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Back to School Anxiety

by janevermeulen on September 1, 2017 · 0 comments

For the past five years of my mothering life, I have had the pleasure of being oblivious to the stress of “back to school”. It was not a worry for me as my son was born in 2013 and my daughter was born in 2016. Too young for school—they both went to daycare two days a week as I worked a lot of evenings and weekends. In August, when the flyers and incessant ads touted back-to-school supplies, I felt a pang of envy because I enjoyed school, but my children had no idea. Until this year when we decided it was time for our son to enroll in Junior Kindergarten. And I am now experiencing back-to-school anxiety.

Last May, I came to the realization that my son was bored and my daughter, Nora, needed more of my time. I feel I have joined the ranks of other parents who are trying to juggle jobs, multiple children, daycare and spouses. I nicknamed Nora my “neglected second child” and she grew accustomed to taking her morning nap in her car seat while we took Miki to his activities. In the afternoon, we all had lunch and it was “quiet time” which meant I spent two hours trying to get Miki to be quiet in our small house so that Nora would not wake. We managed but I started to notice how excited Miki got when he could see his little friends and how badly he wanted to learn. So, we toured some schools and decided it was time for him to start Junior Kindergarten. Yesterday, I took Miki to the school so that he could see where he would begin next week. He was beyond excited and came home and immediately packed his lunch kit and backpack. The sheer devastation when I explained that school would not start for another week broke my heart. He is beyond excited and I am beyond panicking!

His school requires that they wear a uniform of grey pants and red shirts. Apparently, every four-year-old boy in Victoria wears this outfit. I had one store try to convince me that a red t-shirt with a pizza and “slang” saying would work. Sigh—back to online shopping for me! Next up will be markers and crayons. My son takes colouring pretty seriously so I needed to set aside an hour for this endeavor. Who knew that the debate between glitter pens versus smelly pens would get so intense?

A few nights ago, I woke up at 3am and realized that my little boy was getting older. In many ways, he has been my sidekick on our adventures to the grocery store, Starbucks and library. I am excited for Nora to take on the new responsibilities of being my sidekick but I will miss my son. My back to school anxiety was not due to the stress of buying new pants or pens; it was because my son is growing up.

Next week, a new phase of our life will begin and I will adjust to having a child in school. My anxiety will be replaced with the stresses of school drop-offs, packing lunches and losing uniforms. But, what won’t change is that my son will always be my little boy and sidekick. I just won’t tell him.

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