July is halfway over and if you’re
lucky in Metro
Atlanta, that means the start of the school year is right around the corner. Where
has the time gone? This summer has been an absolute whirlwind of activity for
me and my sweet babies so I can honestly say I’m over the damn moon with
excitement slightly reluctant to get back to our regular routine.
Last year, with my oldest starting Kindergarten, there were so many new things to consider when preparing for the school year. What with supply lists, new class start times (and new morning schedules to adhere to) and all the things it took to prepare my baby & I emotionally for her first foray into public school, it was enough to make
an already unstable caregiver a doting mama’s head spin. That’s why I
vowed to do my part and educate the masses this go ‘round.
Sure, you can probably find tons of advice columns on what’s the best college-ruled notebook paper to buy and where, but that’s boring…and frankly, it's only half the battle. If you’re getting ready for your first school year or interested in a behind the scenes look at what smart parents do to get ready, keep in mind this list of the Top 6 Back to School Saves for Savvy Moms. Let my
rookie mistakes tried & true
experiments in public school parenting lead you into the light!
6. Lice Shampoo and/or Hazmat Suit – Somehow the same children that had a hard time sharing a garbage pail sized bucket of popcorn at all of our summer movies, transform into 2 of the most affectionate and loving little angels this side of the Cumberland River come Fall. It takes everything in me not to spray them down with Lysol on sight when I pick them up and witness the hug fest that is an afternoon goodbye on the playground. And while I have no problem with sharing an encouraging pat on the back, I’m a little pissed that the
sweet children they gravitate towards most seem to be petri dishes of whatever
bug the CDC is studying this month. And you guessed it, what’s picked up at
school will inevitably make its way to your home. So do yourself a favor now
before Walgreens is all sold out, get your lice shampoo, pinworm cream (anuses don’t scare you, right?), and any
other first aid items your medicine cabinet is lacking. Run, don’t walk. Trust
5. Palm Grease - The lowest value gift card from your neighborhood business supply store is what I’m talking about here. You don’t have to break the bank, maybe just skip your coffee run for a day if it helps. The thing is, teachers go into the school year already behind on what they need for the year. They’ve begged their students’ parents and made do with whatever’s left in the supply room of the school but chances are, it’s not enough. It doesn’t matter if you’re offering 5 or 10 bucks, a quick note wishing them luck for a productive year and this small
bribe token of your appreciation will go far when your little
Einstein is having a hard time remember what number comes after the letter F (yeah, you read that right – and you know
4. Tinted Windows – Ok, this one might take a little pre-planning, but it’s super important. If you’re a carpool mama and you want to ensure that you don’t run into any of the PTA freaks that side eye you for missing the 6am meetings or try to sign you up for the 5th grade Bake Sale (or hell, the Kindergarten Organ Drive) you’ll need to be incognito. Plus, with tinted windows the safety nerds won’t see you texting as you drive into the parking lot and/or taking selfies for your Instagram parenting post while you wait in the pick up line: #MomOfTheYear, #BlessedLife, #MyBabiesAreMyWorld.
3. Lunchables – You know all of those really creative Pinterest food posts you just pinned? The organic, gluten free, healthy ones that were hand-picked and “tested for delicousness” by the recipe author’s kids? Yeah, throw those away. Like, print them out, look at them once more, laugh lightly to yourself and throw them in the trash. Because that’s where your vegan flourless brownie bites and avocado & hummus on tofu sandwiches are going to go. Do you know what your little ungrateful snots will come home saying after a week? “But mooooooom, Amy gets a pizza Lunchable every day. I just want that!” Amy’s mom who wears a pair of faded Juicy Couture cropped sweat pants at the bus stop and has a Newport dangling from her lips every morning is apparently doing something right. So save your Whole Foods dollars
for important things
like adult beverages and waist trainers and head to Walmart for some of the
most delicious 5 for $5 processed lunch treats money can buy.
2. Meal in a Minute – Not to harp on the food front, but breakfasts on the go are very important. Until everybody gets their timing down, things will be rushed. And honestly, it’s even worse if you have more than one kid. I’ve had to help the middle boy pee while fussing at the oldest to brush her teeth and breastfeeding the baby all at the same damn time.
Needless, to say, I ain’t makin’ a stack
of pancakes after that. So figure out what works for your family, and stock
up on anything that can be rolled into a ball and stuffed in a napkin while
walking out of the door. My family is famous for leaving a trail of Nutrigrain
bar crumbs and dropped raisins in their path. But you know what? They’re fed,
so I could give a crap.
1. Patience – This school thing is hard for even the most well adjusted little one. Everyone needs time to determine what works. Stay at home parents will need to figure out a way to fill up their new free time and ignore the eerie quiet (who knew the stairs creaked every time the mail truck rumbles past?!). And those that work a day job will be on pins & needles making sure you’ve accounted for any childcare hiccups that arise. Don’t stress yourself out though or go re-calibrating your meds just yet. You will find your new normal, new friends will be made and everyone will be better because of it. And at the end of the day, can’t we all agree that any institution that’s willing to take your kid for up to 8 hours deserves at least a little bit of gratitude? This is a good thing and you can do it.
Happy back to school, folks. May the
odds test scores
be ever in your kid’s favor.