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The Back to School Frenzy: Why we Need a Bro Code for Moms #BackToSchool (PART 1 of 2)

I just pulled an all-nighter. Not a partying all-nighter with friends, but a night spent staring at the ceiling with a giant ‘to-do’ list looping through my head. Eyes wide open, trapped in my worry vortex. It’s back-to-school season and I’m exhausted and frazzled.

On one hand, having my four kids back with their friends at school will be blissful. We’ve had lots of together time, traveling to the East Coast to see family and friends, sleeping in princess beds and doing laundry on the fly. Stressful travel and time changes threw a few moments of suffering our way, but it was worth all the fuss to catch up and reconnect.

My kids miss socializing with their friends when they are on a long break. When I drop the last kid off at the school curb, I celebrate. I can finally get some work done. I can have lunch with a friend and eat food that I want to eat. I can start to work out again. All the fast food, ice creams, meals out and barbeques add up. Building childhood memories is fattening and I need to lose weight. But when I’m really hungry, I lose patience more easily and end up yelling at my kids.

I’ve spent the last week getting school supplies and making sure they have the right clothes for the school dress code, PE, and sports. I was taking my daughters back-to-school clothes shopping today. They are pretty fun to shop with if they get to pick out their own clothes. My oldest daughter said, “Can I ask you a question?” She had already asked me about 167 questions and I was sure I’d been asked over 300 questions from the four kids combined.“Can Asheley sleep over? Can you pick her up? Her mom works. Can I meet some friends at the movies tomorrow and go to the beach if there is no hurricane? Can we get pesto sauce so I can make pasta to bring the first day?” She doesn’t wait for answers. I want her to enjoy her last moments before school, but her proposed agenda times four kids makes me start to clutch the wheel and sweat. Her sister wants her friend to come over for two days of swimming, Dave and Busters and hide and seek. My son is all-in on bowling and reminding me that he is absolutely the only eighth grader in his school or on this planet for that matter who is not allowed to see rated ‘R’ movies. My other son’s club basketball started and there is practice or a game every day in all different parts of the city.

My kids claim I force them to go to summer school, tennis, running and basketball camps and National Geographic expeditions. They insinuate I stole their summer and owe them these last moments of fun. I want to yell, “It’s for your own good and I had to pay for it and get you there with the thousand pounds of gear you needed!” But I have to remain the bigger person, at least until I get them to the school gates.

Thank goodness for my mom friends. We all have slightly different versions of the same stories. We get together and we vent. This is the cleanse diet for stress. I can’t really vent to my husband or he gets out some random power tool ready to fix something, or makes the colossal mistake of saying, “You always overschedule them. You need to cut this out.”

Click here for Part 2

Eileen Wacker, a Harvard Business School graduate, lived and worked in seven different countries, including the United States. She commuted to Asia for nearly three years as part of a business development team, which sparked her interest in Asian culture, then lived in Seoul Korea for four years. Wacker now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her husband and four children, one of whom is a daughter adopted from China. She wrote the Mom’s Code, which includes over 100 stories from women around the globe about raising kids in today’s challenging arena. She is also a passionate and involved advocate for children’s literacy. For more information please visit her new website: