Monday, August 1, 2016

First Day of School Jitters

Guest Blogger 
By Kenna McHugh

"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework." 

- Lily Tomlin as "Edith Ann"

So, I have the jitters knowing that the first day of school is just a few weeks away. My eldest is going to be a junior in high school, and my son will be in fourth grade with even more homework compared to his earlier years. I am under pressure to tow the line.

School and parenting for a junior in high school will be a roller coaster ride that I’ll never get off. My daughter and I are heading toward a more hectic, fragmented, and demanding life than ever before.  Her college search process begins for real, as does the pressure of getting good grades, trying to champion SAT tests, and disentangle herself from the masses of other qualified high school students trying to get into the same colleges and universities. It’s not just the academic pressure, she’ll have dance rehearsals every day after school, and swim team practice with an in between dash home for dinner and hours of homework.

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We will no longer have the carefree mornings of summer. Instead, my kids will wake up tired and anxious by the haste of getting out of bed, fed, prepared, and off to carpool in time for class. Even though the school year hasn’t started yet, I ache for July mornings when all I do is worry about getting myself out of bed, fed, dressed, and to work. The joy of simply sipping my coffee as I organize my day in our quiet house while my kids slumber until mid-morning. 

No more leisurely evenings. Instead, I will be grabbing a quick bite between picking kids up from baseball practice and dance rehearsals, flipping flash cards for test questions, or proofreading essays and school papers. If I am not driving or helping my son with his common core math, I won’t be the good cop in the neighborhood, patrolling screen time so my kids are doing their homework not texting or showing photos on Snapchat.

I am trying to be optimistic, but it isn’t easy with the overall importance of grades, baseball tryouts, and making dance production. The strained nerves of my daughter being consumed by the social pressures of school. Not to mention my youngest announcing at ten o’clock at night he has a science project due the next morning and needs my help.

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What can I do to be optimistic about this coming school year?  I know my kids come first, and then it is my time. With the 5 – 6 hours during the day that I have to myself and work, I am going to take an hour and do something for me - like exercise.  Exercise is a great stress reliever.
When my kids stress out and can’t sleep at night. I will give them B-1 and B-5, both are great for handling stress, turning the mental thoughts off, and helping the body sleep.

And, I will look back when they are all grown up, and yearn for the first day of school because there are pleasurable moments in school, and my kids won’t be home anymore. The house will feel empty.

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