By Chaunie Brusie | @chauniebrusie
The backpacks are packed, the bedtimes have been moved up, and the calendar date is penned in and circled – that first day of back-to-school is looming.
After 18 months (and counting) of pure family togetherness, I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions about all four of my older children heading back to in-person school for the first time since the pandemic hit. I’m worried about variants and their health, I’m terrified about my oldest navigating junior high and the world of crop tops and TikTok, and I’m second-guessing if I’m doing the right thing for our family just about every other minute.
Regardless of the many feelings I’m having as a mom, we’re forging ahead for now. And when that fateful first day back happens, you can bet your COVID-stimulus dollar that I’ll be indulging in at least one of these activities:
1. Sit In Silence For At Least 45 Minutes
I. can’t. wait. And yes, I know, someday we’re going to miss this and all that, but today? Today, we just enjoy it.
2. NOT Prepare Approximately 1,047 Meals And Snacks
Words cannot express how utterly sick I am of feeding my children. I realize that makes me sound like a terrible person, so judge all you want, but I am more than happy to outsource this particular task to the school cafeteria, no matter how questionable their meatloaf may be.
3. Turn On A Totally Inappropriate TV Show For Background Noise
Sex/Life, I’m looking at you. (Just kidding, this is a terrible show and you should not watch it because it’s really that bad.)
4. Sit In The Silence Again
5. Leave The House, Just Because I Can
I admit that during this whole pandemic thing, I’ve become somewhat of a hermit. I’m naturally very introverted and a homebody, so that’s part of it, but the other part of it is that I always dread getting five kids ready and out the door.
It feels impossible and exhausting, and add in the fact that I would need to put on real clothes and do something with my hair? Nope, not happening. So we stayed home a lot, but there is a part of me that is really looking forward to the freedom of just going again.
Popping into a store just to browse? Grabbing a coffee without clamoring in the backseat for cake pops and Frappuccinos and ugh, not that one? Waltzing in and out of the car with nary a fighting kid to drag in and out? I can’t even imagine it.
6. Do A Workout For Fun (Yes, Really)
You would think that being home more would = more time to workout, but the opposite has been true.
My once life-giving exercise routine has gone totally to poop with kids underfoot constantly. So I am really looking forward to busting out a serious endorphin-pumping workout that first day the kids head back. I may even throw some deadlifts in there, just because I don’t have to worry about dropping weights on some little person’s foot.
7. Get Dressed
If my entire day no longer consists of sprinting around, picking up everyone’s messes, cooking and cleaning every waking second, and basically existing just to break up sibling fights, it almost seems like it might be worth the effort to take some time with my appearance. I mean, do I even remember how to actually get dressed anymore?
8. Get Takeout For Dinner
Listen, the first day is a big day for all of us, and that deserves a celebratory takeout dinner. Also, remember when getting takeout was basically a heroic act? Let’s keep that part of the pandemic forever, thanks.
9. Miss Them Like Crazy
I know myself well enough to know that I will 100% enjoy at least the first hour of having the house to myself, but then? I will totally be missing hearing their stories, eavesdropping on their games and giving them a quick hug.
10. Take Care Of My Toddler
As it would turn out, I’m still the mother of a two-year-old at home with me, so that first day back-to-school won’t be total freedom just yet. But hey, it was fun to dream while it lasted, right?
What are you most looking forward to the day your kiddos go back?
Chaunie Brusie | @chauniebrusie
Chaunie Brusie is a mom of five and a labor and delivery nurse turned writer and editor. Her work has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to Glamour to Parents magazine. Chaunie lives on a small farm with her woodworking husband and kids, which could make her like Joanna Gaines, except she can’t cook, kills every houseplant she brings home, and sadly, does not have beautiful, flowing long locks.