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teacherlists, back-to-school, shopping, school supply lists

It’s back-to-school for us already. Boo. Hiss. Sorry, I’ve already started my waking up early training and it’s not going so well. It’s like being hangry but with no sleep.

The girls are officially 2 weeks out from returning back to the classroom, quiet returning to my house and a regimented schedule being back in place. No more late nights giggling and staying up way past their bedtimes making s’mores or catching fireflies, no more long, lazy days lounging by the pool or playing in the sand and surf, no more impromptu road trips and no more after dinner runs for ice cream. It’s a little bit sad, especially since these days, I am acutely aware that our summers together are fading and before I know it, they will be grown and creating summer memories of their own with their children.

But today, before I go fully sentimental and start crying like the moms in the kindergarten corridor on the first day of school, we thrive in chaos. We ride the bikes under the shadows of the big branch of the trees, we feel the sun shine on our faces and we act as silly as we want; laughing at the most nonsensical things that are only funny because of inside jokes we share. Tonight, we stay up too late at the drive-in. We try to sop and soak up every second of summer together goodness.

I’m not in denial. I know what’s coming for us and it’s serious business. It’s the beginning of 5th and 7th grade. It’s first day nerves followed by the relief of seeing familiar faces and falling back into routines. It’s letting go and holding on. It’s watching my little girls’ metamorphosis into smart, funny, quirky adolescents. Being a mother is a lifetime of witnessing a series of miracles small and large. It’s seeing my past in their present.It’s being there to pick them up when they stumble. Mostly, it’s all of us growing and embracing this new phase of childhood and motherhood. It’s hard because it’s so important but that doesn’t mean that everything has to be.

My parenting philosophy has always been the same, spend your time on the things that matter the most. Prioritize like your life depends on it and never lose sight of what’s important. Work smarter, not harder. So, obviously, most days my house looks like a couple hurricanes made a pass through. Dishes often set in my sink awaiting the quiet and stillness of bedtime. The dust bunnies these days are as big as the ones in my backyard and the fingerprints on the hallway mirror are of all sizes because the girls have grown in the past six years. The thing is that I’ve had to learn to let that stuff go because if not, I waste valuable time focusing on the wrong things.

I don’t want my girls to look back in 20 years and remember how grouchy I was about disheveled pillows or unfolded laundry. I want them to look back and remember one feeling, in particular, the “my mom loved the crap out of me” feeling. I want it to come over them slowly from their head to their toes like a heart hug and I want them to smile, knowing they are loved unconditionally and for eternity. Then, I want them to go forth and spread that love to their own families.

This year, when I started my chaotic, “chicken with my head cut off” dance that I do every year (otherwise known as back-to-school shopping, a mix of half rebellion and irritation that obligation has crept into our last remaining summer days together) I reminded myself to work smarter and not harder. Firstly, I didn’t wait until 2 days before school started. I started 3 weeks early. I ordered all of our uniforms online. It was perfect because all of the back-to-school sales have started but the stock is still plentiful and all sizes are available. In fact, they are already here and hung in the closets ready for the first day of school. Unlike the year I waited until the very last minute and had to order plus size for my stick straight child because that was all that was left. It did not work out well for us and I do not recommend it.

Then, I used some gift cards that I had to order backpacks. The girls and I spent a good half-an-hour online looking through all the backpacks and I let them pick whichever ones they wanted. In the past, I limited their options and they were very limited but I feel that at 10 and 12-years-old, they know what they need to meet their backpacking needs at school better than I do. They’ll be here tomorrow.

My least favorite thing about back-to-school is the dreaded school supply list. It’s so large and tedious. The four of us pile in the Enclave, take a deep breath and get our game faces on before venturing into the back-to-school section of Walmart or Target. None of us are happy.

Every year, some or all of us have a breakdown inside the store over something like a decorated folder or stretchy book cover. It’s sensory overload with parents on edge, children on meltdown and everyone annoyed at the entire experience. All of that up and down the aisles back and forth is dizzying. I feel like I need a Dramamine just to get through it.

