Editor’s Voice - August 2016—one of the reasons i celebrate back to school
August 02, 2016
Posted By: Shaunescy
ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY LEIGH RIPLEY
I’ve written about my office space before. It’s not actually an office; it’s a small desk in the corner of a room in my house. As I sit here today working (on my birthday, because deadlines don’t care about birthdays), I am continually distracted by the noise of my children and a few neighborhood kids ravaging my house, plowing through the pantry, running in and out, leaving every door open inviting all flying insects to move in. So I have to choose: Do I run around barking at them to clean up, put the chips away and close doors? Or do I work? Policing my children has its time and place, but on a deadline workday I think we all know the choice I’m making – to ignore it. This is one of the reasons I celebrate back to school.
Another reason? I’m not the kind of mom who needs to spend all day, every day with her children. I love my children, but I love my friends and my me-time too. I also love going to the grocery store without an entourage, going on coffee dates, watching grown-up TV and taking my Pilates class. It’s from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and, although I usually end up having to wake my posse of Rip Van Winkles every day of the summer, I’m pretty sure it’s bad parenting to leave little kids home alone, so I don’t go. And yes, I truly relish the seven hours alone, five days a week that I get to myself during the school year – unless it’s a PIR Day, a holiday, winter break, spring break or someone’s sick. Seriously, when are kids in school anymore?
By this point in the summer, I am pretty much dancing down the aisles of Walmart, Target and Staples to fill those back-to-school supply lists before it dawns on me that the school year has its drawbacks too.
Let’s start with that supply list. I am abundantly aware of the fact that our educational system is underfunded and our teachers don’t earn nearly enough, but this supply list – really? Do I honestly need to buy five boxes of #2 pencils for one child? Eight folders in various hard-to-find colors, again, for one child. Another round of #2’s for music and Spanish. When you have multiple children, you need a physics degree to try and cross-reference each very specific list to get it all done in one day at one store (that never happens). The pencils always make it back on the last day of school but the crayons, thick and thin markers, Sharpies and $15 scissors never do. Someone, somewhere is sitting on a mountain of Fiskars scissors.
The lunchroom. Our school introduced a new system last year to simplify keeping your child’s lunch account in good standing. Now when they are low on funds, you get an e-mail and simply click a button to add another $20, $40 or $60. I have three kids and I’m pretty sure I get the “Your lunch account is low,” e-mail at least once a week. I shutter at my investment in the lunchroom.
Homework. I do not remember anything from my years in school. Honestly, nothing. I’m fairly certain there is a segment of my brain that was used mainly for temporary storage during my school years and has since been emptied. Aside from Language Arts, I’m pretty much useless with homework help after the 4th grade. Hence proving to my children I am as clueless as they think I am.
PTA and Parent Council. My number one advice to people who have a J.O.B. is to stay away. Don’t even go to that mandatory coffee meeting they have every year. You’re an adult and the only thing that’s mandatory at this point in your life is jury duty – and you can even get out of that if you’re breastfeeding or have uncontrollable IBS.
Fundraisers. Yes, they’re necessary, however I often wonder if it wouldn’t be more efficient and economical to just tell parents how much to write the check for. We could save everyone a lot of time and energy.
Clubs. Everybody knows drama club, music programs and the like don’t have any money. Usually they aren’t even a line item in the budget. So again, please refer to the fundraiser idea above; just tell me how much I owe.
Now. In spite of the fact that we’ll all soon be dumbed down and broke – here’s to the kids going back to school!