In which I move to Canada
Acceptable and unacceptable eye rolls, your own experiences vs. your kid's present and future, and why military bases aren't the always the worst

In which I have no act to even pull together

I am probably the only parent in the world who is struggling with the start of school. All the other parents are off eating bon bons in their bath and hosting mimosa brunches and, I don't know, turning cartwheels and eating cookie dough right out of the tube. All things I fully support and would be doing myself if I could only GET MY ACT TOGETHER. 

I have a list of things to blame. Obvs. First up is the change in school bell times for the big kids' school. All of Seattle Public Schools switched up bell time to accommodate a later high school start. Most elementary schools are now an hour earlier (because of buses, because of money, it's always money, I will not rant about the boundary issue, I will not). WHICH IS FINE. I am just fine with the kids starting earlier and high school kids going later and I AM A COOPERATIVE PARENT but you GUYS it is HARD to get UP. Possibly because by the end of summer none of us, including the four-year-old, were going to bed until 10. I don't know. The guiding force in our parenting is Sloth, followed closely by Inertia, what can I say. 

Anyway. The lucky thing is that Phillip has to get up for work (no bon bons for him!) and he's always berating himself for not going in earlier and guess what! Now he does! Because we have to get the kids to the bus stop by 7:15. (We were rolling out of bed at 7:15 last year. Sigh.) So this is hard for me. I need my beauty rest. And my beauty rest is more like Just Enough To Speak Coherently Rest, beauty has nothing to do with it. Unfortch. 

In a miraculous display of Thinking Ahead and Using My Smarts, I have been laying out clothes and making lunches the night before. We haven't had to drag the kids out of bed yet, which surprises me (just wait for the gloom and doom of late fall and winter, though) so it's just me wandering around in my jammies and rat's nest hair, barking about being late and put your shoes on and is that a milk mustache on your face? I even made a bunch of breakfast burritos so no one can force me to make scrambled eggs in the morning. 

So far so good. Painful but possible. 

The other stuff is just stupid. Like school uniforms. SO SO STUPID AND YET SUCH A BIG DEAL. 

When we signed Emma up for pre-K at the Catholic school I received a packet of info which included a letter from the teacher saying UNIFORMS WERE NOT REQUIRED. But a dress code was enforced and if we wanted to dress "like" the uniform, to buy certain kinds of clothes and colors. Which I duly did because WHEE! Emma in a little school uniform jumper CAN YOU EVEN? 

About a week before school started I took a closer look at the uniform section in the handbook, which the school staff thoughtfully emailed out to all the parents just in case they hadn't felt like they spent enough money yet, and I realized that the primary age students didn't wear NAVY shirts, only WHITE. And they didn't wear KHAKI skorts and pants, they wore NAVY. Oops. So I took all the wrong things back. And Emma wore navy pants, a white polo, and a little navy hooded cardigan on her first day. 

But allllllllll (ALLLLLLL) the other pre-K kids were wearing the regulation uniform. 

I told myself I was paranoid. 

The next day I picked up Emma and she was wearing the regulation school cardigan. Her teacher said, "I just keep this sweater here and she needed it." 

Ok? 

That same day I noticed that not only were alllllll (ALLLLLLL) the kids wearing brand new regulation uniform clothes, ALL the girls were wearing SKIRTS. I said to myself, "Self, a school cannot POSSIBLY demand girls only wear skirts in 2016. That just cannot be the case." But see above: paranoid and also Rule Follower, so I asked the teacher. "Is it okay if Emma wears pants?" 

And she said, "Hmmmmm... you don't have one of those?" And she pointed at a little girl's jumper. 

OH GOD. 

When I got home I threw all my pride out the window and wrote a panicked whimpering email to the school. WTF IS EMMA SUPPOSED TO WEAR? WHAT DID I DO WRONG? CLEARLY I CANNOT FIGURE OUT, REQUIRE DETAILED ANNOTATED LIST, PREFERABLY WITH LINKS. 

