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Back to School Jitters…Cornflake Crumb Chicken

Published on: 08-03-2018
They look happy enough. So why am I crying?
They look happy enough. So why am I crying?

I’ve been unusually anxious over the past few weeks. You know, your typical can’t eat, eat too much, yell too much, stay away from me or you’ll be in time-out for no reason, and just a general feeling of unease. Didn’t quite know what it was until it hit me while watching a Staples commercial on TV. It’s Back to School! Back to School is the cause of my anxiety! Yours too? Feel free to hand over the $150 at any time.

Summer has been a fantastic cocktail of no homework, diminished stress, and little in terms of social obligations (not to mention not having to see {insert name of person you’re glad you didn’t have to see for ten weeks}). So what happens when I drive into school on Monday morning and nobody waves hi to me or the moms look me up and down or size me up or don’t invite me to mom’s nights or try to one-up me at PTO meetings or exercise their CEO-dom over classroom responsibilities or get mad if I don’t reciprocate play dates in a timely manner because I’m not organized or scrutinize what I pack in my kids’ lunches or simply think I don’t EXIST?


Let me check the calendar. The last time I was in school was…hmmm…circa 199-something. That’s more than ten, fifteen (let’s just go back to ten for all intents and purposes) years ago! So why, oh why does it feel like I’m the one going to school? One friend equated the feeling with walking into the ‘big, bad halls of high school’ for the first time, wondering how she would fit in. I don’t disagree. My back to school jitters have been keeping me up at night.

I need to seriously get over myself.

Because all of the back to school anxiety that I’m projecting onto my kids is one hundred percent my own. I’ve been to school already. I made my friends. I ate my lunches. And now, well I guess I’m an adult! But kids. They’re resilient. They get over things. They hate someone one minute and love someone the next. They don’t know if a teacher is “challenging them to their fullest abilities” or get bent out of shape if they’re not on “Gymnastics Team” at age three or in “Advanced Math” or “Level Five Reading” when they should really be on level four.

They’re kids! All this other stuff: that’s OUR problem. Projecting our goals/dreams/competitive edge over them. And again, we I (okay, maybe we) need to get over it! Public, private, home- or boarding school. I can pretty much venture to say that all of our kids are in nurturing environments and maybe a few too many of us have the luxury (or too much time on our hands) of picking them apart. And well, that’s neither good for us nor our kids.

God I hate reality checks. They’re so…real.

One of the hardest pieces of advice (which actually wasn’t advice; it was mandatory) I received prior to my daughter’s first day of kindergarten was that I WAS NOT allowed to walk her into the classroom. I was supposed to drive up, have some smiley fifth grader open the door, help my kid out with her ridiculously oversized backpack and say “bye sweetie!” and leave.

But, huh? What if she cried? What if she didn’t have any friends? What if nobody sat next to her? What if she stood in the corner alone and nobody noticed?

Seriously, was that really going to happen?

For the sake of my own sanity I have to put aside my own insecurities and look at my children’s school at face value for what it is: an incredibly stimulating academic institution whose sole purpose is to give my kids an amazing education. Most schools probably have a similar mission, budget constraints or not. I have my friends so I shouldn’t look to their school as my only social outlet. I have my work so I shouldn’t look to it as my career. And I hope I’ve had enough therapy to know that the last thing I need to do is project my own anxiety onto my sweet, innocent, not in advanced math but sometimes in advanced reading, but probably not this year because nobody picked up a damn book all summer, kids.

Happy Back to School, Moms. Go have a drink and get the hell out of the parking lot. Happy to meet you at Starbucks at 8:05 Monday morning if you promise not to make fun of my outfit.

Back to School Dinner (always a favorite with the kids and ridiculously easy to make!)


1 package bone-in chicken (with skin)
1/2 bottle Italian dressing
1/2 box Kellogg's Corn Flake Crumbs


Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for at least 30 minutes
Coat with Corn Flake crumbs.
Bake for 1 hour @ 350.
Serve with salad in a bag (who has time to make salad on the first day of school?)

I love Sour Patch Kids. I'd eat Ranch dressing on my shoe. My kids think I like my computer more than I like them. I have road rage.
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