I spent last week kinda losing my mind. The week before school can do that to any parent from what I hear. I’m so glad I’m not alone. It happens every year, and yet I still feel completely bombarded and caught off guard. It’s always the same stress, same worries, same work. Some years are harder, like this one. My kids are both going into new schools: Middle School and High School. Yeah. Tough stuff. But one thing’s for sure, no matter the year or the changes in schools and grades-The relaxing summer days daze abruptly shifts to the dizzying fury of nonstop preparations for the school year.
I spent the week roaming through new hallways of new schools for hours, searching for room numbers and watching my kids try their locker combinations over and over again. I have stood in long lines to pick up schedules, get photo ID’s, complete sign-up forms, pay school fees, and do allthingsschoolrelated. I have sat in orientations, gone back to the schools to yet again walk the halls to find each class so my children feel assured of not getting lost on the first day. I’ve communicated with countless teachers, coaches, and staff who will be running the educational show for the coming year.
I have devoted an enormous amount of time trying to log into the “Parent Portal” for Power School, which gives parents access to all the school forms we need to sign and submit. Well, I don’t use this wonderful high tech modality but rather prefer the paper variety, which explains why I had no idea what my username and password was. I did not have the paper option this year. Umph.
And the consequence of this forced new territory was hours of my time lost. Hours at home trying it on my own. Hours at school waiting for assistance and working through the mystery that ultimately aged me five years. The realization came on hour five: They found two different accounts for my kids- neither of which I knew about or had the correct user name and password.
I spent even more hours sorting through and completing forms and applications for my kids’ school sports, then calling for last-minute physical appointments to get allthingssportsrelateddocforms completed.
I have collected piles of old clothes with holes and outgrown items in need of replacing. I have taken my kids to stores for socks, shoes, shirts, and shorts- because that’s what you do when your kids grow like weeds with summer’s sunshine, activities, rest and the exorbitant amount of nourishment they apparently needed. I’ve sifted through school supply lists, class needs, teacher requests, and home supplies and stocked up all the necessary items for all.
On top of all this- Both my kids have started fall sports practices throughout the week, and one kid needs rides to work two times a day.
And this is what parents do. ALL of us.
And I feel like I am barely making it.
I often expect that because I work from home with flexible hours, I surely should have all these things under control- neatly organized and in perfect time. But I have nothing under control and I’ve done nothing in perfect time.
I forgot to pay the school fees for one school.
I didn’t even think to make physical appointments for my kids in sports.
I have pit stains from the anxiety and breakouts from the stress.
My car runs on empty, and so do I.
This new transition has been a fast and hard, emotionally paved road to Middle School and High school-so it’s a pretty big year. I’m still processing this big stuff. It seems so- well, BIG. Much like the kids in these schools who will be roaming the same halls as my little babes.
But here’s the thing…
During the whirlwind week, all I kept thinking about as I dropped my kids off at practice and work and ran to the next thing- All I kept seeing as I ran around town with my head spinning and my kids spinning faster- All I kept wondering about as I sorted through endless paperwork and navigated online usernames and passwords- All I kept considering as I wandered the hallways in search of classroom numbers and watching my kids spin that lock combination over and over again- All I kept saying to myself when I was at the schools, the doctor offices, the sports practices, the stores was this:
“How the heck do full-time working parents do this?”
So if you are a full-time working parent, I just want to say that I am amazed at how you do what you do.
I see you at the orientations, standing in the lines and walking the halls of the schools. I see you sitting at the cafeteria tables filling out the school forms, paying the school fees, and looking at the schedule with your child. I see you waiting at the doctor offices, and walking the aisles of the stores, filling your cart with school supplies. I see you at the checkout lines with your kids’ new socks, shoes, shirts, and shorts. I see you dropping your kids off at practices, at work, and picking them up too. I see you and I wonder…
“How the heck do you do it all?”
I am barely getting by. My house is a mess, my sink is filled with filthy water-soaked dishes, the laundry is in massive piles downstairs and I believe one load has been in the washer since Monday. I barely made it to get gas in my car and I still have prescriptions to pick up, and we are out of milk and eggs- two necessities that haven’t gone unnoticed. I thank God for frozen food on a daily basis.
So I’m sharing all this to say that all you full-time working parents are my superheroes, my rockstars, my inspiration, and my conviction. You do it all. You manage to do all that I do, in addition to working 8-10 hour days.
And your kids are pretty darn incredible too.
I don’t know if this is the right way to say it. I just know that I have been thinking about you a lot this past week, and I am amazed at all you do and from one parent to another- I applaud you.
I can only guess that you might be losing your minds too…
So hang in there, working parents. You got this. And know that there are other parents watching you and they think you are doing a damn good job.