It’s back to school season and parents everywhere are jumping for joy as their kids are leaving the house to be in someone else’s care for several hours a day. For working moms, it’s farewell to expensive summer camps. Pumpkin spice lattes are flying out of coffee shops and the bikini body pressures of the summer are fading away into the excitement of holiday eating right around the corner. I’ve prepared my children by stocking up on school supplies and setting earlier bedtimes and reminding one in particular to try to be less of an asshole this year to other kids. Unfortunately, I myself am off to a roaringly terrible start as I didn’t realize I needed to mentally prepare myself to get back into the swing of the school year.
I work from home and when my daughter comes in from school I am typically busy, sometimes on a call or in the middle of an email. My typical response to her entry is, “How was school today? Do you have homework?” At this stage of the year there are also countless pieces of paper coming home with information that may not affect me and solicitations for all sorts of activities that my child doesn’t want to participate in. It’s difficult to sort through all that junk mail and get to the important pages when I’m also distracted by the job that I am actually paid to do. By day three of the school year I have already gotten an information request sheet labeled 2nd REQUEST. How am I already late on parent assignments on day three? This does not bode well for the year.
I sat at the table quickly finishing the information sheet before getting the kids to bed, after which I placed the sheet on the table and ran upstairs to finish the evening. Of course this meant that I would remember the sheet at the last minute in the morning and shoving it into her backpack as we walked to the bus stop. Unfortunately, that afternoon my daughter would return home with the paper again, noting that I had forgotten to fill out the back.
What kind of parent can’t even be thorough enough to fill out the back? The sad part is that it said, in bold letters on the bottom PLEASE COMPLETE BOTH SIDES. I tried again and the paper returned one more time with highlighter in the section of check boxes that I completely missed. How can I screw up filling out a simple form? At this point the teacher likely thinks I am stupid, incompetent, illiterate, or all of the above. My child is probably now being identified as one that will need special assistance with standardized testing this year, if her mother’s support has anything to do with her learning abilities.
After three attempts at getting the form completed correctly, I resolved myself to get my shit together. I’ll count all of this as a false start and show that I am not a complete moron when I attend Back to School Night. I may even participate in the PTA and volunteer to chaperone a field trip this year. Maybe. No, that’s not the right move for me. I don’t like other people’s random kids and I’m trying to prove I am not a psychopath.
I was on time for the start of Back to School night and figured I would seem far more intelligent in person upon meeting her teacher. I’d also go visit her orchestra instructor and ask some intelligent questions and seem completely ready for the program to start.
You can imagine how deflated I felt when I waltzed into the library for the Orchestra meeting and only three women were sitting there peering at me as I seemed to have interrupted their private pow wow. I sheepishly inquired if I was in the right location for the Orchestra meeting. The most bubbly of the three informed me that I missed the Orchestra meeting as it was held before Back to School Night. Fail.
At least I believe I made a decent enough impression on her main teacher to save face from incorrectly filling out a simple form and turning it in late. I plopped into my car and drove away feeling only partially redeemed. It was then that I realized I left all of the papers with important information and my child’s online resource log in information in the classroom right on the desk. Obviously, I’ve got a lot more ground to make up. In the race for Least Together Mom of 3rd Grade… I’m winning!