4 Back-to-School Traditions to Skip This Year

"4 back-to-school traditions to skip this year" by Amanda Torres (CatholicMom.com

Via Unsplash, CC0 Public Domain. Text added by author.

August’s days are numbered. September looms before us. Back-to-School season is in full swing. Organized parents probably bought school supplies eons ago. They know the names of all their kid’s teachers. They have gourmet lunch menus planned at least through September. They probably even got their kids back into the school days bedtime routine with more than a week to spare.

For some reason, those hyper-prepared mamas have so much extra time on their hands that they have established new back-to-school traditions that have become unwritten rules in the Secret Book of Mommy Guilt. Just in case we needed anything else to be feel guilty about.

Organized moms: This one probably isn’t for you. This one is for all my busy, last-minute, type B, perpetual-survival-mode-living moms. Here are 4 back-to-school traditions that I am foregoing this year, and I (as self-proclaimed lazy-mom advocate), give you permission to forego, too.

As a friendly disclaimer, I have nothing ill to say about mamas who do any or all of these things. If these kinds of things warm your heart, then more power to you. But, if they don’t, there is  just no reason to pile more things on your to-do list. Skip them, and feel no guilt.

The Intricate First Day of School Photo

Of all the traditions, this one is the most tempting. I always intend to take one. The first day of school is just so hectic. I will be happy if I get everyone dressed, out the door, and where they need to be on time, much less take an intricate picture. The last two years I had a Stay At Home Mom friend snap a picture of my kid and send it to me after I was already at work because I forgot. Mom of the Year. 

I might still take one. And, I might even post it on Facebook. But, I am not going to have the chalkboard signs. I am not going to stage a photo shoot where I exaggerate my excitement and my kid cries in the background. I am not even going to get a shot of us holding hands.

Over-the-top Pinterest-Worthy Lunches

We have all seen the glorious edible creations mocking our parenting skills all over Pinterest. The lunchbox landscapes. The thoughtful notes. In all honesty, I would never try to make something creative out of cold lunch. If I did, I can promise it would last for exactly one lunch and then my kid would ask me why each subsequent lunch did not contain Wally the White-bread Whale. Best to set that bar low from the jump.

Partially because my kid is picky, and partially because I am lazy, each and every cold lunch I pack my kid this year will contain: yogurt, a sandwich that consists of bread and salami and nothing else, carrot sticks, and fruit of some kind. One day it could be grapes, one day it could be apples. We live on the wild side in this house. Or, maybe this is the year I will level-up and he will pack his own lunches? A mama can dream.

The First Day of School Interview

Name. Grade. What you want to be when you grow up? What are you most excited for? What are all your favorite things. It is like we had so much fun completing every single line of the baby book that we decided to carry it over to the school-aged years. This might be a cute idea for the first day of kindergarten, to put in your kid’s time capsule to be opened upon his high school graduation (kidding, my kid doesn’t have one of those either). But let’s be real, if you barely have time to take a back-to-school picture, probably, you aren’t going to have time for a well-thought-out interview. And you really aren’t going to have the time to make a poster board to display said interview.

Back-to-School Eve Party

Yup. This is, I guess, a thing. It is on the internet, so it must be a thing. It is like a New Year’s Eve Party, but before school. Because loading my kid up with sugar and having a party is exactly what I want to do the night before I make him get up and go to school for the first time in three months. I just started undoing his summertime habit of staying up late. Who has children that can handle a school-night party well enough to have a good first day of school? Do these people really exist?

The first day of school is on the horizon. We have supplies purchased, uniforms ordered, and plans best laid. We are back into the groove of more frequent baths, and bedtime stories every night. And instead of worrying about all the “obligatory” first day of school rituals we just have to do, we are just going to do what works for us and rest peacefully, knowing that is enough.

Copyright 2017 Amanda Torres


About Author

Amanda Torres is a Catholic convert, wife, and working mom from St Paul, MN. She is making great use of her Bachelor's Degree in History and Anthropology as a Management Analyst for the State of Minnesota. When she is not busy trying to get her husband, her rambunctious 7 year-old, and toddler twins into Heaven she enjoys reading, writing, and drinking coffee with entirely too much creamer. Amanda also occasionally blogs at In Earthen Vessels: HoldThisTreasureInEarthenVessels.wordpress.com


  1. I love this! My daughter is an only child and except for the first day photo (um, does doing it in the same spot every year count?) most of these never occurred to me, and she still got into college. I’m with you — focus on routine, peace and what works, whether it’s all of this, some of this or none of it. Thanks for posting.

    • I always mean to take the photo in the same place every year. It never happens. That totally counts though, because, it works for your family!

  2. I liked this too. This year was my last child’s first day of school. I really wanted to make it special–but, you are so right–these things can get seriously carried away. I also “rebelled” and simply took a picture–and it wasn’t even a good one!

    • That sounds perfect. Special first days are different. I have only had a first first day so far, and all we did was take grainy cell phone pictures, too. But, it was special for us!

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