The Back-to-School Grind

I don’t have words to describe the craziness of my days over the past three weeks. I feel like I need to just have “School is back, y’all” stamped on my forehead so people who pass me in the store will understand and have less judgmental glances when they see my out-of-control hair, rumpled clothes (despite my ironing nine hours earlier), and crazy, slightly glazed-over look.

This back-to-school transition has been rough. My to-do list grows way faster than I can check items off. I hit the snooze button every morning in disbelief that it’s already time to wake up. (Then I beat myself up for hitting the snooze button. Alarm: 1, Jess: 0.) I use up all the energy I can muster for my kiddos. I have meetings after school for one thing or another. I run an errand or attempt a workout. And then I get home and crash. (See below for a demonstration.) I couldn’t tell you what Zach and I ate for dinner this week if I tried.


And then it starts all over again the next morning.

Don’t get me wrong– I love my job. I already love my new students. I’m just over-tired and hyper-scatterbrained. (Read: My brain cannot handle one more thing.) Our little family is also in the middle of a (exciting) transition because Zach started his dream job this week (!!!), so we are adjusting to working in different places and having different schedules. Toward the end of this week, I started to feel better about it all because of a much needed pep talk and the promise of a three day weekend. (Thank you, Lord, for Labor Day!) In the midst of the craziness, there was a promise of rest.

Zach and I have spent the past five Labor Day weekends at the beach. It’s one of those weekends that’s automatically put on the calendar and it’s when the Hall family celebrates September birthdays (Zach’s included). It’s a much needed reprieve after the back-to-school insanity and a beautiful time with family. This year, I came solo so that Zach could stay home for work. I debated on whether or not to come alone and tried inviting a few friends, all who were already busy. I was torn about what to do, but realized that I should embrace the opportunity for some self-care, a beautiful view, and time with family… even if the drive and room to myself seemed a bit impractical. Zach encouraged me to come and I decided to take the opportunity while I could.

So yesterday, I packed up and left straight from school to head for the ocean breeze. I spent all five hours of the drive decompressing from my week. I normally hate driving long distances by myself, but I loved the chance it gave me to escape without interruptions. I started my first audio book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, obviously) and I was surprised by how engaged I was. It helps that it’s a story I know well, but Stephen Fry’s voices are fabulous, and I never got bored. I also stayed awake. That’s a win.

Even if the rest of the trip is a wash (it won’t be), waking up at the beach this morning is exactly what I needed. I still have homework to do and papers to grade while I’m here, but this ocean view brings a peace I don’t find anywhere else. As always, I’m glad I came.

As for the back-to-school grind and my off-the-charts stress level, I know things will get better. I know routine and instinct will kick in. But for the time being, I’m going to sit back, relax, and wiggle my toes in the sand for a bit.

Happy Labor Day weekend, folks. Soak up every minute.

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