Back-to-school: week one was HARD and thats okay

Is anyone else wrecked?

If on the Friday evening of the most widely anticipated back-to-school week in history, you were sitting feet-up, house clean, kids snoozing dreamily and self-cheers-ing with a 95-calorie hard-seltzer, we cannot be friends…

I need to know there are other mums out there who have cried more than once this week and are also rocking some ‘cool purple eyeshadow’ under their eyes (my 6-year-old complimented me on mine this afternoon) as they pour yet ANOTHER irregular-sized glass of €6.99 vintage from Lidl. 

This first week back at school was every bit as challenging as I expected. On Friday morning, madame cried heavily about the fact that ‘show-and-tell’ was no longer a thing. Apparently, the current coronavirus restrictions permit only the ‘tell’ portion. ‘Show’ is the best part of ‘show and tell’ (obviously) thus rendering the activity redundant. My daughter was devastated and was not going to school in protest. When I finally convinced her that no show-and-tell did not equal the apocalypse, we arrived to school at the same time as her best friend, who was clearly also rebelling having refused to wear her uniform.​

The first day was fine of course, the anticipation was enough to coax most of them in without hassle. As parents, we collectively decided to make school seem like an experience of a lifetime, not-to-be-missed. We talked it up during those weeks leading up to September, to make the transition easier. By the second day, however, our kids realised that school meant they would no longer be spending every waking moment with mum and dad. That the endless attention they had enjoyed over the last six months, was now gone. ​

As the dust settles, we must face what will be a solid month of moulding our little ones back into society. To convince them their lives are better without us once again. This will not be easy. Don’t get me wrong – I am delighted to be working without an audience for the first time in 6 months. It was blissful to drop her off on that first day while she was skipping through the gates, bless her 100% cotton socks from Penney’s. However, this step further into the new world is posing challenges of its own. It’s impossible to know how our kiddos feel, no matter how ‘emotionally intelligent’ or ‘articulate’ we think they are. There will be tears and tempers and tantrums.

The important thing to remember is that it is okay to be exhausted. To flop on the couch and rest as much as you can before the new week begins. You don’t need to be dealing splendidly with back-to-school this year. We are all allowed to bitch and rant and do whatever it is we need to do, to cope.

Good luck on week two, mums and dads!

With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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