Prayers have been answered!
The first day of school is here. Praise the glory that is the No. 2 pencil and all hail the college-ruled notebook and three-ring binder.
I will admit that Aug. 12 seems really, really early to be starting a new school year and I have some guilt issues that I’m this excited to see my daughter go bye-bye for seven long, beautiful hours a day. But then I remind myself that school ended May 22 and, presto, I’m no longer feeling bad about doing the back-to-school happy dance.
For those of you curious about what my happy dance looks like, it’s a combination of a jig with a little polka influence with some Bee Gee’s “Saturday Night Fever” disco and a hip-hop influence that says, “This girl’s still got it.” If I’m really feeling it, like my back doesn’t hurt and my knees aren’t making that weird clicking sound (what’s up with that?), I bust out a cartwheel.
I think I look cool doing it. My husband disagrees and says my “dance” is not only incredibly painful for him to watch, but also scares the dogs and rattles the house’s foundation. Whatever. I think he’s just jealous because, really, who wouldn’t be? When I do my hip-hop inspired Running Man move it’s, it’s … well, it’s something else, that’s for sure.
The only thing that has the power to kill my happy dance is parents who on Day One break some very basic back-to-school rules. This is why I, (whose hip now hurts from landing my cartwheel on my butt) in the spirit on continuing education, will now share with you my top four back-to-school rules.
Rule No. 1: Do not bring the teacher a gift on the first day. I see this happening every year and it’s in a word: awkward. I don’t care if it’s a Starbucks skim mocha latte with extra foam or a cookie cake. (In the “yes, this really happened” department: One year a mom brought a cookie cake to a teacher and the icing was a picture of the teacher’s face. Yikes!)
Gifting the teacher on the first day of school says way too many things about the parent doing it. Who’s ready for a pop quiz?
Gifting the teacher means:
A) You’re the worst kind of suck up.
B) You’re letting the teachers know you’re willing to reward them for favors.
C) You’re a show off and are using the first day as a way to signal to all the other parents that you’re a Super Mom.
D) All of the above.
If you picked D, go to the head of the class because you just got an A+.
Rule No. 2: Do not turn the first day of school into a photo shoot featuring your child. I get it, some parents want to publish a coffeetable book on their kid’s first day of second grade. But don’t be the parent that asks the teacher to participate in your pictorial to such an extent that it’s creating chaos.
When my son was in the fourth grade there was a dad with two cameras (each with a telephoto lens) around his neck directing the teacher as he clicked away. It was all, “Mrs. Williams, can you lean in closer to Katie so I can get another angle? Okay, now I need you to move your head to the right, pick up a textbook and pretend you’re showing it to Katie.” On and on it went until I stood in front of his cameras. (Someone had to do it.)
Rule No. 3: Do not have your mom sorority, clique, gossip girl group, whatever you want to call it, block the forward motion of other families walking into the school because your collection of awesome friends has decided to have a “I haven’t seen you since Bar Method class yesterday” reunion in the foyer of the building.
Ladies, please take all that love to the parking lot and let other parents and their children proceed into the school without having to leap over you or accidentally on purpose hit your Lululemons with a Marvel Superhero’s backpack.
Rule No. 4: If you have a position in PTO/PTA or are a room parent that requires the help of volunteers, please — and I’m begging you to take medication if you have to — resist the urge to begin your campaign of volunteer shaming on the very first day. Go ahead and put a flier in kids’ backpacks heralding “exciting volunteer opportunities for the school year,” but for the love of all that is holy do not start guilt tripping or doing any subtle browbeating as in, “Wow, it seems like I never saw you last year? Did you do any volunteering at all?”
Now parents let’s follow these rules and make it a great first day!