Friday, August 16, 2013

Why So Excited For "Back to School"?

We are quickly approaching that time of year where summer is winding down and those with appropriately-aged kids prepare to head back to school.  This always saddens me.  Yes, when I was younger I looked forward to starting school again & seeing my friends, some of which I didn't see all summer, but I was always sad to see summer go.

And now as a parent I'm even sadder.  These lazy days of cuddles and sunshine and swimming and grand adventures will come to a close as we start the hustle & bustle of required schedules.  Of course the cuddles & adventures won't go anywhere, but we will have somewhere to be at set times and my daughter will be away from me for several hours of the day.  And while I know it is important for her to function in a world without me on her own, I miss her when she's gone, and I don't like that we can't do whatever the day brings us to.

And we're just in preschool here!  I'm really not looking forward to Kindergarten where she will be away from me the whole day, every day.  I'm actually dreading it.  Yes, I can let go and let them do their own things but I don't like being away from them - I miss them when I'm not around them.

So it is hard for me to understand the parents that get super excited about "Back to School" time.  They celebrate and can't wait until it's here, as though having to spend 3 months with their own children is some kind of torture.  And the commercials are appalling...parents literally jumping around and cheering while their less than enthused offspring roll their eyes or look sad in the background.  I have the same reaction as the kids in those commercials & ads - Disgust.  Sadness.

I understand that children can be exhausting and that sometimes we ALL need a break from them.  And I really hope that is what these parents are meaning - that they just need a break and are a little stressed-out.  Because if anyone is really that excited to be rid of their children then I have to ask why you bothered to have them in the first place?  And some people fare better when on a strict schedule, especially with kids, so I'm hoping that these parents are just happy to get back into a more regular routine.  I am not and will never be one of those people - I loathe schedules, having to be somewhere at a set time, and determining every minute of every day in advance. I like to feel the day out & see where it takes us and have it open so we can choose to do things on a whim. But that's me and not everyone can live like that, so my hope is that these overjoyed parents are just happy to have a routine back.  I hope.

But not only that - I like being around my kids (most of the time)!  I like doing things with them and seeing their little faces and expressions and excitement as they learn and discover and experience new things.  I like being with them when they have these experiences and seeing it myself.  I like being a part of their world.  It is not a burden to have them home with me or to be "forced" to entertain them as other parents feel they are.  There are tons of parents out there who WISH they could be home with their kids all the time but can't because they are forced to work.  I am taking my time home with them as a gift and I am trying to enjoy every last minute of it because I know it's not forever.  If I could wrap this all up in a package and keep them toddlers forever I would.  And as September approaches and I know that school will begin again, I am saddened to think that that means less time with my baby girl.

More to point, the notion that your children are nothing but an inconvenience to you saddens me.  The idea that you are so happy to be rid of them disgusts me.  I don't understand people who desire to get away from their kids so much.  I know a lot is said out of jest and for comic relief - at least I hope it is.  But think of the message you're sending to your children when you say that, even if it is just for laughs  You're literally telling them that you don't want them around and that you'd rather have someone else deal with them.  You're telling them that they have somehow made you dislike them, that have have done something to make you not want to be around them anymore.  That they are so awful that you're actually celebrating their departure.  That might not be what you mean or your true feelings, but that's how they're going to take it.  That is not fair to any child.  None of them should feel like their parent doesn't want them around.  Is any joke worth the kind of damage that could do to them?

Believe me, I understand stress.  I understand needing a break.  I understand feeling like you're going crazy and that the kids are making you that way.  I really do.  So take a break.  Get a baby-sitter and go out with the girls/guys.  But don't take it out on your kids, especially not for the sake of a joke.  I for one would be very happy if these ads stopped showing up.  You can still advertise for school supplies without making the kids the butt of the joke.