It’s the night before the first day of school.  While the anticipation of tomorrow morning is palpable, the preparation for it is drastically different than it was six years ago.

THEN – Haircuts were done a week prior to the beginning of school at a children’s salon, while the kids sat in race cars and watched cartoons.

NOW – One child had a frantic haircut 10 minutes ago in the kitchen while dinner was being served.  The other two were told to brush their hair in the morning.

THEN – School supplies were purchased in July according to the list, as well as anything ever made by Crayola.  Lie awake at night stressed that I may have bought the wrong markers.

NOW – Children were told to root through the bins of old supplies at home, and I just now realized that I don’t think Maggie’s pencil cases came home at the end of last year.  I’m not concerned.

THEN – School supplies were packed lovingly into brand new pencil cases and backpacks to match their personalities.

NOW – Rocks and sand were dumped out of last year’s backpacks, along with something that may have been chocolate at one point.

THEN – I spent hours deciding on the perfect design for their Mabel’s Labels.  I applied them to every school supply the day they arrived in the mail.  Refuse to let kids help because I’m a control freak and they won’t do it right.

NOW – I threw the pack of labels to the kids and told them to “Label your stuff because I’m not buying replacements in October when it costs a fortune!  I’m not made of money!”

THEN – A back to school gift was waiting for the kids when they came home from their first day.

NOW – I might buy myself something pretty from Indigo while drinking coffee and smiling broadly.

THEN – I tried to put on a brave face as I sent my snowflakes off to their first day of school.  Spent the day pacing by the phone.

NOW – Try to conceal giddiness and hide evidence of aforementioned trip to Indigo.

THEN – Spend two weeks gradually adjusting bedtimes prior to school so that they get on a proper sleep schedule.

NOW – They’re playing video games in the other room at 8 o’clock and I’m okay with that.

THEN – I was excited to pack their little lunch bags with cute characters on them.  Made homemade cookies.

NOW – I tried (unsuccessfully) to bully my friend Louise into making an extra set of lunches for my kids (and deliver them!) every day.  Ponder making cookies.  Eat entire chocolate bar instead.

THEN – Purchase two sets of running shoes for each child from children’s boutique.  Take them for ice cream to celebrate successful shopping trip.

NOW – Make husband smell their running shoes from last year to make sure they will be allowed in the school.  Make mental note to cash out RRSP next week and take them shoe shopping.

Starting tomorrow I’m a parent of a fifth-grader and two fourth-graders.  The bloom is off the rose.  Just imagine how lackluster my involvement with their schooling will be by the end of the year if it’s this uninspiring on September 1st.  Does the PTA give detention?


(This post originally ran on Don’t Lick the Deck.)


Tara is gainfully employed by the toughest 3 female bosses she has ever had (well except for that one accounting manager who hated her). The pay sucks, but the cuddles are awesome. She drinks a lot of coffee, uses humour as a defense mechanism, and lives in fear of what lurks in her backyard. Keep Tara company on her unfortunately-named blog Don’t Lick the Deck, where she talks about her husband Nerdguy; her 10 year old and twin 8 year old girls; parenting autism and ADHD; and her inability to shop without creating disaster. She is regular contributor to who have not yet filed a restraining order.


  1. Bahaha!! My oldest son only just started preschool this year and “smiling broadly” is the perfect way to describe how I looked when I realized that I’ll have the whole day with one child ALL YEAR. It’s such a weird feeling! Thanks for posting!! 🙂

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