Long days, lost years: a mom’s perspective on back to school

 In General

Someone once commented to me on the paradox of raising children: the days drag on but the years fly by.

Something about back to school makes this statement hit home. On the heels of what can feel like a never-ending summer break, suddenly, school is back in session. And just like that, they’re gone.

Mixed emotions

Anxious. Relieved. Proud. Nostalgic. Back to school comes with mixed emotions for any mom.

Most of us are relieved to say goodbye to the financial pressures of summer, though we’re left wondering how we’re going to pay for that family vacation.

For some of us, the return of the school year brings an end to the frantic task of asking friends and family to look after the kids so you can maintain your work schedule. You can’t afford childcare, but you can’t afford not to work—and summer is the toughest time of year to manage your work and family obligations.

For others, summer was a welcome break from the hectic routine of school, homework and after-school activities. You enjoyed lazy mornings and days that drifted from one activity to another without any sense of time or obligation. And now you’re anxious about having to get back into the routine.

And there are those of you who haven’t had a single break from your kids for over two months. Tired and running on empty, you’ve barely had a moment to yourself, and you can’t even remember what it’s like to miss them.

And then suddenly, you do.

A milestone for mom and child

For any mom, whatever your situation, however you feel about summer, fall marks a milestone for you and your children.

One year older, one grade higher—the child who once shyly held your hand or even cried on their first day of school is now running off without so much as a ‘goodbye’, never mind a hug. The siblings who wouldn’t stop fighting all summer are walking off to school together with excitement in seeing their friends.

And you finally get your break. You have the house to yourself. Or you head off to work without any concerns.

And yet, you feel a sense of loss.

You see time slipping away. You see how quickly your Kindergartner will become a college grad. You question whether you spent your summer the way you should have. You want the years back.

It’s a Catch-22 to value the past from the present, a view any mom can appreciate, and must accept.

So hug them, tell them you love them, and wish them luck. They’ll be fine. And so will you.

Recommended Posts