It Feels Like My Kid Is Never in School

My second grader handed me an order slip for her yearly school yearbook the other day, and I found myself asking, “isn’t it a little early to buy yearbooks?”

But then I realised it’s now March and spring is literally around the corner. And after spring comes summer. And then, of course, summer break. Summer break is only 3 months away! I swear every year she is in school, the school year seems shorter and shorter. It seems like every time I turn around there’s no school.

Here in Michigan, the average student is in class 180 days per year. I have always said that once kids enter kindergarten time flies, and that’s the dang truth.

Kids sail from one year to the next because the school year flies.

Children are in school for only half of the year, so for us working parents, we often find ourselves asking, “no school again?!” And then scramble to find child care. Even if we don’t scramble, we still have the thought. Our district just came off of having winter break and then the week after break, our school was closed for 2 days due to the snow. And in my opinion, it wasn’t even that bad to close the school, but, that may be because when I was a kid we had to wait and hope to see our district name appear on the TV (which never happened), and literally walk to the bus in a snowstorm.

School was rarely – OK, never – canceled due to the weather.

Since the reality is there are only 3 months of school left, and I will then have a 3rd grader (and OMG, how can that be?!), I went to our district calendar just to see which days I may have to take off from work for the remaining months. And that is when I realised something. Every single month from September to June, there is something on the calendar; whether it is a half-day of school, closures due to holidays, breaks (oh those damn week breaks), conferences, exams, professional development day, etc.

Which is exactly why working parents are many-a-times asking, “no school again?”

And now with the looming coronavirus, there is a possibility some schools across the nation will close their doors for the safety of everyone. I am sure non-working parents think the same because let’s be honest, school keeps kids from getting bored.

If you are sending your kids to a district other than the one you reside in, then you have no bus service. This means your elementary or high school kid will need to be picked up, usually between the hours of 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. and for the 9 – 5 worker-bee, this isn’t feasible. Especially if you have an hour-long commute, which by the way, is pretty common for most. And your child(ren) will need to be picked up by someone or go to latchkey. And in my experience, kids tend to dislike after school care because they are tired, hungry, and just want to go home at the end of the school day. Much like us working adults.

I could go on about how important it is to find the balance between juggling work, kids, and schedules but that would be an entirely different post. The balance is something I am desperately still trying to figure out.

180 days of school per year plus 104 weekend days per year adds up to parents requiring childcare for roughly 81 days. When you do the math it seems obvious that most parents do end up returning to the workforce. And while I have never been a full-time stay-at-home mum, I often wonder when the busyness will ease up.

In the meantime, I will count my daily stars for the remaining school days because my daughter loves school and being engaged. She loves learning and hanging with friends. She enjoys everything about school, except for after school care, which this working mum is still trying to figure out.

And next year her baby sister joins her and yes, that means I get to save money from not having a daycare cost. That also means my baby will be on the same schedule as her older sister and the time will go that much quicker. Very heavy sigh.

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