Back to School Blues
6 reasons why I’m singing the back to school blues ...
I’m singing the back-to-school blues – but it’s not what you think. I’m not one of those moms who wants to be around her kids 24/7 and dreads when they go back to school. In fact, now that summer is over, I’m thrilled that I no longer have to listen to my two boys fight with each other or rouse them from their screen-induced coma and force them outside to inhale some fresh oxygen.
Nevertheless, as happy as I am that school is back in session, it does bring its share of hassles that drive me crazy.
1. Supply lists
I agree that teachers are underpaid and education is underfunded. I don’t mind chipping in for classroom supplies of tissues and hand sanitizer so my kids don’t haul home some awful virus from school and infect the whole family. However, the level of detail that goes into these lengthy, very specific supply lists borders on insanity. One teacher required an oddly sized notebook that even Office Max didn’t carry. I could have hunted down a signed, first-edition of Goodnight Moon quicker than I found this 10” x 12” spiral notebook.
2. Fundraisers, field trips and food service accounts, oh, my!
I need a full-time job just to pay for the onslaught of wallet-draining expenses in a typical school year. From art supplies and field trips to lunch accounts and fundraisers, school fees add up quicker than a two-year cell phone contract. And when schools do have fundraisers, why don’t they sell things that parents might actually use, like a Wine of the Month Club?
3. Crazy-early start times I could almost hear the collective snore of my neighbors when we leave the house for school at 7:00 am.
4. Pictures What photography think-tank got together to price these portrait packages and write and design an order form only Sherlock Holmes can decode? The cheapest package, which includes 24 fingernail-size photo stickers that I will never use, a photo magnet and 2 3”x5” photos, costs $28. I can literally get a 20”x30” poster at Costco for $9.99. And the order form is like a shell game, leaving parents bewildered with confusing-but-similar options that require a Ph.D. in logic to figure it out the differences between packages.
5. Drop-off/pick-up lanes
From the get-there-first parents who park in the carpool line two hours before school lets out to the parents who double-park their cars, block all thru-traffic and run into the front office “for just a sec,” this free-for-all drop-off/pick-up process simply stinks on all levels.
In 6th grade, when my son weighed about 80 pounds, his backpack weighed 22 pounds – about the size of a small toddler. Throw in a jacket, umbrella and lunchbox and the kid practically tipped over in a gentle breeze.
So, while I’m thrilled with hours of uninterrupted writing time on weekdays, these public school hassles are almost enough to make me yearn for summer break ... Almost.