School Daze

It’s that wonderful sad busy time of year again, when the carefree days of summer make way for back-to-school structure and purpose.  Some of you may be personally experiencing this phenomenon with your own children for the very first time.  You may be feeling lost or lonely, scared or overwhelmed about your baby leaving the nest and starting pre-school or Kindergarten.  You may be shell-shocked at the expense of new school clothes and supplies, and worn out from all the preparation.  Well, here’s some advice.  Just sit back for a moment with a cup of coffee, enjoy the temporary silence, and let me gently burst your bubble.  This is as easy as it’s ever gonna get.  It’s all downhill from here.

First of all, we’ll talk about the expense.  Yes, Jr. will need new clothes and glue sticks, pencils and a backpack.  But you can probably still pick these out yourself.  Your kids are probably still excited at the prospect of getting anything new, and they will not roll their eyes at everything you show them.  No doubt, unless you’ve hopelessly spoiled them already, you can still buy nice bargain items at your local K-Mart, Wal-Mart or Target.  Pretty soon, the little darlings will be tainted by their peers, convinvced that it’s not what they wear, but how much it costs, that will make them one of the cool kids.  You’ll have to buy backpacks as pricey as luggage with lifetime guarantees, but you will still need to replace them every year because “everyone will remember that was the one they had last year.”  You will have to spend a mortgage payment on each one of them for jeans with pre-ripped holes, shoes they need to scuff up before they wear them, and shirts valued only for the brand name written on them.  Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

You may be busier than usual with some open houses and getting the kiddies off to school on time.  But very soon, you will be sucked into a vortex of never-ending activity.  Your kids will be persuaded to join things, like Scouts and Little League.  They have people that come into the schools and convince your kids they’re not busy enough with just homework and video games.  You’ll have to go to meetings.  Then the real fun starts.  You may yourself get sucked into a variety of committees and positions (some familiar examples: coach, asst. coach, scout leader, homeroom mother, party helper, treasurer, secretary, etc.) by other glassy-eyed eager parents looking for a sucker reasonably responsible person to “get involved” with the kids.  You will naively believe them when they say it will take no more than about an hour a week and they just need help for this year.  Five years later, you will be running from meeting to meeting, planning events and hauling your kids around to umpteen activities, desperately seeking for someone as naive happy to get involved as you were to take over your duties.

By high school, you may be able to extricate yourself from the PTA meetings and dance monitor duties.  But then your kids will have found new activities.  You won’t be required to actually hang around with your kids.  In fact, they’ll probably pretend they don’t even know you.  You just have to discreetly get them there and quietly drop them off and pick them up.  Your summer will suddenly be shortened by several weeks by band and/or sports camps.  You will probably have to get up at the crack of dawn to transport your little darlings to their various destinations.  Then you’ll have to pick them up at the most inconvenient times, especially if you work at a normal type of job.  Football camp was nice because they throw a lot more money at the football program, so they kept your kid all day and actually fed them.  This was great for us parents smart enough not to volunteer to be there providing the food for the camp.  But once football season starts, you make up for this when you have to start running them to doctors appointments to mend broken bones and torn shoulders.

You get used to eating on the run trying to make everybody’s games and concerts.  You spend more money trying to feed the family at the concession stands because nobody’s home to eat.  At times, it’s even a whole lot of fun.  I just think you all should know, though.  Enjoy the few hours of peace and quiet you have now.  If you still have some little ones at home, spend some good quality time with them.  You’re in for one busy ride.

14 Responses to “School Daze”

  1. 1 Tammy August 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    LOL! I laughed out loud when I read the part of the PTO meetings. That was my line to rope parents in this year….”You can donate as much or as little time as you needed”….ahhaah!

    Love it!

  2. 3 Cyndi August 26, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    That was hilarious! I’m somewhere in between. I deal with the activities and sports but never got sucked into volunteering for any committee. I go on the occasional field trip when I have time off work. I’m not quite to the point of buying designer clothes, but shoes are of the utmost importance already. After my 6th grader’s first day at middle school yesterday he announced that he wants a girlfriend. Today, an 8th grader who has clearly flunked a couple grades because he’s almost as big as my husband punched my 6th grader in the arm. Oh, and they are supposed to be bus-seat mates for the entire year. I do long for the relative peace of kindergarten and am not looking forward to when they are embarrassed to be seen with me. 😦

  3. 5 enchantedflutterby August 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Only a girlfriend? Wow… I know 12 and 13 year old girls that their parents want to put them on birth control aready. I have so much that I could complain about when it comes to these topics seeing so many kids come through the daycare… All I will say is enjoy them now and for as long as you can. The day comes too soon that they will be getting married and moving out.

  4. 7 robinaltman August 26, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    That was hilarious! So damn true! I run for the hills when I see a pleasant looking person who I sort of know through my kids looking at me hopefully (and perhaps a bit mournfully). It can’t be good. I’m trying to figure out a way to weasel out of working the snack bar for some soccer games, but I think I’m doomed.

