Back to School is kicking my butt. Is it kicking yours too?

Mayday. Mayday. 
I am waving my white flag. 
I surrender. 
Me, as Wonder Woman at age 4. 
I am trying to channel my inner Wonder Woman, 30 years later.  I could use a lot of Wonder Woman's powers these days. Wonder-Mel....where are you?

Back to School is officially kicking my a$$.
And, it's doing the same to my girls.
We have officially finished the first 4 weeks of school. 
So, 1 month in and things are still a disaster. 
The girls LOVE school. They love their teachers.
Everyday when I pick them up, they are DONE. 
Arguing. Fighting. Nagging each other. Tears. Whining. Complaining.

Seriously. Who's kids are these & what have you done with my girls?!?!?

We have never had this much "drama" going back to school.
The past few weeks, I have been wondering why this year is so different. 
I realized that they are in school for longer than they are used to.
Last year, Claire was in preschool 3 days a week (in the morning) for 2.5 hours.
This year, she is in Transitional Kindergarten 5 days a week for  3.5 hours a day....in the afternoon.
It is a much longer day for her. TK is much, much, much more academic than Preschool.
Poor Claire is just exhausted when she gets home.
This just confirms 100% that we did the right thing on sending her to Transitional Kindergarten rather than Kindergarten. (You can read my post here on why we decided to do TK.)
At least we have done something right. Ha!

Kate is now in 1st grade which means she is at school for 6 hours everyday instead of 3 hours like Kindergarten. And, 1st grade is academically more intense than Kindergarten, so she is just plain exhausted also. In Kinder, she had monthly homework packets. They were super easy, no big deal. This year, she has weekly homework packets & needs to do assignments each day.
We tried doing them at home after we pick up Claire, but Kate just wants to play & is distracted by Claire, so because we have a crazy pick up schedule & I have 45 minutes between Kate getting out & Claire getting out, we have been doing Kate's homework in the car while we wait for Claire. So far that has worked this week, but I feel bad that Kate has to do her homework in the car.
Elementary School is a whole new ball game compared to Preschool.
Gone are the easy-breezy afternoons filled with baking, crafts & playdates.
 I thought since I am teaching less classes this year that I would have more time to fun things with my kids. Ummm, NO.
Depending on the day, I am done anywhere between 12:00 and 12:45. 
Then, I have to go get Luke.
Then, we have to drive & pick up Kate from school.
Then, we wait at school until Claire is out at 3:05. 
By the time I get everyone loaded back in the car & drive home, it is 3:30 by the time we get home.
So, basically, Luke and I spend about 2-2.5 hours waiting around or sitting in the car each afternoon. 
Not what I was envisioning. Now I understand why moms feel like they are taxi cab drivers.
And, poor Luke. Poor 3rd kid.  Stuck in the car. Thank you, Jesus that he is a happy go-lucky kid.
This past month hasn't fazed him one bit. 
We could all stand to learn a little something from Luke.....Just go with the flow!

I am tired from teaching 125 7th graders each morning. 
My brain is on over load learning about the new Common Core and implementing it into my classroom.
I am tired from waiting around & doing pick ups for 2 hours each afternoon.
 Everyday I brace myself for World War 3 at my house from the hours of 3:30-7:30. 
I am tired & have little patience during this time.
My poor girls are also exhausted. They bicker & push each others buttons.
They are having epic meltdowns that I have never seen them have before. 
 And, they are hungry because they haven't been eating the lunches I pack them (so frustrating...they even help pick out what they want)
Luke isn't napping as much because we are on the go.
And, he is on the go. He is a busy, busy, guy. Thank God he is happy.

Each evening I find myself counting down the minutes until Kevin gets home, until wine-thirty and until bedtime. 
That is not how I want to end each day with my kids...waiting for them to go to bed. But, that is how I have felt the last few weeks & that sucks.

I would have thought that by a month into school, we would have gotten into a routine & flow by now. 
My house is a DISASTER.
Decorations from Claire's Tangled birthday party are still up.
I have 4 loads of laundry that need to be folded. 
A dishwasher that needs to be unloaded.
But, I am too busy being a referee to the girls to keep up with any of the house stuff.

Thank you for letting me vent. I didn't mean to be so complain-y. 
Just keeping it real.
Life is good,  it has just been a rough re-entry for us.
Hoping this little season passes soon.

Anyone else having a rough time getting back into the swing of things this school year?
Please tell me I am not alone in this. 
And send wine. 


  1. We have been having the same issue. Gabriel is doing pre-k (which is like TK here) Monday-Friday from 9-2 and Claire does pre-school T/TH 9-12. They are exhausted and every afternoon is a horrible, horrible time for us. It's a good thing I'm already pregnant with #3 or I'd be reconsidering ;)

  2. Oh my word, how we're having the same issue over here!! And I know before we all get used to it, it'll all be over again... that's almost just as scary!

  3. Yes, kicking my ass too. You are not alone. Except that I have moved on to harder things like G&Ts starting at 4:45...thanks for keeping it real, Mel!!