A few hours I received an email from the school. "We are so very sorry! Pre-K IS required to wear the uniform." 

But! Pants are OK. 

You guys, I am ashamed of how stressed I got (sort of still am) this uniform thing. Everyone loves uniforms! I loved uniforms! Why was it so hard! Why didn't I just fork over the $50 per skort and jumper instead of buying the $9 navy skort from Children's Place?! That's what I get for trying to save a little money! That's what I get for assuming the papers in the information packet were correct, even when every single email I received from the school made it pretty clear that everyone wore the uniform! CLEARLY THIS IS ALL MY FAULT. (No.) (But.) (You know.) 

Really, though, there is no easier problem to throw money at. I jumped online, bought a handful of sweaters and vests and one jumper because $50 for a size 5T jumper I JUST CANNOT. The school had a used 4t skort that I could use right away and poor Emma, she's wearing it because 1) her mother needed her to be in uniform RIGHT AWAY and not wait for the jumper to arrive and 2) her mother doesn't care that it's a little tight and a little short. Pull it down below her belly, it's all good! 

We've covered early bell times and uniforms, what else? How about the PTA! You guys, not only am I on the PTA, I am on the PTA BOARD. How did that happen?! I don't know?! I volunteered to do all the newsletter/Facebooky things because, well, I can DO those things and also if I do those maybe I don't have to do anything else. But this board meeting yesterday made me realize what a poor excuse for a human being I am that I am not volunteering at school NOR DO I WANT TO. What sort of stay at home mother AM I? Everyone is so! excited! And I am all... eh. But after I finish this bit of drivel I'm going to figure out how to send HTML emails from Gmail and draw up a production schedule for sending this stuff out and can they do THAT? 

Another blog topic for another time: why, whenever I feel inferior, is my first instinct to hunt around for something in which I CAN feel superior? #poorexcuseforhumanbeing 

But you know the worst thing? And I mean worst in that it's the hardest and also MAKES me the worst? Our bathroom still isn't done (maybe by my 40th birthday?) and after I drop the kids off I can't just go home and go back to bed. BECAUSE THERE'S A DUDE IN MY BATHROOM. Hence the hiding out in a coffee shop this morning and writing to you. Otherwise you know I'd be passed out on my couch. Is there a bigger and more I-should-be-ashamed-of-myself first world problem? NO THERE IS NOT. 

Here's to hoping you are handling the transition back to school with more grace and intelligence than your trusty blogger. 

Comments

Sarahd

The thing is...if I were in your position I would probably be freaking out the exact same way. But from over here (Hi!) I'm thinking your kids' school is being kind of a dick about things and that I wish you would chill and let yourself blame other people for some of your stress because they kinda deserve it. So close your bedroom door and nap! The bathroom guy will get over it;).

Carrie

Despite laying out clothes and making lunches the night before, EVERY MORNING has consisted of whining (from me and the kids) and usually some sort of yelling between Vivian and I about why she has to wear the terrible, awful clothes that SHE PICKED the night before and today she didn't even eat breakfast because she changed clothes 4 times and then had to accessorize the new outfit. We made it to school with 1 minute to spare. And that's only because Daniel was still home and dropped us off.

Oh, and then I was in her classroom volunteering and she was so lovely and charming to her teacher and her friends even though 10 minutes before the world was against her.

Oh, and I was walking around school this morning for almost 2 hours before Vivian's teacher pointed out that I had toilet paper hanging off the back of my pants. I had seen and chatted with the principal, the office staff, another volunteer and numerous other parents. NO ONE TOLD ME FOR 2 HOURS. I am rocking early mornings.

I feel your pain. Hang in there. And if you get to the mimosa stage of life, let me know. I need a drink.

Tracy

You do NOT have to volunteer at the school. The Facebook/newsletter thing is incredibly valuable!

Start of the school year is always rough. It just is. Especially the summer nights to school mornings transition. Ugh.! I need more sleep than this.

