Why should back to school be all about the kids? They’re the ones with the new wardrobes, fresh backpacks full of crisp supplies and their whole lives ahead of them. Meanwhile, getting thrown back into a schedule full of obligations and early mornings is a heaping helping of whiplash for the entire household. (Even the members who didn’t have the luxury of dedicating the last few months to perfecting the underwater handstand and chasing down ice cream trucks.)
If you really want to get the year off to a stellar start, it’s time to approach this a little differently.
From the prep, right on through the post drop off, here’s how to make the first day of school a total success. For you.
The night before
The trick here is to prep as many things ahead of time as you possibly can. Hell, if my kid didn’t get the willies from sleeping with socks on, he’d put on clean ones before bed so I wouldn’t be tempted to die on that hill the next morning. Pack lunches, prepare backpacks, and lay out their clothes all the way down to the shoes. When they finally go to bed, it should look like a rapture happened right there in their room.
Check your stock of coffee and coffee related accoutrements. Obviously this is some amateur level prep, but listen, I’ve seen worse things happen to better people. This may be one of the most important mornings of the year to have your coffee needs met, so don’t just assume you’re stocked. Confirm. Set it up so that in the morning either it’s awake before you are, or will be with the press of a button.
The big morning
Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than it needs to be. There is a time vacuum that occurs when getting kids off to school and it pays to get ahead of it. Seriously.
Hide the screens. Absolutely no distractions to slow down the process of getting these people out of your house. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine wakes up late and scrambles to get a guest who’s overstayed his welcome to the airport on time? THERE’S NO TIME FOR GAMES. BUSINESS ONLY.
If making a special first day of school breakfast is important to you, by all means, have at it. But if you haven’t already mastered pancake art, for godsakes, don’t be a hero. Save that nonsense for a Sunday morning, scramble some eggs and call it a day.
Once they’re off, consider some of these options:
- Go get more coffee. At a coffee shop. Where you can blissfully sit alone and do whatever the hell you want. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Stare, unblinkingly out the window and collect your thoughts for the first time in 3 months.
- Book a massage. Or a pedicure. Or a haircut. (Anything but a dentist appointment. You deserve better than that.)
- If drinking in the morning were truly frowned upon, then why did God invent the mimosa? The absolute best first school days have been the ones where my friends and I all gleefully convene at one designated location to toast a new year, drown the kindergarten moms tears in alcohol and gluten and congratulate each other on not killing any of our offspring during the break.
- Head straight to work if that’s what your schedule dictates, but do so wrapped in the comfort that this week (and the next 40ish to follow) won’t be costing you eleventy billion dollars in camp tuition.
- Go home, and crawl back into bed, free of guilt.
- Read a book in the sunshine. And then eat ice cream for lunch. Answer to no one.
- Schedule a breakfast date with someone you’ve really been missing.
Only 179 more school days until summer vacation!
written by Sara Goldstein, writer at Parent.Co