You know that “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Staples commercial, where the dad is giddy because the kids are going back to school and the kids look like they are incapable of feeling joy ever again?
Well it’s September, and I am that dad.
Yes, summer is fantastic: No collages to decorate, no dioramas to build, no last-minute “Mom I forgot to tell you” school events that I have to jam into my work schedule. There’s no stress over remembering lines for the classroom play or baking cupcakes for class parties. And best of all, no homework! Our evenings are wonderfully relaxed. Dinner’s running late? No problem. “Bedtime” has become a moving target anyway.
So why, exactly, would I be excited for school to start?
Because while relaxation is great for a while, routines are what soothe my soul--especially since my career involves working from home. When the kids don’t need an alarm clock in the morning, getting them to bed is more of a chore. Suddenly it’s 10 p.m., my 6- and 9-year-old kids are still eating ice cream and watching “Wipeout” and my husband and I have yet to have one uninterrupted conversation. And when the kids don’t have to wake up early neither do I, which has made it nearly impossible to find motivation for an early-morning workout.
Then there’s the guilt: The kids are off so shouldn’t I be on vacation too? They loved camp at first but later got bored with it. Why can’t I just stay home and take them to the beach like so many of their friends' moms (many of them teachers) do? Why must we be cooped up in the house on a beautiful day just because mom has to work?