Hey there, fellow mama. The new school year is already here for some or just around the corner! Are you ready? If you’re like me, and many others I’ve spoken with, this more than any other year is a bittersweet back to school season. Starting a new academic year in 2021 is unlike any other year we as parents have encountered. The world is still grappling with a pandemic. Families across the DC metro area have made major life changes. Many children have been physically out of school for at least a year. My two daughters haven’t set foot inside of a school since March 2020, and my toddler son doesn’t remember a world where his sisters aren’t always home. For the past 18 months, the literal 24/7 care of our school aged children has taken a toll on parents. And yet, as we look towards the start of a new academic year, I can’t help but feel this bittersweet back to school tension as my emotions bounce between joy and sorrow and anxiety. We’ve been anticipating this next step in our return to normalcy…and yet, I don’t feel totally ready. Do you feel the same?
Nervous About What Lies Ahead
Balancing This Bittersweet Back To School Season
You are not alone for feeling many conflicting emotions right now. Try having a conversation with your children about this, as they too are almost certainly trying to make sense of these complicated feelings! Validate their feelings, and acknowledge that it is perfectly normal to feel more than one way about heading back to school. I love the principle of replacing “but” with “and” when having a hard conversation. Don’t dismiss any of your child’s (or your!) feelings, but live in the tension of them all. You can be scared AND joyfully anticipate new experiences for your children as we navigate this new normal. Take a deep breath, hug those babies tight, and know you aren’t alone in however your heart is processing this season. May we all learn to accept and embrace all of our complicated emotions in this bittersweet back to school season of 2021.