Kyla

Oh you make me laugh. All of these things would have me on the edge, especially the uniform thing because nothing stresses me out like following the rules and then finding out I do not know the correct rules and then my little rule-following brain goes "But I did what you asked!:
Also, while doing the bathroom I constantly moaned and felt incredibly douche-y doing it. But it is hard to have strangers in your house!!!

katie

Oh Maggie! Yes! How I DESPISE LOATHE DETEST the back to school transition. This is week 3 and I still feel out of sorts. I keep trying to swallow my pride and desire to control outcomes so as not to get overly exasperated by our ever so slowly movement toward finding a new normal or some kind of rhythm. This morning I popped into morning mass at our parish and started sobbing during the communion hymn because there were zero uniform-clad school children singing -- only ancient men and little old ladies scattered throughout the pews searching the missal for the right page. Good gracious I really need to let go and move on.

Megan

1. We are nine weeks into our school year and mornings still suck and will continue to suck all year. It's a slog, two of the three of us who have to get out of the door are NOT morning people.

2. The newsletter and FB is a BIG job. Just say that out loud to yourself a lot. It's a lot. It's enough.

Jesabes

Do you know why I'm on the PFC Board and treasurer of the whole shebang? So I don't have to volunteer anywhere else!!

Also, I have found myself wanting to weep more than once since school has started because I thought I'd finally get a BREAK and I just seem so BUSY and if I'm busy that must be my fault right? I must have misplaced priorities or something. But no. It requires a lot of effort to get everything rolling.

AmyRyb

We've had a rough transition, too, if it makes you feel better. Our bus is only 15 minutes earlier, and we haven't made it even half the time. I panicked this morning when I realized the temperature was anywhere close to cool because I have not figured out what pants fit. Uniforms would probably put me over the edge and I can totally envision being in your exact spot if we had to deal with them. I'm having an issue with my son's teacher. He's in third grade and we've had so little communication from her. I have my child barking at me about signing this notebook every day or he'll lose recess time. I don't even know if we're supposed to have him reading every night, because no one has told us anything. I know it's third grade and there should be less spoonfeeding, but geez...eight-year-old boys are not the most communicative. Oh, and bedtimes got ugly during the summer, too. I have one secretly playing on the iPad long after lights out (because, uh, I don't want to get out of my chair to check on him after bedtime) and another one who is *thisclose* to outgrowing his nap so he'll be awake until at least 10pm no matter when I put him down. I was hoping school starting might get us back in a better groove, and I think it has helped a little...but I still feel discombobulated. Hang in there...it's 30 days to solidify a routine, right?

Cherie

I just yelled at my 9 year and made him cry over his homework that he refused to do. And it is 9:30 and he's still up watching America's Got Talent. Obviously a parenting fail for me tonight! Maybe tomorrow will be better. I think the newsletter/facebook thing is plenty of volunteering. If you don't want to do anymore tell them no.

K

Oh I get it! We transitioned my second and first grader to Catholic school this year (we go back mid August.) They do send home a packet a few pages long about uniforms (Land's End, no shorts recommended on Mass days, belts with shirts tucked in, solid color socks.) Stressful for a first timer but now we have got it and no more battling over clothes, I lay them out and they just dress thank goodness.

Is Emma is a new preK then and Jack and Molly still in public school? (I have 2 more in preschool and a new baby at home, it's lots of driving over here, some days I miss the bus!)

Renovations ugh. They stink but SO worth it when done.

Suzanne

Nope. Not doing better. Am eating cookie dough and candy bars as a SURVIVAL tactic because STRESS. 1) I have no idea how to even begin to fit in with the other parents 2) I am panickedly making a mess of the stay at home mom thing and wishing (kind of) that I still worked 3) E is having some transition issues and I am panicking about them and panicking about my inability to deal with them 4) ACK.

For what it's worth, I would have done exactly the same thing you did with the clothes - and then had the exact same response to the "oh actually we meant you DO need a uniform" thing. GAH.

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