Growing up, going back to school meant many different things. Above all it meant seeing friends again, every day, for better of for worse. It also meant back to work. Seeing if the teachers would be nice (a.k.a. easy) or mean (a.k.a. hard). It was a fun and exciting time.
Until now, as a mother in her thirties, I never saw the other side. All over Facebook and television I see images of children begrudgingly going back to school. Backpack slung over shoulder, face down turned, solemn. While the parents are jumping up and down, thrilled. Sipping wine and enjoying five minutes of peace and quiet.
As a child back to school was all for the kids. Not for the parents.
My son is only thee-years-old and I get it now. I completely get it.
When school ended for the summer I had a moment of terror. “What am I going to do with him on my day off? Will he get the same stimuli as he got in school?” Of course, I also lamented the loss of my two and a half hours of peace and quiet. Writing time. Editing time, Blog posting time. Time for a five-minute trip to Target without having to drag a screaming kid away from the toy department.
We survived summer. Now he’s going back to school. And I have two hours of “me” time to look forward to. Those all important two hours to recharge and get my bearings before my child, who still somewhat needs that afternoon nap that he doesn’t get, comes home and is a crying, needing mess.
At this point I am sure parents with older children, who are well versed in the back to school: parent edition business are laughing at me. Telling the screen “just you wait, oh foolish young mother.” To them all I can type is: I will get there in time and laugh at my own words once again.
I raise my glass to all the parents out there who are rejoicing in school returning. I raise my glass to all the kids enjoying the back to school buzz. Mostly I raise my glass to my laptop. Two hours. You and me. Let’s go.