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Aug 26, 2014

Things My Children Will Have To Do Without This School Year

Ah yes, late August. Those weeks when you start to really notice that the days are getting shorter. The mornings are cooler. Christmas and Halloween are sharing space at Costco. You are faced with the realization that your summer bucket list will go largely unfulfilled - again - and vow to lower your expectations next year. There was really never enough time to do all that stuff anyway, or so you tell yourself.

I think that for a lot of parents the last week before school starts is mostly bittersweet. I mean, on one hand someone else will have to entertain your kids all day, but on the other the start of a new school year means that winter is really just around the corner. It's back into routine and rushing around from work to school to activities and back again. You've been enjoying the sunshine and now it's back into the tunnel. Someday you hope to see light.

I remember absolutely LOVING back to school when I was younger. I liked summer enough, but I spent most of my days reading anyway (I know - lame). I am still enamored with clean notebooks. Back-to-school shopping always meant a trip to the city to get supplies and new clothes. We came home for lunch so there were no pretty lunch boxes to buy. If my Mom was stressed about it at all, it was more because she was a teacher and had her own stuff to get ready. On the first day of school we got ready, someone took a picture and we were on our way.  

Now, though. I struggle with expectations, both my own and others'. I don't think anyone really knows what's going on anymore. All of a sudden getting ready for school to start has become this huge event. Is it a milestone, sure. But the level of intensity to which some people are taking their preparations for back-to-school is ridiculous, and the degree to which the media feeds into it is getting out of hand. So despite whatever disapproving, pitiful looks I might get from other Moms or how hard-done-by my kid might feel when "everybody else" has something that he doesn't, here are a few things that my kids will have to do without this school year:

1. Bento Box Lunches

Now I am sure that 85% of the Moms who use Bento boxes do so because it's an easy way to ensure that their kids bring the "litterless lunch" that we are implored to pack for our children. If your child's lunch box contains one of those pre-packaged Goldfish snack packs instead of a perfect portion in a reusable pouch then not only are you giving the finger to the environment, you are also disobedient. You rebel you!

So while I have bought the reusable sandwich bags (I go through too many Ziplocs), there is no way on God's green earth that I will ever do something like this:

 Or this:
I took a bit of a risk and showed these pictures to my kids. Thankfully, not all children are eager to eat Bambi or blue bread. I sincerely admire this woman's talent, but learning how to make Disney characters out of food is not on my immediate To Do list. And if my kids don't like to eat olives, making them look like Bambi's eyes isn't going to help.

2. A Personalized Pencil Case 

Or personalized anything really. Personalizing something just prevents it from being passed down or passed along. It can be expensive and you're better off buying a sheet of labels that you can use for all the things. 

Even if I wanted this pencil case, it does not meet the requirements on the school supply list, so....

3. All of their school supplies

This one kind of punches me in the gut because I tried. I really tried. Okay, that's not exactly true. Sometime in April or May we got a notice from the school that said that we could place an order with a company they've contracted with to have all the school supplies our kids need ready and waiting in their classroom on the first day of school. I knew the deadline to order was sometime in mid-June but then I mostly forgot about it. Until, of course, two days after the deadline to order arrived. I didn't think too much of it though, because really - how difficult could it be to find school supplies for a Grade 1 and Kindergarten student on my own? 

The answer is: somewhat hard and very time consuming. 

Thankfully, after hours of searching I am mostly done. This is good, because I only have one day left to find the last two things on my list. If anyone knows where I could find a "Winnable 5 poly slant binder pocket (insertable tabs)" or what I believe is probably the last package of Crayola 8 pack of crayons (Large) in the city, please let me know.

4. A new backpack. 

Half of my kids got a new backpack because their old one was literally falling apart. The other half will have to make do with last year's. I will admit to sitting down at the computer and perusing all the many types of backpacks available for kids these days. I was all ready to blindly order new backpacks for everyone (like Oprah!) before my husband reminded me that the one our son used last year was still in really good condition. We washed it and it looks as good as new, but cheaper. 

5. Organized mornings with no yelling

I mean I'll try, but I can't do it alone. 

We'll all be okay.


  1. We had the same kind of sandwich all week long growing up. My kids would starve. And don't even get me started on school supplies............................

  2. I fully agree with all of this! Thank you!

  3. I am so thankful that our school buys all of the supplies and we just have to pay a fee. It's the best thing ever!

  4. I agree on most parts. But, sometimes making a fun lunch is the biggest highlight of my day. Sometimes I even write notes :) lol.

  5. Love this! We have 5 Bento boxes that we no longer use because Evan's teacher wanted his snack separate. There was no way to do that so back to little containers we went. Evan also didn't get any new clothes, a haircut or a new backpack. Just call me Scrooge McMom. :)