But then this year, I found out about TeacherLists.com when I was approached to work with them and OMG, what? I wish I knew about this before. So what is TeacherLists.com, you ask? It’s a website that makes convenience for you, its mission. Because they understand how precious these last few days of sucking out the marrow of summer are to all of us.

teacherlists, back-to-school, shopping, school supply lists

It’s this simple. Go to TeacherLists.com, put in your zip code, locate your child’s school supply list immediately, click on it and the supply list will be available (if not, don’t worry it will be soon) and it curates the entire list for you. All you need to do is pick which retailer you want to use (there are several to choose from including Amazon, Target, Jet and Walmart) and then check your list, you may want to make some adjustments for style (you know backpacks, folders, and brands) and then you can put it in your cart and either have it delivered to your front door or pick up at the store if more convenient for you. The curated cart will also tell you if any of the products are not available or out of stock so you can plan accordingly.

teacherlists, back-to-school, shopping, school supply listsAside from saving yourself the hassle of dealing with the crazy that always exists in the stores at back-to-school and your sanity. You save yourself the aggravation of trying to locate the supply list itself because it is right there on the website. If it hasn’t been uploaded yet, you can receive an alert when the list has been posted. Then you get to spend more laughter-filled moments of ice cream running down your elbows in the sunshine with the little people you love the most instead of wasting that time being annoyed that you can’t find some imaginary brand of watercolor paints that the new teacher added to the list just to keep you on your toes.

If you really do enjoy the whole back-to-school shopping experience (you unicorn, you) you can use TeacherLists.com to print the list off and experience it in real time. I’ll pass. See you on the other side, friend.

teacherlists, back-to-school, shopping, school supply lists

Visit TeacherLists.com for a quick and convenient way to shop for your child’s school supplies. Spend that extra time together at the lake, looking at the stars, sitting around a campfire and being present together because these are the series of moments that make up a life well-lived.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by TeacherLists.com and The Motherhood. All opinions about back-to-school shopping are my own.

 

 

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Are CoVid Vaccinations Putting Us All at Higher Risk due to False Security

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Today, my girls return to in-person school during a pandemic, after a 10-day quarantine. Three days is how many days my girls were back in school before they were quarantined for 10 days. Yes, you heard me correctly, my daughters who are fully vaccinated were both directly exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus at school where masks are not mandated but encouraged. No, my daughters were not wearing masks because my daughters are vaccinated that was definitely my poor judgment. But breakthrough CoVid infections are real and dangerous. Did I mention that masks are not required and mode 3 virtual is not even an option at my daughters’ school this year? It’s not. Leaving me to wonder are CoVid vaccinations putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

Why my girls were quarantined

Both girls were exhibiting potential Coronavirus symptoms that were on the “must quarantine until they get a negative CoVid test result” or as I like to call it, the “CoVid No Fly” list. We got the test results back and both were negative but because they had been directly exposed and had been sick, even with the vaccination and negative test results due to the possibility of a false-negative test they have to quarantine for the entire 10 days. While I am thrilled that the school is doing their due diligence and my girls are negative (yay science), I am pissed off that there are so many parents who refuse to get their kids vaccinated and still send their kids to school sick, unvaccinated and refusing to wear the masks the school has asked unvaccinated students to wear. Their recklessness has caused a large number of quarantines within the first few days of school being back in session and it’s only going to get worse.

Here are the most recent CDC guidelines for back to school.

I got the vaccine. My girls and the Big Guy, we were first in line after a year+ of being societally obligated to be imprisoned in our own house due to a pandemic and some fun underlying conditions that made the world a virtual minefield of danger zones for our health. We masked up when so many others in our area were not. We were genuinely afraid of contracting and dying from a gnarly case of coronavirus. We did everything we were supposed to (and more) watching in horror as friends and family contracted and died from the virus. When school was scheduled to start back on August 11th, we were nervous but excited. We knew we had to be diligent but felt safe returning to school during what we believed were the end stages of the coronavirus pandemic. We were absolutely wrong in our false sense of security and believing that others did their part.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist or particularly scared of anything in the world. I wasn’t raised on fear. I’m a Gen Xer who has had her fair share of cooties. I kissed a lot of frogs in my lifetime, observed the 5-second rule and regularly used other people’s toothbrushes in a pinch during my college years. However, I do believe in science and my IQ is a little higher than the average bear.  The biggest thing is that I can read, have intelligence and believe that a brand new respiratory virus is going to be contagious. My doctor also believes that the horrible “virus” I contracted in early February of 2020 left me nearly for dead, so much so that I literally gave my notice at work, complete with loss of taste, smell and even CoVid toes before it was even a thing, in fact, early days rona. Did I mention that I lost three family members to coronavirus? I did. It has been an epically shitastic year and to make it all worse, I am surrounded by idiots.

