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First Week of School

Guest Blogger By Kenna McHugh

For the past week or so, I have been doing everything in my power to have a smooth transition from ending summer vacation as my kids start the new school year. All of it is challenging, but getting through this first week feels like an enormous achievement, and I give myself a jumping high-five.

We’ve made it through those endless shopping trips to purchase school supplies, “What we have to go to back to Target, again!”

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Let’s face it, the first week of school is stressful for both me and my kids. There are totally different schedules and schools to keep track of. There’s paperwork, permission ships, and syllabuses to read and sign.I am one of those parents who actually reads everything before I sign it. “What does this mean…’the Science teacher may request your child to remove his or her contact lens’?” “I don’t know. I am not removing my contacts for anybody,” answers my sixteen-year-old daughter. “Why do I read this stuff?” I ask myself.

So, the ritual begins where I need to make sound judgments and not rash decisions about what the teachers and the schools are or are not doing. Clearly, my daughter doesn’t want me to be a Mama Drama. She jumps to her feet, “Oh please, no emails. Don’t worry about it mom. I am sure it is just a safety precaution.”

“Mom is sending emails already?” asks my son.

“No, I am not sending any emails, yet. I am just trying to understand these syllabuses. They get more and more complicated each year.”

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Now, my son is bringing home syllabuses from his P.E. and Art teachers. He is only in fifth grade. I have so many things to keep track of like donations for art supplies and volunteer hours at P.E. testing. Not to mention each school has different holidays and bell schedules. Then, there is the idea that other moms somewhere and somehow are managing all this quite well.

So this year I am taking a different approach. I am throwing in the towel. I am stepping back a bit and trusting the schools, teachers, and my kids more, and so far, it is working.

Just a week, but this time I will do my best not to make waves or butt heads with their guidelines and teaching methods. Still, I will keep my ear to those classes I have concerns about, like the English teacher who spews psycho-mumbo-jumbo as a learning method and has a neurotic daughter, who is 18 and is still a sophomore in high school.

I am not emailing. I am letting my daughter deal with it. “Don’t send an email mom. I want to stay on good terms with her, so if I ever need it, she’ll bump up my grade.”

I need to stop harping on myself and being overly concerned about my children’s education. They are both bright, well-mannered kids with high GPAs. I need to concentrate on the good work they are doing because the results are two very awesome kids who are learning to be more independent each year as they grow into responsible adults.