EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Back to School Advice from our Readers

We asked you, our lovely and talented thin readers to share your best tips for coping with this very emotional time for mothers and their children.  As usual, you did not disappoint!  Here are a few of the tips we received. They are not necessarily the best tips, we are far too busy to read every piece of nonsense that crosses our desks, but they were our first!

Jacqueline Thompson

Madeline and Blakely’s Mom

I am still trying to cope with my babies being in school all day. The house is so quiet and I miss them so much!!!! I miss our games and our songs, I miss our crafts and our adventures! I miss our naps and our snacks, I miss their little warm snuggly cuddle bunny hugs, I miss their sticky kisses--- I miss everything about them and I am so jealous that the school gets to spend all this time quality time with them!

I know that school is important for their education, obviously, but also their socialization so I pull up my big girl panties and suck it up.

I also take a little nip now and then just to take the edge off.

The hours still loom large though and I spend more time than I want to with my good friend Jim Beam.   I tried hobbies but none worked out; needlepoint was too dangerous, Japanese too complicated and collecting too dusty.  I usually pass out at around noon for a couple of hours but the mornings drag.

I am getting better though and finding more uses for my time.  For example, yesterday I put 5 pairs of platform shoes in the dryer and gave my cat a perm. The shoes made it sound as if my babies were here in the house playing and the perm made my cat beautiful.

It’s a start!

Madeleine Chenier Former Investment Banker now SAHM

I became pregnant with Ruby and Scarlett when I was 40 so you can imagine it was quite a lifestyle change for us!

Back to School time is always hectic for me but I discovered that if I get to the school about 6:30-7:00 a.m.  or so I don’t have to get in the drop-off line up with all the other moms. I knock on the door until the janitorial staff sees me, I point to my kids and then rush off so that I don’t get a parking ticket. I reverse the process at night.

The school administrator constantly telephones to tell me that janitors are not babysitters. That incenses me to no end! It is an out and out disgrace that they discount the abilities of their janitorial staff.  If I trust them to look after my kids then they should too, I frankly think there are some racist overtones here and I continue to leave my kids with the janitors as a message of solidarity.

The extra hours every day leave me more ME time—time I desperately, desperately need. Time to get manis and pedis, time to have lunch with old friends, time to go to the Howard Johnson’s hotel bar near the airport, time for ME.


Charlize Gordon-Lewis

Mommy Blogger

Aidan my beloved sweet light of my life started school last year and it was terrifying for me. I was so scared for him-- he is such a delicate little creature. I was worried that the teachers wouldn’t be kind enough to him, that he wouldn’t have enough friends and I was REALLY worried about him coming into contact with peanuts after I read that there are approx 54 million schoolchildren in the US and each year an astonishing 100-140 of them die from peanut induced anaphylaxis!!!

I was tortured with visions of my sweet adorable boy writhing around on the floor in agony as his throat slowly closed,  choking to death right in front of the teacher as she stands there doing nothing, absolutely nothing.

I decided to take the law into my own hands and I went to school every day and checked the lunch bags of every single child in the lunchroom. If a lunch had anything that had come into contact with peanuts I would throw the item out (as well as the gloves and tongs used to handle the item) and send the offending child home with a note to his mother sarcastically thanking her for trying to kill my boy.(I’m a writer.)

Some mothers who don’t care about children complained about me so I was banned from the lunchroom but undeterred I started checking lunches at the school entrance until the restraining order.

The laugh was on them however, because after months of tireless work and self-sacrifice (by me of course) the school board decided to ban any child from bringing any nut related product into the school.


Aidan doesn’t actually have a nut allergy but children are so impressionable. I am now soooo worried about gluten.

Tammy DeFalter

Stay at home mother and couponer.

My son Brennt was being bullied at school almost every day. Every time I tried to do something about it, they always took up against him telling lies and making out that Brennt was the problem not every other kid in the class.

Finally I went straight to the principal. I told her that if she didn’t make sure the kids and teachers laid off Brennt I would knock her teeth down her throat. It all became about politics then so I took him and his sister Jayde out of the school system and now I home school them.

At first it was hard because kids sure do get under your ass being around all the time and there is only so much you can teach them about geography and God before it gets boring, but we all got used to it and now its three years later and they both are doing well.  Jayde won a praticipation meddle at church that we’re proud off and Brennt put out the fire he started in the alley behind the Bon Ton without anyone even asking him too.

My advice to anyone out there who has a kid being bullied is to nip it in the butt. March up to the school and threaten to beat the crap out of anyone that even looks sideways at your kid. Bullying is everywhere and we have to stamp it out.

Els Vanderburen

Socialite/Philanthropist/Clothing Designer/Snapple Flavor

There is a little known conveyance called a S.C.H.O.O.L. B.U.S. it is a vehicle that can ferry 20-30 children at a time! This BUS will pick up the children at predetermined destinations, you can’t just have your housekeeper hail one, and then this BUS thing will drop them off at school.  Isn’t that wonderful?

Since we’ve discovered this marvel, our lives have improved immensely. I used to have such anxiety waiting for Fernanda to return from dropping off the children (if I don’t have my colonic by 8:45 my day will be a mess!) sometimes she would wander in anywhere from 8:50-9:00 am! This put such a strain on our relationship that I would find it hard to be civil to her as she irrigated my colon.  I am known for my gracious consideration so of course I had to double up on my therapy sessions in order to handle this huge emotional upheaval.

Finally another housekeeper, some ethnic friend of our cook Yolanda or Yosemite or whatever, told Fernanda about this BUS thingy and now my life is more or less back to normal.

If only they could figure a way to get Jacqueline and Caroline back home from school!

© 2012 Sharon Grehan-Howes