Yep, I said it. You can’t wish away rona any more than you can cancer. It’s here, whether you want to believe in it or not and guess what? It is coming for you. The only unknown variable is will you be an asymptomatic carrier who spreads and kills others, maybe you’ll get long-haul symptoms (it’s possible even when asymptomatic) like strokes, heart attacks, asthma or brain damage afterward. Maybe you get a mild case and survive or maybe you catch it and suddenly find yourself dead. I’m sure your family will love the fact that they lost their mom, dad, sister, brother, son or daughter because you decided your right to be a selfish asshole was more important than wearing a paper mask in public and staying the eff out of other people’s personal space for the greater good.

Anyways, I got my vaccination and so did my immediate family. We did everything we could to be part of the solution instead of the problem. We don’t want to be responsible for killing others. We’d rather gamble on science. For a couple of months, we felt safe. Slowly, we ventured back out into the world amongst other people. We thought everyone was doing their part. We were dead wrong.

Are CoVid vaccinations putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

It was exhausting because in the last 17 months peopling has become terrifying; every single person we encounter is a potential assassin and we really like living. School started back for our girls. They are in person for the first time since March 2020. My girls celebrated 2 milestone birthdays confined to the house like criminals on house arrest; we all did. We chose to do the right thing and still, here we are in the middle of yet another surge because other people still chose to believe conspiracy theories over science. These are obviously the same think tanks who refuse to believe that dinosaurs existed, the Holocaust happened or anyone ever set foot on the moon. Yep, the same geniuses who think the world is flat. If this part is offending you, you should stop reading because I don’t think we could have an actual intelligent conversation together in person so let’s stop wasting each other’s time.

My whole point is so many of us did the right thing and the rest of you are messing this up. It’s bad enough that you’ve destroyed the climate now, you’re openly chastising those of us trying to save the world. This group project sucks and I am so tired of being the one who’s doing all the work. Do your part. I’m so mad at myself for letting my guard down.I think in some small part having the CoVid vaccination is putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security even though literally it is saving our lives.

Here I am somewhere between terrified of dying and so pissed off that I’m about to start throat punching random people who refuse to mask up. The trigger in my brain that felt safe for those couple of months, doesn’t want to believe that some of you don’t give any f*cks whether you kill my mom and dad or my elementary school-aged nieces and nephews but I’ve seen your posts and I know that you don’t care who you kill, as long as you can run around without wearing a mask. Mentally I am spent.

I’m tired so tired and I don’t want to play this game anymore. It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake with a Freshman who has gotten no sleep because she is stressed out about returning to school tomorrow; afraid of coronavirus and the 11 tests and quizzes that she has to make up upon her return. The bottom line is, you’re an asshole if you’re not vaccinated. Adults you need to do your part; wear your masks at all times in public, wash your hands and social distance. You liars and rule-breakers are the reason we can’t have nice things (like safely being able to exist in the world and do things like going to school and getting groceries) and the reason we’re all going to end up back in lockdown and to you, I say, “EFF YOU.”

So if you’re refusing to do your part, remember that there are children who don’t have a choice but to put themselves in harm’s way physically and mentally because you can’t make good choices. Your choice to disregard science, ignore facts and not wear a mask or get vaccinated go way beyond you. This is not a personal choice that only affects you but every single person living in it. Your one moment of selfishness can mean death to others. The kids are not alright and as adults, it is our responsibility to keep them safe and sound. If you don’t care enough about yourself to do the right thing, what about the innocent kids who are suffering from the mental and physical stress of trying to live in a coronavirus world?

If you live in an area with no mask mandate in place in the schools, are you sending your kids back to school in person and if so what precautions will you take to keep your family safe?

Do you think CoVid vaccinations are putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

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public school, private school, bad parent, good parent, education

Hi, my name is Debi and I am a product of public school. Before you get your panties in a wad about the title, this is in response to a post on Slate called, If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.

Let me start by saying (or admitting, as Slate would have you believe it’s a crime) that I send my children to private school. GASP! I don’t really believe you are a bad person for sending your kid to public school. I believe that as parents we all do the best we can for our kids. If trying our best makes us terrible then we’re all the worst kind of parents.

I didn’t go to private school and neither did my husband. We grew up blue collar. I am one of six kids who had a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked as a forklift driver in a factory. We survived on one blue-collar salary, Tang, public school and all the gluten. We survived. We overcame but I’m not sure any of us thrived in that situation.

Let me put this in further perspective, I was a gifted child in all honors classes and still I was not challenged. I was bored and by the time I was in high school, I was so unchallenged that I hated going to school because it felt like a waste of my time.

