Moms Dish: The Truth About Back to School Guilt

By GalTime Parenting Expert Jennifer Powell-Lunder, Psy.D.

No need to feel guilty

"The truth is, I couldn't get him out of the house quick enough! All I kept thinking about was that fresh pot of coffee and the peace and quiet I had missed."

She looked down and then back at me. I could not mistake the look of guilt on her face.

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"I know, I know, I must sound like the worst mom in the world. The truth is I love when they go back to school, I finally feel like I get my life back!"

I assured her I understood. But, this got me thinking. Although I am not a work at home or stay at home mom, how did I feel about back to school? Well, I have enjoyed the laid back feel of the summer but the stress of making sure my kids have stuff to do can times be overwhelming! Back to school for us means back to routines; back to structure and predictability, good old friends of mine. Of course there are some down sides too. The demands of work increase for both my husband and I. Weekends are once again dedicated to practices and games but at least we know the schedule.

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What about the other mother's I knew, how do they feel? So, I began to ask around and this is what I found out:

  1. Back to school for most means back to routine and reality. And speaking of reality, most of the moms I talked with acknowledged that by the time the summer came to an end, they were anxious for their kids to go back to the school routine. This even goes for the moms I know whose kids spent the summer away at camp. As one mom I know put it, "Sure, camp is great. They are away having fun and we get some time to ourselves. But, I would be lying if I told you I did not worry about them when they are there. I mean who knows, what goes on, and well, frankly I don't think I want to know! When they are at home at school I at least have a sense that I know where they are and what they are doing, at least most of the time."
  2. Most moms acknowledge they feel guilty and a little bit selfish that they actually look forward to sending their kids back to school. Well, moms, no need to feel guilty or selfish! You are not alone!
  1. Even moms who home school report back to school relief. "When I step into the role of teacher," one mom shared, "I am no longer Mom. I am their teacher. It is back to business. My kids understand the importance of their school work especially in what many consider a non-traditional approach to schooling. They are able to put aside the family issues such as sibling rivalry and focus on learning.
  1. There are some back to school struggles moms do not enjoy. "Homework is always a struggle in our home. I hate feeling like a nag, but sometimes I feel like if I don't remind them, they will never get it done. I have tried the thing where you make a promise not to nag, but it makes me too anxious. I just can't think about the consequences if they don't do it. It's just too competitive in school for kids these days to risk the consequences."
  1. Back to school marks a season of new beginnings and new opportunities. For many moms back to school represents a chance to 'seize the day." Much like January and February represent a time to fulfill New Year's resolutions, Back to School means back to business for most folks and moms are not shy about taking on new challenges and finding new opportunities.

Carpe Diem Ladies! The lazy, hazy days of summer have come to an end!

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