Back to School: Parents Everywhere Rejoice?

It's not always about wanting to get the kids out of your hair.

Parker Barry

“And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!” It may not be starting to look a lot like Christmas just yet, but that’s the message on social media this month. Hilarious viral videos and big chain store marketing campaigns have many parents nodding with laughter in the shared sentiment — I want these kids out of my hair!

As much as I have loved our loosey-goosey summer (lack of) routine, I’m counting down the days until my kids are back in school, too. Full disclosure: I was counting down in May until the summer fun could begin. My kids have reveled in staying up late — watching movies together, devouring books in one night, swimming or playing outside until dark. (We’re in Texas, so outdoor play really doesn’t begin until after 7 p.m. in the summer when the temperature finally drops below 100.) They’ve learned new skills and practiced creativity at a couple of summer camps and have had plenty of time to roam the neighborhood and do whatever they want, which has included quite a bit of Minecraft with cousins and friends as well as whole-family time playing old school video games.

It’s been more than fun — we’ve made family memories and the kids have grown in body, mind and spirit — but I’m ready for a return to normal. I love having my kids around all day, but I’m a work-from-home, introvert-type mom with two loquacious daughters. I’m ready for a few hours of quiet. I’m ready for a return to routine (even though I know I’ll be sick and tired of that routine by the spring).

While those videos and photos of parents celebrating as the kids head off to school and my longing to be able to work in silence are pretty adultist in nature, focusing on what we adults want, the kids are eager to get back to school themselves. Why?

    • 1. They’ve missed their friends. We’ve had visits with cousins, sleepovers with friends and play time with neighbors, but everyone has been in summer mode with trips, camps and out-of-town guests scattered over these past months. The kids haven’t seen as many of their friends as they’d like to as often as they want. Once they’re back at school, they know they’ll see their friends every day.
    • 2. They’ve missed their teachers. They are both so eager to find out who their homeroom teachers will be this school year, and they’re excited to build that new relationship and to see their beloved teachers from past years. I cherish these relationships they have with other adults who love them and want to see them succeed.
    • 3. They’ve missed their little world. School is their domain, a place where they are more than a daughter or a sister; where they develop their identities outside of our family. Every day may not be perfect in that world, but they like it there.

And after they’ve had their adventures and I’ve had some quiet, we can reconnect at home, where it may not be perfect every day, either, but it will certainly be a more civilized place than it has been these last weeks of summer.

How do you feel about your kids going back to school?

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