  4. Yes, kicking my ass too. You are not alone. Except that I have moved on to harder things like G&Ts starting at 4:45...thanks for keeping it real, Mel!!

  5. I hear you LOUD and CLEAR!! And I have been doing this longer than you! We have a Junior in high school and a 4th grader. I NEVER look forward to school starting. I never have. I don't voice that to my kids, of course, because they both LOVE school, but I really have a hard time letting go of the care-free days of summer. I consider myself a very organized person but this year in particular, it has taken me longer to get back into a routine. The 2nd week in, my 4th grader was up until 11:30pm one night getting ready for his first oral report of the school year. ELEVEN.THIRTY! Two days later was his first re-structure day of the school year and neither my husband or myself remembered it was an early release day and the poor guy had to call and ask if we forgot we were supposed to pick him up! NEVER has that happened before and NEVER will it happen again...the GUILT!! That told me right then and there that I needed to kick it into gear. Yikes! I remember when my daughter was your girls ages, her first grade teacher warned us about the 1st grade melt down. The switch from Kinder to 1st is a BIG jump. So, it's completely normal and I hear it lasts anywhere from 1-2 months. And perhaps that's true for Claire too...or maybe she is just feeling what Kate's going through (sympathy pangs?). One thing we've always done that worked well for us was to let them get home from school and have about 45 minutes to have a snack and watch some TV or play outside before starting homework. Would that work for the girls? Could you give Claire some "homework" to do while Kate's doing hers? I'm sure you've already thought of everything but I just thought I'd throw it out there! Hang in there!! This too really shall pass : ). Hugs to you and imagine me clinking a glass of wine to yours!!

  6. Hugs!! I don't have kids so can't feel you 100% but lady, keep on truckin' and you will hopefully get into your groove!

    My parents would always tell my brothers and I that they felt like taxi drivers as well - shipping us to various sporting practices, dance recitals, after school things, to school, from school. I am EXHAUSTED even thinking about it.

    I will be thinking of you and hope you find your new normal soon!!!

  7. Oh ya...I am struggling too. I have two in elementary, one in middle and one in high school. Plus 3 different sports in 3 different cities and a toddler that as you said "praise God" is happy and doesn't mind sitting in the car from 2-8 most days (with a break here and there). Plus school pictures, 3 different back to school nights and sometimes we have 12 games on the weekends!

    It's so hard to be a mama. It would be a lot easier for me if my kids didn't do competitive sports (I won't even tell you how much time and money that devours) but it's their passion and as their mama...I just gotta do it.

    I'm always exhausted and have been pretty down the past couple weeks (Nate should have started Kinder) but deep down...I focus on being Joyful! God gave me these awesome kids and I am trying to enjoy every moment. Someday...the house will be quiet and the car will be empty. That will be a very, very sad day.

    Embrace the Crazy my friend - it will be gone too soon!!!!

  8. Girl! Vent! Let it all out! And I will send wine. And a candle that smells yummy. You need both.

  9. I feel for you, but have no advice since I'm at home with a 11 month old and 2 year old! The good news is that it can't get worse, right? It has to get better at some point! Hang in there mama! And TGIF! :-)

  10. car pick up line is the WORST! Seriously. If the buses actually didn't take an hour to get my kids home, I'd make them ride. I leave my house at 2:00 PM to get in Jayce's car line at 2:20. Then I go straight to Jaina's school and get in line by 2:35. Then I wait until the line starts moving at 3:20. We get home at 3:50. I have to let Jocelyn nap from 11-2 because there is no way she'd make it through two hours of car line and stay asleep in the car.

  11. Have you ever considered homeschooling? I taught in a public school until my son was born. Now I homeschool him and love it. (I never thought I would homeschool!) The whole time I was reading your post I was thinking, "she should just homeschool her kids!" :)

  12. Honey, hang in there. It's an adjustment FOR SURE. The girls will make it, month 2 will be better. You can do it! (With wine.)

  13. Is that picture of the girls from today? :( The whole time I kept thinking, THAT's what happened and maybe why you didn't come over! And 1st to 2nd is a big jump, too so hearing about the Big Book of Homework probably had you really looking forward to it ;) From one taxi cabber to another, you are not alone and this will get better! Loved what Tricia said above because I live by that exact statement-it's so very, very true and it completely grounds me in my weakest of moments...Embrace the Crazy for it will be gone too soon!

  14. Oh my yes. Yes yes yes. I keep wondering if our similar issues are due to our move two months ago, but we are experiencing the same. Last night I happily embraced the Mel Pizza and Eine in Friday night plan. Raised a glass of Syrah! And....ordered a fall candle from Cost Plus. :). Hang in. You aren't alone. And in my humble opinion, you don't have to embrace and savor this time----it is crazy and hard many days and frankly----a time I won't miss

  15. I know this is a tough season. I have 3 kids in elementary so homework and after school activities are all consuming. I realized a few years back that this is what happens after working so hard to be good all day. My kids dont want to get in trouble in school, so they are perfect all day long. They get home and suddenly everything they have been holding in all day comes out and is directed at their siblings. It will get better!