  5. 8 "J" August 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    haha you dont want us to move out mom.. AND i agree about the torn shoulders not being too much fun ha

  6. 9 Tammy August 27, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Evil, scheming recruiter….I think I am going to add that to my resume. LOL…I wish I could blog about the latest PTSO happenings….spent 4 hours with two other moms tonight (with wine & beer of course) trying to figure out how to address some inappropriate issues between principal & parents. I get to handled it as PTSO prez…yeah me! I am just trying to milk some leads….er ummmm…bridge the gap between home & school life therefore enhancing my childs education…..I AM SO BUZZED!!! LOL

  7. 10 Peldyn August 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Lucky me, last child (my nephew) is a senior. I managed to escape all school responsibilities by being bedridden for most of last year and since I just had another surgery in June I can scrape by with doing very little this year again *smug look* I love lazing at the games and having everyone around help me. It is nice not to have to work the concession stands anymore or do the fund raisers or be on any more boards! Yay! And this. is. the. last. year. No more children at home! Of course this child is a pain in the butt and had a fit this afternoon because his new cellphone was not in the mail. As if I could make the postal service deliver it to him any faster. If he keeps it up it will be MY new cell phone!

    • 11 les@mamaneeds2rant August 28, 2009 at 7:22 pm

      Haha! Hear that, Tammy? Peldyn has a scheme for getting around you BUZZING recruiters. Wow. I should have faked some kind of surgery. And just because they’re off to college doesn’t mean they’re still not a pain in the butt. I’ll probably have more on that in a later blog–but at least I’m done with the damn concession stands!!

  8. 12 Tammy September 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Just one day after I commented on this post I experienced a PTSO/PTA NIGHTMARE!!!! I considered writing a post on my blog but I think at least one of the moms reads it so I am taking the easy way out and posting it here since it was a topic of conversation.

    As PTSO president, I planned the first ever back to school bash for my sons elementary school. I coordianted to have multiple water slides, a dunk tank to dunk the teachers, music, and food vendors. The event was not meant to be a fundraiser, however the food vendors would donate a portion (10-20%) of the proceeds back to the school. I thought this was a great because it helped reduce the number of volunteers we would need and allow more families to enjoy the event.

    The event was met with skeptism. It was the most successful turn-out we have had at any of our events. Despite the heat, tons of kids, parents & teachers flooded the field for a good time. Smiles were everywhere, I heard no complaints all evening.

    At the end of the evening, the hot dog vendor approached me and said he sold $500 worth of hot dogs and he would donate $50. Fine. Evidently everyone was expecting more money. Rather than approaching me (which I am very approachable) the entire group huddled then gave me the cold shoulder not talking to me even when I spoke directly to them. Nobody talked to me and they were all shuffling around pissed off.

    I had been outside setting up, by myself in the heat, since 2:30 that afternoon. We finished cleaning up at 8:00 pm. No one said a word about how successful the event was instead they decided to latch on to this hot dog issue (which was not even an issue).

    The group acted like children and hypocrytes. Just 3 days before this event two of the people had told the group at our meeting that we need to be more positive so we can get more volunteers. HA!

    As I was walking out to my car, EXHAUSTED, two of the ladies were behind me chatting. I lost it. I told them it was disappointing that the first thing people focused on was the fact they thought we did not make enough money even though the event was not a fundraiser. I told them it was frustrating that they decided to give me the cold shoulder rather than stepping up and telling me so I could handle the issue in person with the vendor or them bringing it up directly to the vendor. One of the women is such a bitch to me now. I was SOOO tired & frustrated I nearly handed in my resignation that night.

    What pissed me off even more was that within 30 minutes of arriving home I started getting emails & text messages from these women congratulating me and saying what great event it was. They were publicly covering thier asses because of course they were sending the messages to everyone.

    This is exactly why people do not volunteer.

    How do these people handle themselves professionally? Sad!

    What upsets me the most, is if I quit the PTSO it will be uncomfortable to attend events which is important to my son. He loves being attending school functions.

    Our next meeting in on the 8th, I am trying to figure out how I want to handle what happened. Do I take the high road and not mention it or do I call these people out and make a point to say something???

    Thanks for letting me hijack your post for a moment!!!

    • 13 les@mamaneeds2rant September 2, 2009 at 2:58 pm

      Oh, Tammy. That sucks. People really do not appreciate how much work goes into all that stuff but they’re always ready to criticize. Not everyone gets involved for the same reasons you and I do. Sometimes it’s just a big power thing, or a chance to act like they can do things better (but usually these are the ones that never take the full responsibility). IF I were you, I would take the high road JUST BECAUSE then it won’t look like you’re down at their level, and they won’t know for sure they bugged you as much as they did. First, at the next meeting, I would pointedly thank the ones that gave you some real help, then I would say how glad you were that the BACK-TO-SCHOOL bash went so well and that the KIDS seemed to have a good time (since that was the main reason for having it).
      We always took votes on everything so no one could come back to blame any one person. I’d want to get revenge, but don’t make it obvious. Corner the back-stabbers into chairing some event no one else really wants to do. I’m sure you’re persuasive. Do it in the middle of a meeting so they’ll look really bad wheedling out of it. I wouldn’t quit if I were you, at least not because of them!
      That’s just my thoughts, Tammy. I’m sure you’ll do what’s best for you.

  9. 14 Cyndi September 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Oh Tammy, this sums up EXACTLY why I don’t volunteer. I agree with Les about taking the high road, provided that none of them start complaining about it at the next meeting. If you enjoy volunteering, I wouldn’t quit. If you don’t, then I would quit. If you do quit, it may be awkward for you to attend functions but it won’t be awkward for your son. And really, why would it be awkward anyway, did you have to sign your name in blood as a lifer or something (I’ve secretly always suspected that this was the case with PTA)? 🙂

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August 2009

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