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    Posted July 28, 2014 by
    Albany, New York
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    First Person: Your essays

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    The Saddest Time of the Year is Approaching

    An intriguing headline - what could possibly be sad during the month of August? For me it is a time when I shudder the most. It is a time when I see the true spirit of people (and a lot of it is not good). It is a time when I try my hardest to not take my kids out in public knowing what is to come.

    You see, every August myself and millions of other mothers across this great country get the same question: "Aren't you happy school is right around the corner?". This question and those in similar fashion have only one meaning. What people really mean by this is: "Won't you be glad to get your kids back into school so you don't have to deal with them all day, everyday?". This to me is a very sad way to think. But unfortunately it is a common mainstream thought. These types of questions were asked to my mom when I was a kid, so this is not a new way of thinking in our society. When did this way of thinking become common? I am not sure, but in my opinion it shows a dark side of the human spirit.

    Why do so many mothers look forward to shipping their kids back to school? Are children all that bad to be around? Are mothers really that worn thin by the constant demands of life that they can't even stand their own children for too long? Are we so conditioned by society that we need "Me TIme" that we look at our children as in the way? To me, this is plain and simple a sad way to think.

    I have three children, ages 12, 11, and 8. I chose many years ago to home school them. I am at times home with them 24/7. This is a choice my husband and I made for a multitude of reasons. I have so enjoyed having my children home, I cannot imagine wanting to send them away for hours at a time 5 days a week. Are there times when they frustrate me? Well of course. Kids are kids and will do things to test most parents' sanity. However I see them as these little humans who need constant love, attention, and discipline. We only have them for a short period of time in our lives. A time when we are responsible for the molding of their personality. their behavior, and their morality. Our lives are so rushed and time goes by too quickly. We need to stop and see our children for who they are. We need to address their worries and their fears, but most of all we need to show them they are loved. They need love more than anything else. When you act annoyed with them, or when you get frustrated with them and say how much you can't wait for them to go back to school, you are essentially saying you can;t stand them. You are negating every "I love you" you say every night to them. Your sighs and looks of frustration are louder than any words you mutter to them.

    I don't judge anyone for whether they send their kids to school or whether they choose to home school. It is a private, personal choice. However I get very upset and sometimes even angry when I hear one mother after another say, "I can't wait until school starts. My kids are driving me crazy". I hear this at the playground, I hear this at the grocery store, and I hear this at work. Some years I work part time, others full time, and some years I have not worked at all. It is when I'm working full time that I hear this the most as I work in a profession with the majority of employees being women. I bite my tongue most of the time. However once in a while I can't help myself and I lash out a bit, saying something to the effect of, "Oh, how sad you feel that way. I can't wait to get home tonight as I've really missed my husband and kids all day".

    I enjoy the fun days, I enjoy the sick days, and I even enjoy the days they test my patience. I look at them and wonder where has the time gone? How did they get so big? When did they become so independent? All I need to do though is conjure up one of thousands upon thousands of wonderful memories I have. When they are at their worst and testing me, I stop and remember that one day before I know it they will be old enough to walk out that door. And when they do, do I want them walking out full of love and confidence? Or walking out in anger and frustration because they can't stand living at home one more second? How you treat your children at age 5, or 7, or 11 will determine the answer to that. How you view your children will also determine that. Trust me, if you are annoyed by your children on a constant basis, they will know it and begin to view you with disdain at some point. However if you love your children with all your heart and show them nothing but love and sound discipline, they will love you back and treat you with respect. Make home a happy place to be. A place where your children feel loved and accepted.

    I will approach the middle to end of August with a sadness in my heart for all those children who feel the sting of their mother's words. One cannot feel loved and not wanted at the same time. You cannot send your children off to school with an "I love you" but with a huge smile on your face showing just how happy you are to see them leave. It sends all sorts of mixed messages. I wish society would place a larger emphasis on family time and how important it is to love our children. But there is a darkness in many people's hearts. A darkness that shows just how selfish we as a society are.

    It's ironic how when children first go off to school at age 5 or 6, most mothers cry and are sad t o see their kids leave for part of each day. Then by ages 8-10, most mothers are dreading summers. And then when the child turns 18 and leaves the home, they cry again wondering why their child ran out that door.

    So this August, I will once again do my utmost to run errands when my husband is home so I don't have to encounter the dark side of the human spirit as much. There is enough darkness in our world as it is. AT the playground, I will not rally with the other mothers who will most likely be discussing all too happily what they will be doing with their free time once the children are back in school. I will stand off to the side trying my hardest not to hear their excited voices. Instead I will love my children more, knowing all too well that there are children out there feeling very unloved. I will hug them more and listen to them more. I will even pretend to be interested in things that I could care less about like Legos and princesses. I will try harder to catch myself getting frustrated so that my children don't feel the sting of a sigh.
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