  16. Skoglund5 is absolutely correct! My MIL told me the very same thing when my boys were younger and we were having these issues. The tiredness and crankiness does get easier as they get older, but if they are in sports etc.. the crazy schedule doesn't really slow down especially during the school year. In our house, an early bedtime really seems to help for BOTH
    the adults and kids! I used to stay up until 11pm most nights, watching tv,
    catching up on cleaning, and surfing the net and or checking email and then wondered why I was so tired the next day by the afternoon. Now I'm in bed most weekdays by 9:30 or 10 pm. This doesn't usually mean that I'm asleep by then but I read or just relax and slow down. My boys are in bed most nights by 10pm and they are 13 and 16 yr olds. I know this isn't the answer for everyone and it doesn't work for out every night for us if we have a busy evening that day. A few years ago I even pushed back bedtime by 15 to 20 min when I noticed they were more tired than normal. Just an idea but you want try that too. Trust me, it does get easier!

  17. OMG! Thank you SO much for this post! I have to laugh at that picture of the girls, that is hilarious. I feel your pain. I literally get anxiety driving home from work thinking about the storm that is about to hit, the storm meaning homework, dinner, baths, fighting, bed time. Not to mention by the time that is all said and done the house looks like a tornado went thru and half the time I am too exhausted to do anything about it. I keep telling myself it wont be like this forever and it will be so boring to have a quiet and clean house when they are older and gone but just feeling like I had some sort of control or a schedule would be wonderful :) Good luck, we are all in this game together and we are doing the best we can! You are not alone :)

  18. I read this post on my bloglovin app last night and knew I needed to get on the computer so I could comment! Holy heck! I have NEVER been more tired in my life and I don't even have kids! This teaching thing is absolutely the most rewarding and exhausting thing I have ever done. I can hardly stay away past 8 on a week night and am sleeping 12 hours on the weekends! Even when I was in accounting I wasn't this exhausted! I feel like I am go-go-go all day everyday and there are not enough hours in the day. Here's to hoping for a slow-down in the near future!

  19. I am right there! I just finished week 4 of my senior year of college, and oh. my. goodness. My apartment is a disaster because I'm never home (and don't have time to clean when I am), books are everywhere, laundry is in piles instead of in the hampers, I have 3 planners going right now... This semester is starting to feel like a runaway train.

  20. I don't have kids, but I'm a first year middle school teacher and I have never felt so overwhelmed in my life. Back to school is kicking my butt too! I just keep hoping that eventually I'll find a routine that works, and I know you will too!

  21. you are SO not alone. I am with you 100%. Hugs and lots of prayers coming your way.

  22. I am really happy you posted this because I love that it shares real life!

    We have the opposite problem with school. My boys are used to getting a lot of activity so all the sitting all day makes them super insanely energetic after school. We have to make sure to get tons of exercise in or our house is miserable. It took awhile to figure this out when they started kindergarten.

    Fortunately with year round school, we have 9 weeks of craziness and then we get a break. During breaks we run and run and run them!

  23. Yes I find that those first few hours between getting out of school and dinner are so hard. I have found that if we have a routine after school that really helps.....clean out backpacks, wash hands and then snack. I also have the snack waiting on the table so it is ready when we walk in the door. Maybe you could have one ready for the girls to eat in the car on the way home. My little one needs some down time after school so I make her lay on the could with a show on.

    I am no longer hard on myself if we have pizza, breakfast, or sandwiches for dinner. To make up for that I make Sunday night dinners special.

    Good luck!

    Good luck!!

  24. I'm in the same spot as you, 1st grade and PK, OMG! plus extra curricular activities.... I'm dying here, and what about the lunches??? I even send a Nutella Sandwich and didin't eat it! ggrrhhhh....
    Hopefully it'll get better....

  25. You are NOT alone! Kinder and first grade are light years apart in their expectations and it's a CRAZY HARD adjustment for everyone. I am so grateful that we have busing here in GA because on the few days I've done the car rider line I thought I was in purgatory! One thing that has helped A TON and I would recommend trying...I don't even attempt homework with my first grader until my 4 year old is in bed. My 4 year old is in bed at 7:45 and then my big boy and I do homework (usually 15 or so minutes) and then we read together for 15-20 minutes, pray, and then turn out the light by 8:30. Hugs, Mel!

  26. You are not alone! It is so hard! But it WILL pass quickly...I try to spend 15-20 minutes when we get home with my undivided attention on the kids...playing if possible...so hard to muster up, but so beneficial to the kids...and ME! Makes a huge difference in the rest of our day. As far as the house goes....whatevs! It can wait. Good luck! Praying the next 4 weeks are smoother than the last.

  27. I make my kids play in their own rooms and they are not allowed to play with each other if they are fighting. They hate it and want to play with each other again.

    I think doing homework in the car is a great idea, one less thing to do when you get home.

    I would have some snacks in the car, then they will have food in them and be a bit happier by the time you get home.

    Good Luck, it will get better.



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