Back To School Crap

Posted by: , September 8, 2009 in 1:39 pm

backpack Back To School CrapThe lazy days of summer are gone and the Back To School industry has arrived with all of the crap that goes with it.  You can’t just send your child on the first day of school anymore with the clothes on their back.  It seems like days of preparation are needed.  First you’ve got to get all your school supplies.  I don’t know about your school but we had about 20 items that were needed for my 7 year old!  Did he really need 10 glue sticks for the first day of school?  8 “strong plastic” folders?  Eraser board markers?  A clip board?  And then there’s the enticement of a new backpack, new lunchbox, new thermos, etc.  Because how can you put all these brand spanking new supplies into last year’s backpack!  (Don’t tell anyone but we did.)

Now you’ve lugged all this stuff home and you’ve got to label it.  There is a huge industry out there of cutesy labels for purchase to make your life supposedly easier.  Is it that much easier to order stickers online, wait for them to arrive, and then adhere them to all of the stuff you just bought?  Can’t you let your kid practice writing their name a few times in permanent marker?  That’s what we do!

They say that Back to School spending has declined because of the economy, but you wouldn’t know it from all of the ads, articles and other “helpful” school preparation lists that are thrown our way.

Then there’s the forms.  You’re supposed to show up with various permission slips that you accessed from the school website and if you don’t they’ll be sent home in your kids backpack with instructions to return immediately (I get this “reminder” every year). Parent volunteer forms, athletic team forms, allergy forms, medication forms, field trip permission forms… Each school is different but you’d be hard pressed to find a school that doesn’t have any.  Sure, I get that these things are necessary, but ever hear the term overkill?  My son’s school requires a bicycle permission form?  If I send my kid to school riding his bike, he obviously has permission from me.

And the clothes of course.  Even though it’s in the eighties this week on the East Coast, you will still find all sorts of fall and winter fashions at the mall.  They make you feel that if you don’t grab your child’s wardrobe by September, you will be left out in the cold.  Literally.

Once you’ve got your child all dressed and propped up with all the proper gear they can head off for classes.  That’s when they want you.  Be a class parent, come be a lunch aid, sign up as a library volunteer, every school has their own demands which most parents are happy to oblige.  If they have the time! If you’re a working mother, forget it, the guilt is endless and if you don’t work, you’re expected to kick it up a notch.  My mother claims that when I was young, the demands on parents were a lot less and I believe her.

Back to School is a fun time for kids and parents, but more and more I’m nostalgic of the simpler times – when pencils, paper and a brown bag were enough.


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