You probably opened this post thinking I was going to be like “Oh, I will just miss all the time I get to spend with my kids!”. That’s actually true, I do miss them when they’re gone, but that’s not why I don’t look forward to back to school.  Here are a few of the reasons that back to school has me filled with dread.

My kids are night owls.  They have been since they were wee little babies.  They both stopped napping around age one,  and seem to be naturally programmed to stay up until 11 PM and then sleep late.  Super-Dad doesn’t usually get home from work until after 7, which means we don’t eat dinner until almost 8 most nights, which many of you will recognize as a second grader’s typical bed time.  Even when I enforce an earlier bedtime, my kids are not getting enough sleep. Cranky, sleep deprived kids make for miserable mornings. I homeschooled Nate for a year and a half many years back and while I won’t say that it was a successful experiment, I will say that starting school at noon, working until 4 and then picking up again after our late dinner was really nice.

Homework is such a struggle.  My kids hate it, which I get because I hated it when I was in school, too.  Of course, now I understand its importance, but my goodness I hate the nightly struggle.  I also hate the mess it brings.  The “homework  shelf” in my dining room, where all the school supplies live looks okay now, but two days after school starts it’s going to be a disaster, and it won’t recover until the end of June.

Summer is a nice time to have a break from the soul-crushing bureaucracy of Seattle Public Schools. Every single parent has to deal with the onslaught of nine thousand hand-filled in forms (seriously, why can’t I do this digitally?).  Kit’s school has one that requires you to fill out the same form twice with contact info for like, nine emergency backup people.  I KNOW the district has the info, why can’t they print it out and give it to the school? Last year the “welcome packet” had over 25 pieces of paper, 11 of which were forms. Ridiculous.

If your Precious Little Snowflakes have Special Ed or Disability needs like mine do, you know that navigating that system is a special hell all its own.  We were holding steady with only a few accommodations in their 504 plan at a school where the teachers and staff were amazing advocates for all kids. Kit will still be there this year, but Nate has graduated to High School, and I’m stuck dealing with the District again. The 504 Coordinator at the District level seems nice enough, but she has her own set of red tape to deal with. I’m confident he’ll get the services he needs, but I know I will be stressed out until it’s all finalized.

Lunches. If I can get my shit together enough to make lunches, there is no guarantee that the kids will eat them.  So what do they do instead? They purchase a lunch using Seattle Public School’s PIN system, which will let them overdraft their lunch account by THIRTY DOLLARS before I get a robocall.  Then (because ADD) it’s usually another few days before I get a check into the school, and by that point I’m getting calls that they will only be able to serve them cold cheese sandwiches, and a Free and Reduced Lunch application makes its way home in Kit’s backpack.  To make matters worse, she takes meds that suppress her appetite, so I’m frequently on the deadbeat list for the 3 chocolate milks and an apple that she actually ate.  Remember, 90 percent of the time I packed her a lunch.


I will appreciate that my house will stay relatively clean between the hours of 9 and 4, though.