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Kindergarten. It is a
right of passage for every child. You pack their little backpacks up, make them
a yummy lunch, snap that first day of school photo and send them on their way.
It's a joyous time to see your little one all grown up and ready for school.
What you don't know is that it is also a nightmare for you as the mom. No, not
because you are sending your precious baby out into the academic world. You are
now entering the school obligation and time consuming world that is elementary
Strap on your seat belts. Here are 10 reasons it's going to be a terrifying ride.
supply list came in an email tonight (yes, they come via email now).
It included all of the supply lists for grades kindergarten through fifth grade. The kindergarten list is manageable. I could buy it all online in seconds. However,
just like looking up that weird rash you have on the Internet—or jumping to the
end of a book—I skipped ahead.
Never a good idea.
I checked out the fourth- and fifth-grade supply list. There are folders. And colors. And
multiple folders in different colors. Don't get me started on the pencils,
markers and pens. What have I signed us up for?
2. Meal sign-ups.
pack a lunch or not to pack a lunch, that is the $23.50 a week
question. Do I want my son to eat a delicious and healthy meal I can monitor by
packing it for him? Or do I let him be with the "cool kids" on pizza Friday and
give him cash to spend on food, not really knowing if he will eat the fruit on the tray? Lucky for me, my son hates pizza (he's
not from this planet. Don't worry, we already know), but it still causes some
I am more than happy to provide every snack COSTCO can stock on its shelves but having to work in a classroom with 25 screaming kindergarteners is my personal nightmare.
3. After-school care
I am not a full-time, office-working mom. I am a freelancer who has to
travel sporadically. After-school care for working parents is easy. Sign your
kids up, and you are good to go. For those of us who are home most weeks, but
have to travel others, it isn't so easy. It requires research, asking questions and taking time out of the last days of summer I want to spend with my son. Now
I can't look for a full- or part-time nanny. I need a "Hey, can you watch my kid
for two hours before his dad gets home" babysitter. They don't really exist
from what I've seen.
4. Class volunteering
I didn't put my boys in a co-op preschool for a reason. I don't want to
have to volunteer. My life is chaotic, and it is hard to commit months in
advance when a freelance job might pop up. I am more than happy to provide
every snack COSTCO can stock on its shelves but having to work in a classroom
with 25 screaming kindergarteners is my personal nightmare. Can't I just stack
books in the library? Hey, now that's a great idea. I'll talk to the principal
about that one.
5. PTA meetings
Don't ask me why, but when I think of PTA meetings I think of being
strong-armed into committees and tasks I have no interest in. Maybe that third
season of Gilmore Girls stuck a bit more than I thought. Remember the episode
when Lorelei has to go to the PTA meeting so Rory can get extra graduation
tickets? Yup. I see myself as the lady who gets stuck with the cash box and
loses the money. Lots of stuffy women talking over me and telling me what I
will be doing instead of asking me. And my kid goes to public school! I guess I
should wait to judge the neighborhood school PTA until the first meeting. Oh
man, there are more meetings I have to schedule into my life now.
6. Snow days
Ahhh, snow days. You wake up in the morning all snug in your bed. You flip on the TV
with your morning coffee only to hear that the county schools are closed.
Apparently, you should have opened the window this morning and noticed that it
snowed a foot last night. Time to cancel all plans and any work you were
hoping to get done. You are back into 24/7 mom mode.
7. Birthday parties
I am not a Pinterest mom. I repeat, I am not a Pinterest mom. Do I have
Pinterest boards filled with amazing cakes I could make for my kids? Of course, what kind of mother do you take me for? Do I have the patience for any of it?
No. I choose to use my talents elsewhere. Birthday parties are the end-all-be-all of parental competition. "Guess what Zack's mom made today for his
birthday? Lego Star Wars cupcakes with real jumping Yodas she cloned in her
basement!" The bakery section of the grocery store and I made peace long ago.
I'll swallow my pride and know that I give my kids amazing things in their
childhood, just not in confectionary ways.
They ask you to donate tissues and anti-bacterial hand soap for a reason, you know.
8. Valentine's Day
Just like birthdays, I see Valentine's Day, Halloween, Easter and every
other holidays as a way to show off what a crafty
failure I am. More volunteer time goes into decorating the gym, making sure
everyone has a costume, cupcake, bag of candy or Valentine's Day card. My
mother never told me how complicated school was for her when we started. I
think she has been holding back and is ready to laugh now that I am at that
moment in my own life.
it is silly to think about germs at a time like this. My baby is about to start
kindergarten. Let's get real though. My son has been to daycare (briefly) and went
to preschool for three years. He has been exposed to germs. Kindergarten just
holds so many new germs for him to bring home and spread to us—all so we can
start that endless cycle of gross that seems to hit the first month of school for teachers, so why not my family too. They ask you to donate
tissues and anti-bacterial hand soap for a reason, you know.
Finally, after nine months in school, my kid will return home. Like the prodigal
son, I will welcome him back into my life with open arms. He will be with me 24
hours a day, seven days a week, never to leave until school starts again the following August.
Wait a minute. What am I supposed to do with him for almost three
months? Now I have to sign him up for swim classes and soccer camp, plan
vacations and arrange playdates so he can see his buddies, which he once saw
every day at school. Somehow, once again, I got the short end of the stick.