I wasn’t thriving because even the best at my public school wasn’t good enough.

When I had children, I knew that if I could afford it, I wanted to send them to private school. More specifically, I wanted to send them to Catholic school because I liked the idea of more challenging academics with constant spiritual nurturing incorporated into their daily routine. Yes, you can do that at home on your own but I like the idea of spirituality and faith being present daily and, perhaps more importantly, how it molds them and the children they spend their days with.

We are not independently wealthy. We are middle class parents who have made the decision that we want to give our children the best opportunity to grow and learn at a young age. In making this decision, we have accepted the fact that we may have to sacrifice other things. Things like extravagant vacations and a larger house. Don’t feel sorry for us, we still travel a couple times a year, our home is in a wonderful neighborhood in the suburbs and there is always plenty to eat. We made the decision to invest in their future but it’s not compromising our present in any way that is too much for us to bear.

The author of the article said that parents who put their children in private school are bad parents because we are doing a disservice to the other children of the world because after all, doesn’t every child deserve a great education? Yes, they do but it is not my place to save the world. It is my responsibility to do for my children. The only way the author’s scenario works is if you take private schools out of the equation entirely. Then, and only then, will all focus shift to bettering the public schools which I wholeheartedly agree needs to be done.

Those who follow her idea of putting our children into public schools with subpar curriculums now to make education better unintentionally make our children martyrs to the cause. I’m not willing to sacrifice my children’s education in hopes that I might be able to make the world a more level playing ground for future generations of hypothetical children. Meanwhile, failing the two I gave birth to. It is not my right to sacrifice their future. It is my duty to protect it.

By this author’s logic, I can argue that if you have the means and you don’t put your child in private school, then you don’t love your child at all. If I am a monster for caring for my children and doing my best to give them every opportunity to excel in this world then so be it because at the end of the day, my only responsibility is to my children.

Raising good humans who are functional, contributing and caring members of society is literally the most important thing a parent will ever do with their life. This is done by being present, be involved and giving them the guidance to achieve their hopes and dreams and that all starts with a good education. The system is failing the public schools, not me.

Are we bad people because we didn’t send our children to public school?

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back-to-school

Back-to-School ; it’s the most wonderful or awful time of year (depending on how old your children are) again.

Back-to-School

  • Purchasing all the items on the school supply list is like a going scavenger hunt for the holy educational grail. It’s exhausting, exasperating and you will most likely not find the last item on the list.
  • Abruptly dragging kids off the beach to go school clothes shopping is like trying to take a carb starved model away from cake.
  • Trying to wake a kid ( who’s been sleeping in all summer) for school is like trying to lose ten pounds on the chocolate shake diet.

Back-to-School Truisms

  • Shopping for school uniforms is about as exciting as watching paint dry, for all parties involved.
  • Walking away from your child on the first day of kindergarten is emotionally harder than 13 hours of transition labor.
  • Lunches, do yourself a favor and invest in a bento box, one of those cooling Packit lunch boxes and make lunch for your kid. What they let pass for a healthy lunch these days are NOT what any Mommy in her right senses would consider “nutritious”. A bread stick, grapes and something fried…does not a healthy lunch make.

  • The first time you leave your child with strangers (school, ballet, child care) you will cry and feel overwhelming guilt. You are not a bad Mommy. Guilt is the benchmark of a great Mommy.
  • For the younger sibling of a kindergartener, every morning is like sending the kindergartener off to war and every pick up is like the return from the war…safe and victorious.
  • NOT allowing your child to go on a field trip with 47 five year olds, 2 teachers and no chaperones is not only a good idea, it’s pretty much required for safety.

Back-to-School;Back to letting go

  • Watching your child struggle in social situations is like watching them try to learn how to walk for the first time. You stand back, see what happens and then you give them gentle nudges in the right direction,if all else fails, you grab them by the hands and show them how it’s done.
  • In all things concerning your child’s well being, trust your mommy gut. It’s not there just for decoration.
  • The first week of school will be exhausting, overwhelming and frustrating. It won’t be a picnic for the kids either.
  • You will take three trips to seven different stores to find that just right sized pair of uniform pants that fit perfectly and don’t look to “uniformy”, only to find out that they are $200 vintage khaki’s that were worn by Marcia Brady on an episode of the Brady Bunch and you can’t afford them anyways.
  • First day of drop off, you can be sure that some uber Mommy will walk right up to you , call you by your name and talk to you like she’s known you forever while you stand there speechless because your brain is fried from the summer sun and you have NO idea who the hell she is..
  • Seeking absolution from your drop off faux pas, you will feel the need to step up your Mommying game.This can cause you to do something foolish, like volunteer for several different committees. DO not do this.Your guilt will pass but those committees will expect you to show up.
  • Back-to-school is more than checklists, new clothes and a new school year. Back-to-school is letting go and growing up. More often than not, Back-to-School will leave you in a pool of snot and tears.

Back-to-School

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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Okay, at the risk of sounding like a complete asshole, I want to discuss Education Vouchers. Our state has recently put into place a program that provides education vouchers for many children in the state to give them the financial ability to attend a private school of their choosing. Sounds awesome. Finally, children who were not wealthy could still have access to a private education.

I grew up poor but was always at the top of my class. I worked my ass off because my parents stressed the value of a good education. It was important to our family.Had the voucher program been in place when I was a kid, I could have gone to private school and received a more challenging education than what my public school education could provide.

My girls attend a private co educational school because we place value and importance on education. We are by no means wealthy but we made the choice to prioritize our girl’s educations over other things.We made the decision to sacrifice in other areas. We go without some things so the girls can get the best education we can provide for them. Unfortunately, even though we are not wealthy we also don’t qualify for the education voucher but I was still 100% in favor of education vouchers because if it could help one kid who needed it to get to an education they deserved, it was perfect.

Here is the problem, the education voucher was a great idea in theory prompted by people with seemingly good intentions but in fact, it is failing miserably, in my own personal experience. You see when you attend private school, there are usually a battery of entrance requirements; interviews, stipulations, testing. Parental involvement is a must and if it’s parochial, so is involvement in the church. At out school, the staff know al the parents because we volunteer on a regular basis. We see each other several times a week and we are in many ways, a family. But when you attend private school on an education voucher none of that applies. None of it. None.Of.IT!! I don’t think that is fair at all but that’s not here or there because fair is a luxury life doesn’t usually afford us. This is not me being an elitist snob this is me stating facts.

Every morning at drop off, I see kids whose parents took the voucher and forced their kids to attend private school. Some want to be there but others don’t. I don’t begrudge a parent for wanting better for their child but if you are going to go in, go all in and be involved with their kids education more than just dropping them off at school. They are not required to be involved in school activities like the parents of traditional students. At our school, traditionally it is required that the entire family be involved. There are requirements and expectations in place for both parents and students.

We oblige because we want the education for our children and we want to optimize the experience because we are invested ourselves, financially and personally. What bothers me is that the parents of the children attending on vouchers are not required to volunteer at the school or attend the church. Since the voucher went into effect, our school rating has fallen. I think it has a lot to do with uninvolved parents who are not invested in the program because they didn’t have to pay for it and in effect, children who take for granted what they’ve been given. It’s just not that important when you don’t have to earn it or pay for it.

I’m paying a lot of money in tuition for my kid to go to what is becoming a subpar school while these other parents send their child to the same school for free. We bust our ass to meet the stringent requirements as a family in order to attend the school. Meanwhile, the parents of the voucher students don’t have to do anything. My issue is not with the children, my issue is with the program. There needs to be equal admissions qualifications for all families, vouchers aside.There needs to be academic standards in place as criteria for admissions. Some sort of academic testing should be in place and there should be an interview process in which the parents are made aware of and held to the same standards as all the other parents and students.

I think financial need should be a qualification but there needs to be testing to make sure they deserve to be there; that they can keep up educationally and that they actually want to be there. If they don’t qualify then they shouldn’t get to attend the school; voucher or not. Why should the kids whose parents have worked their asses off to provide them with a great education and who have worked hard since kindergarten to be a part of the school, now have to accept the new lower standard in education excellence?

What do you think about kids being accepted into private schools simply because they qualify for free tuition through education vouchers?

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first day of school, back to school, the different kinds of moms you meet on the first day of school, letting go

How can it already be the first day of school? This morning my girls went back to school and, honestly, I am not ok with it. Usually, by this point in the summer, I am ready for them to go back to school. We all begin to get a little bored with one another and crave our routine but not today.

This morning, I wanted to sleep in and cuddle a little longer. I wanted my morning pile in. I wanted brunch and long conversations about nothing. I wanted to watch all the cheesy horror movies and rom coms together. I wanted a few more lazy days of togetherness. I wanted it to be harder for them to go but it wasn’t. It was one of the easiest mornings we’ve ever had.

We just got back from a relaxing RV beach vacation in Cape Hatteras on Monday. Tuesday, I took the girls to get their new back to school/big girl haircuts and pick up some back to school supplies. Yesterday, we had a lazy girl’s day with grandma and today, I swear my girls aged 3 years since we returned from vacation. I’m not joking, I’m positive Bella grew 2 inches this week because she’s at least 2 inches taller than me now and she wasn’t last week.

I used to write about wanting to collapse in the kindergarten corridor because all the new moms were doing it. Misery enjoys company and if everyone else is doing it, well, there’s no shame in assuming the fetal position and sobbing like a baby.  Then I moved on to doing a sort of ninja warrior sprint through the kindergarten hallway to get to my slightly older girls’ classrooms.

READ ALSO: Why 3rd Grade Sucks and I prefer the Weeping Mothers of K-2

By last year, I was cocky. I wasn’t crying. I was thrilled about the sound of silence that fills an empty house. I even brazenly walked my girls, right past those collapsed moms, stepping over the one by one, chest puffed out as I walked my girls to the middle school corridor. I walked them into their classes and kissed them just because I could. I knew they wanted to run rather than let the other kids see but unfortunately for them, years of being the cool room mom have made my presence always acknowledged by the kids.

But this morning, my big girls with their long legs and new hairstyles didn’t need me to walk them in. There was no box full of Kleenex and disinfectant wipes to use as an excuse so I dropped them in the drop off line like all the other parents. Both of them in the middle school corridor this year.

I would have been fine except the Big Guy, who obviously hates me when he kissed us each goodbye this morning told the girls to have a great first day. Bella, my eighth grader, said, “Nah, it’s going to be boring.” because that’s what eighth graders do because they are actually too cool for school. To which my brilliant and cruel husband responded, “Well, enjoy it kiddo because next year it’s off to high school for you.” Then, he left and I fell down dead. He killed me and I’m sure he didn’t think twice or even realize that I am wounded.

READ ALSO: The First Day of Kindergarten

So instead of dropping my girls off this morning and doing my happy dance for uninterrupted work time and no more background noise of tween/teen bickering, I dropped my girls off with a swift kiss and an I love you. I think my voice may have even cracked as I swallowed hard to compose myself. I don’t think they even noticed and that’s what I want. Independent, happy young ladies who face every new day and challenge like it’s an adventure. I let go and it freaking hurt. Hey, what’s going on? This isn’t kindergarten.

I won’t lie, I thought of pulling into the primary parking lot and taking a stroll into the kindergarten corridor to be among my people this morning because I could have used a good fetal position ugly cry. The girls would have never known. Instead, I came home and wrote a sad post about letting go when you don’t want to and holding on for as long as you can. But eventually, we all have to let go. And damn it, next year there’s high school. I wonder if they have a secret freshman mom hallway where I can ugly cry? Well, you know me, where there’s a will there’s a way. If there isn’t one, I’ll make one.

Happy first day of school moms.

Whether you are celebrating or sobbing, you’re doing it right and don’t get too cocky, motherhood is not a straight line. There is an unexpected ebb and flow to it. Some days you are on top of the world and other days, you are in desperate need of life’s kindergarten corridors.

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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Have you ever thought about how our daughters’ self-esteem and body image could be affected by the school uniforms or dress code policy? Sounds crazy, right? I mean isn’t that the entire purpose of school uniforms in the first place, to level the playing field; to equalize all children and neutralize all social hierarchy? Isn’t a dress code to keep kids comfortable and tidy.

I have daughters, who have to wear school uniforms. There is no option. I thought this was a great idea when we started school but now, I think it’s stifling and worse, I think it’s causing some damage to my tween’s self-esteem and worse, her body image. It’s bad enough that they are not allowed to even look like girls; no ruffles, no frills or even pale pink polish because it might be “distracting” to boys but now we are even making the clothes to fit like a boy. Someone once told me that I should cut my daughters’ hair because they “read somewhere” that long hair is conducive to rape. I said, no why don’t women teach their sons not to be rapists and to respect women and their bodies. Why should my daughter have to look like a boy so your son doesn’t get any ideas? Why do the girls have to be punished?

But how are school uniforms destroying little girls’ body image, you ask?

This year, it has become almost impossible to find anything that fits my child and believe me; I have tried all the stores and all the sizes. I’m frustrated; my poor daughter is beside herself. She had a growth spurt over the summer and suddenly all of her clothes are too short and tight. So, since I don’t want to send my child to school looking all “Hulk Smash” I decided to try to just buy her some bigger clothes. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

You see, I’ve noticed that for the last few years, the girls’ uniform pants that we bought at Children’s Place were made slightly different than boy uniform pants. It was the little details like a little spandex mixed with the cotton so that the pants could bend and mold to a little girl’s body. Also, little girls’ pants were slightly flared for aesthetics and had a cute little ribbon belt. The pants were perfect. My children have been wearing them for years.

But this year, with all the let’s eliminate labels like “boys” and “girls” campaigns being on trend, nothing fits. It’s not my imagination. They have actually stopped making the pants we previously bought and have gone to a more streamlined look, that happen to look exactly like the boys’ pants. Let’s put it this way, my waif like 8 –year-old who almost blows away with a strong gust of wind and typically wears a size 6X/7 had to buy a size 10, in order to fit.

My poor 10-year-old who typically wears a 12 or a 14 depending on the length of the pants, literally, could not find a pair of pants that fit her in the length and waist. Either they swallowed her whole or fit in the waist but were up to her knees or in one particular worst case scenario, we had to try on a size 14 that was tight on her waist and her butt and then we found out it was a mislabeled 10. With tears in her eyes in the dressing room, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I just want to be normal. I just want pants that fit to wear to school!” I’ve only noticed this in uniforms, but of course, that’s all I’ve shopped for recently.

My heart broke into one million pieces because I saw every single woman that has come before her and every single little girl that will come after her if we don’t do something to change this NOW! There is plenty of time for her to feel like shit about herself because the fashion and style industry do not cater to normal sized women and they surely don’t cater to tall women, who are neither anorexic or plus sized. Our options are crying in the dressing room while trying to either starve ourselves into see thru micro mini everything, wearing muumuus or dressing like a man. Why do we have to dress according to them? And who the f*ck are they anyways?

Isn’t it enough that our daughters are bombarded by images on television and in the media of starving women as our standard of beauty, now my 10-year-old and 8-year-old are being told their bodies are wrong by fucking uniform pants. And by the way, if there was ever proof that the patriarchy is in charge, just look at a school uniform policy. It is made to inflict embarrassment and shatter self-image by making every little girl feel as ugly and plain as possible.

This is my plea, manufacturers and designers of little girls’ school uniforms

Please stop making school uniforms cut to give our elementary school aged girls doubt in themselves and their bodies.

My daughters are perfect and healthy and beautiful and in one shopping trip, fashion has planted a seed of doubt. I saw her face. I know that look…

 If only I could lose 5 pounds, I could fit into those pants!

I didn’t ever want to see that look in her eyes; that partial disgust and doubt of her own body.

It had nothing to do with wanting to be fashionable and every thing to do with just wanting to be normal and wear pants that fit. Why are we allowing the fashion industry to destroy the self-esteem and body image that we have worked so hard to instill in our girls? We pay for these clothes, shouldn’t they be made to fit our bodies not the other way around? The fashion industry works for us.

What are your thoughts on vanity sizing and unisex cuts in girls’ school uniforms?

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seattle school shooting,Bremerton Washington, Amina Bowman, Armin Jahir Elementary, NRA, gun discharge

Throat Punch Thursday,Seattle, school shooting, Washington, Amina Kocer-Bowman,  Armin Jahr Elementary School

Seattle school shooting

Seattle School Shooting ~ You read that right. In case you weren’t already terrified enough of letting your kids out of your sight after Anders Behring Breivik or Levi Aron, nothing like a Seattle school shooting to remind you. According to Bremerton police, Wednesday, 2/22/12, a gun was brought to a Armin Jahr Elementary, in a 9 year old’s backpack.

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Sandy Hook, Newtown shootings, Adam Lanza

Saturday was the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. I was backstage, watching from stage left as my daughters performed their final show. I wanted to be in as close proximity to my girls as possible. I half expected some deviant, somewhere to decide to commemorate the anniversary with his or her own massacre. This is who I have become since December 14, 2012. I am afraid and I can’t shake it. Sandy Hook changed my life. Saturday, my heart was heavy for the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook. The air was so thick I could barely breathe.

In our world, shootings happen frequently, so much so that it is no longer shocking. A crazed gun man walks into a post office, a disgruntled employee walks into his place of business, a religious zealot walks into a church, a long gunman walks into a mall or a theater, a jilted lover walks into a house…this happens all over the place, all the time but Sandy Hook was different it hit many of us where we live. Adam Lanza made us all feel vulnerable in a place where we already walk around like an open wound to the world; our children. He stole the one place we felt comfortable and safe leaving our children away from us; school.

Every morning when I drop my girls off at school, I am afraid that it might be the last time that I ever see them. Every time I hear a siren, I call the school to make sure everything is all right. If the girls are in a bad mood in the morning and we argue, I always rectify it before dropping them at school. I always hug them goodbye and I always tell them that I love them because I am terrified that something might happen and it might be the last time that we see one another and I don’t want my last words to them to be mean ones. The events that transpired that cold Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary did that to me. I know life goes on but my trust in the world has been broken and I am not sure that it can ever be mended.

For the rest of my life, my heart will stop when I hear a siren if my children are not in my line of sight. For the rest of my life, I will watch my children until they are all the way in the building. For the rest of my life, I will remember that my children are the most precious gift that life has given me and I will not take them for granted. For the rest of my life, I will not trust the world to protect our children. That is what Adam Lanza and his shooting spree has done to our world.

Children are not disposable. Human beings are not replaceable. No one needs a gun. Gun violence needs to stop and we need to prevent something like Sandy Hook from ever happening again.No parent should ever have to wonder if this is the last time they will see their child alive at morning drop off. We should not have to live our lives in fear. If you believe that the right to bear arms is more important that the lives of 26 people than we probably can’t be friends. Please pray for peace for the mothers and fathers of the Sandy Hook victims.

How has your perspective on life changed since Sandy Hook?

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Catholic school girl, nun

Catholic school girl gone Nun~ Is this something that I should be concerned with? I enrolled my little girls in Catholic school because 1) we are Catholic and I loved the spiritual aspect of it 2) I believe faith is instilled not learned 3) the test scores are substantially higher at the Catholic school compared to the public school she would be attending 4) the uniforms are A.dor.able!!!Everyone knows that. But I’ve been noticing that there is a kind of catholic school girl mentality that is seeping in…almost taking over my little girl. Everything is Jesus this and God made me that, which, don’t get me wrong, is sweet but my little catholic school girl seems to be metamorphosing into a little nun. That scares me a little bit.

catholic school girl

This is a Good Catholic School Girl

I am very happy that my little catholic school girl is so spiritual and finds such comfort in religion. The other day, she brought home a picture that she had drawn and it read, “God Created me!”. To which I replied, “Well, I think Daddy and I had something to do with it too. But yes, God did  bless us with you.” Her reply, ” Mommy, it wasn’t you. It was God.” She was resolute in her answer and that was that. I fully suspect that every time she does anything these days, save for beat on her little sister, she first asks herself…What WOULD Jesus do? I find it absolutely fabulous that she is concerned with the moral ramifications of what she does on a daily basis.  I am very proud of her. She is learning her prayers and hymns. Today, she sang in the church choir and presented the wine to the Father. I have never seen her look so proud. Even when she got her part in the Nutcracker last year , she wasn’t this excited. I couldn’t help but puff out my chest a bit and think to myself, Look at my kid. She is amazing. I understood that whole holier than thou saying.

Amazing little Catholic School Girl

But then she came home and set up a prayer station and insists that I must use her vial of holy water , that she brought home, to cross myself each night before our prayers. I suppose that it could be worse, she could go all Angelina on me and carry around a vial of blood. Yes. I did just say that my 6 year old carries around a vial of holy water like a drunk carries a flask of whiskey on his person at all times. I think this may be a bit extreme. Or perhaps, my little catholic school girl is planning on battling Vampires while I sleep. Or maybe she’s just trying to prove her theory that I am, in fact, a witch. Will I melt? Will I not melt? Who knows. Either way, how can I argue with my little girl when she devoutly kneels in front of her makeshift prayer station and prays for her Daddy to return safely from his business trip or for or house to sell. My little girl really is amazing. She’s certainly a better person than I am. But I can’t help being a little concerned about the accelerated speed at which she is embracing her faith. I fear that by next year she will be choosing her ordination habit.

Have you ever experienced this? Am I the only one? Am I over analyzing? I mean, honestly, I should be thrilled that she is embracing something positive, right? This is what I wanted. I think. I wanted my children to be spiritual and have a solid foundation in their faith. I guess I just never realized just how young children are when they start becoming who they will be. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s like ringing a bell. You can’t un-ring it. I guess I just thought I had more time before she chose her path in life but I feel like she’s already forming opinions and beliefs and that is amazing and a little bit scary to me. My little catholic school girl is growing up so fast.

 

Catholic school girl, nun

Extreme Catholic School Girl

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