting where I shine. I’m really good at car-dancing to Macklemore and snuggling and going to the beach. I’m not fantastic at all the lists and routines and workbooks and forms.
I’m going to tell you right now we’re going to miss some things along the way. Well, frankly, we already missed the Singapore math workbook thing. Yikes.
But we’ll be all right. Deep breath, moms and dads.
Let’s not let the pressure we feel to do it all perfectly stand in the way our ability to be present. Let’s do our level best to get everything done and every form signed. But through it all—and this is the most important part—let’s work hard to stay loving and soft-hearted and silly with these little people that are at the center of the whole back-to-school swirl.
Let’s get the right scissors and new shoes, but let’s stop in the costume aisle along the way and put on hats and sing some silly songs. Let’s create space to laugh and play and tell stories even if we still haven’t located the all-important summer reading chart (true story).
If you feel a little daunted by the logistics of back-to-school, just know that you’re not alone. We’ll be all right, forms or not, lists completed or not. Deep breath, moms and dads. We’ll be fine.