Oh the joy, and the terror. Not unlike children, parents have to ease into the transition of going back to school.
Don't get me wrong - I love having the kids back on a schedule. I think they are ready to get back to some structure after a long, basically structureless summer, but it also means that I have to get back on a schedule too. The lazy summer nights of ordering pizza and curling up and watching movies together are over.
Now, we have the evening routine to contend with - homework, baths, books, a reasonable bedtime. There's also the preparation for the next day - packing lunches and book bags, laying out clothes. By the time it is all over with, the last thing I want to do is sit down at my computer and write, knowing in just a few short hours my alarm goes off and the craziness starts again.
The morning routine is almost more difficult in some ways because it is done under the duress of the clock. Getting sleepy children out of bed and getting them to dress, make beds, eat breakfast and brush their teeth makes me feel like a drill sergeant. Somehow, in the middle of all this chaos, I'm supposed to get dressed for work, put on makeup and fix my hair. By the time I drop them off at school and am on my way to work, I'm already exhausted. Sometimes it amazes me that my shoes match one another (although on one recent occasion I looked down in horror and realized I had two different shoes, but that's another story).
Luckily, I have a great nanny who helps in the afternoons - picking the girls up from school, taking them to their many activities, things that unfortunately no parent in television news can ever manage given the fact that the news is on at 6 every night.
This too shall pass. I know in a few short weeks my girls will know what day they have P.E., and what day they get chicken nuggets for lunch. I will hopefully know how to spell their teachers' names, and may even have all of the field trips listed neatly on the family calendar. And that's when I'll wonder, how did I ever get through a summer without structure?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Monday.