As a mom, a teacher, and the youngest of three children myself, I like to tell people what to do. It’s my thing. I spew my back-to-school wisdom, offering tips, tricks, and time-savers to get all members of your family out the door relatively unmurdered every back-to-school season.
This year, I’m calling hooey on myself.
I can offer you advice until penne alla vodka doesn’t smell like vomit (read: forever —penne alla vodka smells exactly like vomit and always will), but I follow this garbage advice myself for a week — tops:
Lay out the week’s outfits on shelves labeled Monday–Friday? Hogwash!
Prep and freeze meals on weekends? Horsefeathers!
Hire a cleaning lady? I don’t want to have to clean my house to make it presentable enough for a cleaning lady!
Therefore, this year, in the spirit of being vulnerable, honest, and forty, I present Lies Moms Tell Themselves at Back-to-School Time:
- “I will start healthy habits once summer is over.” There is some nonsense about getting back into a routine that also makes me think I should add the pressures of “diet” and “exercise.” Like having oodles less time is the perfect opportunity to fit four sessions of aerial yoga into my week. Nope.
- “I am going to pack lunches at night.” Friends, I barely have enough energy to pry open a box of wine and lift the remote to turn on Bachelor in Paradise. I mean, I find the energy, but not all heroes wear capes. Lunches will have to wait.
- “I am going to allow myself the freedom to buy Lunchables without guilt.” With straws being public enemy number one right now, my money says they’re coming for Loaded Lunchables and all of their glorious disposability next. Don’t get too comfortable.
- “I will make sleep a priority.” Once my kids are in bed and all the annoying young stars of YouTube have gone with them, I allow myself to fall into a beautiful, reruns-of–Golden Girls lull where there’s no homework and no demands. The next thing I know, it’s midnight. Even if it means a groggy morning, I am not willing to let it go.
- “It’s the perfect time to formulate a plan.” Once routine sets in and I’m feeling relatively competent, I inevitably fall into the “stop dreaming, start planning” trap — every … single … year. You know what I’ve come to accept? Life is already good! I’m livin’ the dream, baby (unless, of course, I can plan my way into a reality show where Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum reconcile and I’m their spunky next-door neighbor).
Sometimes we need to can the tips and tricks. Just accept that no pile of clever Pinterest ideas can possibly make getting kids to school easy or peaceful or simple every day. If anyone tells you differently, remind them that Martha Stewart’s own daughter wrote a tell-all book about her crappy childhood.
We are doing just fine.