Published for Motherhood Matters on

Congratulations, moms! You made it through another summer.

Give yourself 10 points for every vacation, day trip, swim lesson, movie or game party, family reunion (20 points if yours was particularly taxing), and any other summer happening you deem point-worthy.

Add 50 points for each of your kids and 25 points for each of your kids’ friends or cousins if they inhabited your house more than 41 percent of the time. Take off one point for each time you wished your kids, kids’ friends or their cousins inhabited a different planet.

If your point balance is negative, creatively recalculate. All moms deserve a high number.

Convert your accumulated points into a budget-friendly dollar amount and schedule a pedicure. The ultra-organized moms, whose back-to-school shopping was finished by the end of last year’s after-Christmas sales, may actually be able to have their pedicures within the next few days.

The rest will have zero time for such frivolities until after school starts but are definitely permitted to cast envious glares in the general direction of any freshly-pedicured mom.

Complete remaining tasks on your back-to-school list. Pronto. These might include but are in no way limited to dental appointments, shots, meet-the-teacher visits, filling out 452 forms per kid, and shopping for school supplies and clothes.

If you run out of time or money to replace jeans and backpacks that have sprouted unsightly holes, consider using duct tape. It comes in a variety of fashionable colors these days and should hold up for quite some time.

Drive to a grocery store that is open 24 hours because heaven knows when you’ll finally be finished with everything else. Purchase all the food necessary to make a hearty breakfast, fill lunch boxes and bake special treats for after school. Toss a few boxes of tissues in your cart before checking out.


Drag yourself and any teenage kids out of bed. Greet any younger kids, who will have been dressed and ready to go since 4:30 a.m., at the breakfast table. Decide the hearty breakfast will have to wait and grab the cold cereal. Remind everyone how to get to their classrooms and to be extra nice to teachers and the new kids. Especially the new kids.

Hug your kids. Kiss them, even if they think they’re too old. Tell them you love them and to have a fabulous first day of school. Say good-bye.

Resume regular activities.

Cry as needed.

Some moms will cry because their oldest has just walked into kindergarten, others because their youngest is now a senior in high school. Moms of preschoolers might cry because their kids are still too young for school and they could use a break, and many moms will cry tears of pure delight that the kids are finally back in school.

Freshly-pedicured moms are not immune from crying.

Offer your kids treats and a listening ear after school. Be prepared to hear the tough things. One of your kids might feel invisible at a new high school, another drop school supplies all over the junior high hallway, and yet a third might not understand when the elementary gym teacher says, “Grapes,” he actually means, “Gather round.”

Distribute tissues when necessary.

Tell your kids how much better the next days and weeks will be. They will undoubtedly make friends, stash school supplies more securely in backpacks, and learn the gym teacher’s food-based vocabulary.

Explain to your kids that even though you can’t always be with them to stop unpleasant things from happening, someone who loves them best of all will always have their backs and be there for them to come home to. No matter what.

Remind yourself your best is enough.


Dream of your upcoming pedicure.