Kids, Back to School Stresses Parents, Too….


I stood, squinting at the paper in my hand, along with six other parents in the cramped Walmart aisle. One mother mutters, “Where the hell are the college ruled composition notebooks?”

“Here they are!” proudly proclaims another.

For a brief moment, we are all one unified group, muddling our way down this school supply list. Carts are filled with notebooks, similar Anna/Elsa gear, pencils, etc. We are all dodging our kids requests for supplies not on the given lists. In some ways, this is a magical moment of cohesion between parents. We are all forging the path of school supply conformity and have high hopes for the year.

Yet, amidst this oddly similar moment these other parents are seemingly experiencing, there is an undertone of anxiety in the air. With a new school year comes new teachers, new friends, new struggles and new triumphs. Luckily, my kids are still young enough that the biggest issue we will probably encounter is that Samantha wanted to play Legos with Jill, so I can temporarily live in that simplistic bliss. Nonetheless, I imagine the basic back to school parenting anxiety exists regardless of the issues of the moment.

We are about to become much busier

The kids are in school. This means a bit of a daily break, right? Think again, weary parent! Daily lunch evaluations, laundry woes, daily/weekly homework ordeals and extracurricular activities await! Also, don’t forget volunteer school duties and the potential competition with champion Pinterest moms! This number potentially is multiplied by the number of children you have. Bonus: basically all holidays that require planning/money are squeezed into the next four months.

Please don’t let my kid be a bully

As hard as this may be to accept, there will always be bullies; thus, there will always be bully parents. I am still lucky enough to be dealing with bullying as it relates to the insignificant Leggo box, but still, no parent wants to be that Lego kid’s parent. Further, the Lego terror may eventually morph into something much worse later.. As a result, we try to pound empathy and understanding into our kid’s psyche.

Please don’t let my kid be bullied

Now the anger begins to boil in a parent. Nobody will ever treat my child badly or there will be hell to pay, thinks every parent. But, alas, it happens. Since we do not want to be the parent that leaves an eight-year-old crying on the playground as a result of enraged parental belittlement, the only viable course of action is to utterly contradict our “don’t be a bully talk”  by stressing the importance of confidence and self-preservation.

I hope I like the teachers/I hope the teachers like me

This series of emotions is oddly reminiscent of walking into my own kindergarten classroom. Will he/she like me? Will he/she think I’m smart?  Will he/she give my child (I.e. me) a lot of homework? How mad will he/she be when I inevitably forget to do something this year?

Yes, it is a lot like my own experience, but it now has new interweaving of anxiety. I hope he/she and my child get along. I hope he/she sees all of the great qualities that I see and that the flaws are understood and accepted.

The kids are a year older.

They are growing– one year wiser and one year closer to not needing us anymore. The  issues are only going to become more complicated and harder to explain. So, I’ll do my best to savor their littleness while I can and take the insanity in stride.

Happy new school year!