The One Thing Happier Parents Know That Makes Back-to-School Mornings Better

kids on way to school in goofy hats

Photo by Michael LaRosa on Unsplash


MORNINGS! They’re a madhouse. So much at stake—those kids have to get to school on time! With their gym shoes and their violin and their homework and six manila folders and two cans of green beans and a ball of yarn that they didn’t mention needing until 6:30 am! It’s crazy and it’s painful and it’s chaos—and there really is one secret, one thing you can know, that makes it all better:

There’s actually nothing at stake.

Nothing. Zero. Zilch, Nada. If those kids are 5 minutes late to school and have absolutely none of those things with them, not only will it not affect your day (unless you’ve got to clock in right after drop-off, and most of us have a little more margin than that)—it won’t affect them, either. Sure, they may suffer momentarily for the lateness and the lack, but that’s how they learn. And what’s more, you don’t even have to be the one to teach them. Somebody else is in charge of consequences this round.

That means you—as a parent—can take a whole fresh attitude toward mornings. You can relax and be helpful, secure in the knowledge that even if everything goes wrong, nothing has really gone wrong. No more “I TOLD YOU TO PACK THAT UP LAST NIGHT!” Instead, it’s “I’m sorry you can’t find your shoes. Want a Pop Tart while you look?” And even when things progress (as they will) to “I’m sorry you can’t find your shoes, but we have to go now—“ even when your child is losing their squash and darkness is descending—you can maintain your inner chill, because this is just one morning out of many.

Everybody gets to try again tomorrow.

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