Summer Sessions 5: Bracing for Back-to-School

After a wonderful summer I will likely never forget, I am bracing myself for Back-to-School.

Back in June, my girlfriend – a more experienced stay-at-home mom – asked mw if I was enjoying being home with the kids over the summer. I told her I love it, that I never want it to end, and that I can’t imagine wanting the kids to go back to school. She just smiled knowingly and said, “that’s great! You may find you feel a little differently as the summer goes on.”

Grand Canyon

Sure enough, now that August has hit and football practices have begun, my season of late-morning wake-up calls, leisurely afternoons with nowhere to be, and long, late nights watching movies or hanging out with friends is ending along with my patience.

Things that rolled off my back even two weeks ago are beginning to burn me up: handfuls of legos scattered in piles around the house, half-finished drawings and broken crayons left on the table and floor, cup after cup after cup of half-drunk water, milk, and juice sitting on the kitchen counter all day. If I have to ask my kids one more time to clear their plates, pick up their clothes, or – for god’s sake – flush the flippin’ toilet after they use it, I think my head is going to explode.

So, yes! I am actually looking forward to my kids getting out of the house, back into a routine, and under the care and direction of a responsible adult that is NOT ME for two thirds of the day.

My own waning patience aside, there is something really great about going back to school. The feeling of being on the precipice of change is exhilarating; like New Year’s Eve, except with new sneakers and pointy pencils. New teachers, new classmates, new classrooms…it’s all full of promise and glittery expectations.

In honor of the promise and glittery expectations of a new school year, here are a few things that make it easier for me to brace myself for Back-to-School.

New Shoes (of course!)

New Shoes Lyrics

The chorus from Paolo Nutini’s song, New Shoes, so perfectly captures the feeling a back-to-school shoe can give us.

Nothing emblematizes back-to-school like a bright, clean, new pair of shoes and since my kids wear a uniform, shoes are the only way for my kids to make a fashion statement.


When it comes to buying new shoes, no company makes it easier than Zappos. No other online retail store has anywhere close to the inventory, hassle-free customer service, and incredibly reliable 2-day shipping that Zappos offers. Their free shipping and free return policy means I can order as many styles in as many sizes and colors I need, try them on at home, and return the shoes my kids don’t like or that don’t fit.


Zappos also has great deals and sales, so it’s a great place to shop for my kids athletic gear, like shin guards and cleats.

Check out more of my favorite shoes for boys and girls going back-to-school.

School Supplies

school supplies

Next to new shoes, buying school supplies is my kids’ second favorite back-to-school tradition.

When you consider how many other things have changed in our world and daily lives since we were kids, it’s remarkable how little change has occurred in the school supply market. Crisp folders, clean and colorful pencil pouches, subject dividers, and a colorful new set of markers seem to promise a happy year of learning and friendship. I still get the same excited flutter in my chest, watching my kids select many of the same supplies I needed when I was a kid.


comp notebook


Last year, I tried ordering all my kids’ school supplies online and it was a disaster. I’ve learned the hard way that, when it comes to school supplies, nothing beats in-person, see-and-touch-it shopping. So this year, I took the kids to Target.

Contrary to previous years when we are rushing to get everything at the last minute, I went fairly early in the back-to-school supply shopping season, so my kids had a wide selection of items to choose from. I love these darling, colorful composition notebooks my daughter chose and all the kids were finally able to get some folders they like instead of settling for the cast-off puppy or plain folders that are still leftover.

Quiet Mornings

In preparation for the early and hectic mornings that lay right around the corner, I’ve started getting up a little earlier in the mornings.

Unlike my husband, who rises at 5 a.m. for a five mile run six days a week without fail, I am not a morning person. I’m slow moving, slow thinking, and slightly grumpy, and I would really prefer not to get up even five minutes before I absolutely have to.

morning coffee

But these days, the 30 to 60 minutes of quiet I get before my kids wake up is blissful. I can drink my coffee in peace, catch up on the news, and warm up to the day slowly; a luxury I will not have once the kids are back to school.

Last Hurrahs

skinny dipping

Despite the aforementioned impatience I’m feeling now that summer is winding down, I know it’s coming to an end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

While I’m ready for a change, I don’t yet feel ready for back-to-school madness, homework, carpools, permission slips, and so on. It was such a wonderful relief to give those things up back in June and I haven’t missed them for a minute.

So, I find I’m relishing our last hurrahs – the final waterski trips, days spent in the pool – and trying to appreciate how special this time has been for me.


mom and daughter



I can only guess what my life will look like next summer; there’s a good possibility that I will be back to work by that time. This may have been the one and only summer I will ever have at home with my kids, not working. I don’t want to look back and say I wish I would have appreciated it more.

As summer winds down and back-to-school looms, from my family to yours, let me just say, it’s been a really fantastic summer. Cheers!

Thanks for reading,


Get weekly post updates sent directly to you!
Present Perfect respects your privacy and will not share your email address.

The Myth of Work-Life Balance: One Working Mom Decides to Stay Home
The Go-Bag: Essentials for Surviving the Summer Sports Circuit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *