The department stores have been ready since the middle of May. The clothing catalogues have been ready since early June. The teachers have been ready for close to 72 hours now. How about you, mom? Are you ready for BACK-TO-SCHOOL?
Here’s a quick quiz to find out
how much gin to buy:
Clothing! Are you ready?
(a) Your school doesn’t require uniforms, but you do. Your children’s outfits for the next three months are chosen, monogrammed, pressed, and shrink-wrapped (with alternates for unexpected nippy weather) in a special digitized wardrobe that automatically yanks garments out of rotation if anyone in (ugh) public school is seen wearing them.
(b) Each kid owns enough clothes to go all week without wearing anything with holes, obvious stains, or beer slogans.
(c) You really need to stop stalling and get the winter clothes sorted and put away.
Lunches! Are you ready?
(a) You spent the summer perfecting the spreadsheets that tell you when to place bulk orders at Whole Foods so that the everyday staple pantry items (quinoa, bulgur, kefir, quingur, bulfir, and kefoa, which is pronounced “feh”) dovetail with the seasonal produce you expect to harvest from your garden, which you water using barrels that collect your hot yoga sweat, which, not to brag, is quite organic.
(b) You have a general idea of what your kids like to eat, and you try to pack it for lunch. If they don’t gobble up every bit of their packed lunch, they can always fill up on PBJ when they get home.
(c) You give yourself a gold star every time the school doesn’t send home a note saying, “Braedonica only had a pickled cocktail onion and a baggie of dog food in her lunch again. Please remember nutrition matters for young brains, sadface!”
By gold star, you mean “martini.”
Transportation! Are you ready?
(a) Yes, there is a bus that will pick up your child and bring her home, but, chérie, yellow is just not her color. So you’ve hired a dedicated Lyft driver for the morning and afternoon commute. He only drives an Audi, though, and that’s how it’s going to stay until a certain little offspring nudges that GPA up above 3.8.
(b) You’re going to be the mom waiting at the bus stop in a robe, or occasionally that mom driving frantically to school in a robe. So you’re not morning people, so big deal.
(c) You are seriously considering buying an RV and just living behind the school’s swing set until next June, because you’re really, really, really not morning people.
Homework! Are you ready?
(a) Per the training your child has received since he was at four months’ gestation, he doesn’t even want to play, snack, rest, or goof off until homework is completed, double-checked, initialed by both parents, autoclaved, and stowed away safely in the lightweight titanium binder etched with “For Your Consideration, Magister.”
(b) Your kids know they are expected to keep up with their work. They also know that Mom will forget to ask if they have homework half the time, and they only really have to do it when Daddy comes home before bedtime, because Daddy Always Remembers. Doing a little over half their homework earns them a solid C-, which is their version of the American dream.
(c) You know what we do for homework around here? We endure. That’s what we do for homework. Initial that, pal.
Extracurricular activities! Are you ready?
(a) It’s so hard, isn’t it? You beg and plead for the children to just relax and be kids, or at least choose an after-school club that is just plain fun, but every year it’s the same thing: “Motherrr, we simply can’t turn our backs on our commitment to fostering functional STEM literacy among the unwed pregnant cat population. Be the change you wish to see, Motherrr!” they say.
You worry, but you’re also proud. So proud.
(b) Each kid gets to do one thing, and that’s it. There’s only so much extra driving and extra check-writing you can stand.
(c) Extracurricular? As in besides school? They want us to do a whole other thing? Does weeping quietly in a corner count as extracurricular? Because we can do that.
Traditional Beginning-of-the-year Teacher Gift Ideas! Are you ready?
(a) Wait, what?
(b) Come on.
(c) Kill me.
If you answered mostly (a), you are so ready, it’s already next year, so why not stay home and read back issues of GOOP by the light of your own intense awesomeness?
If you answered mostly (b), you are like 90% of the population, so relax.
If you answered mostly (c), you can hang around with my awful kids, and we’ll all feel better.
A version of this post ran in 2016. So sue me.