The Back-To-School Guide For First-Timers

For me, the first week of school was the most eye-opening, intimidating experience for me. Between orientation, buying school supplies, paying fees, and leaving my son with people I had only met once before, I thought I was going to need an IV of Valium to make it through the week.

Nothing beats first-time parent ignorance. Silly me, I thought back to school would be easy and fun. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Thankfully, I survived to tell the story. Below is a full recount of the top 5 Eye-Opening Lessons I Learned During my first Back-To-School Week.

1. It's A Whole New World- So much for the easy days of the 'Mother's Day Out' program, my son attended 2-4 days a week at church; 'Real school' is a whole new world.

Picture it, Parents everywhere, children everywhere, kids crying, parents crying, photo after photo being taken in front of the school. Teachers shoving stacks of papers in your hand with lists, rules, expectations, and snack rotation schedules, all while your child is clinging to you for dear life, begging you not to leave him in this madhouse.

I'm not really sure what I expected, but I definitely didn't expect all that chaos. I quickly learned my son and I were one of MANY. The sooner we got with the program, the better. Give yourself PLENTY of time on the first day of school to swim through the chaos.

2.  Your child isn't the only one crying on the first day of school. The first day of school was rough for both Ollie and I, but we were certainly not the only ones. It was beyond cute watching the moms and dads taking photos in front of school with their child in the favorite outfit. Whole families were tearing up. At times, I couldn't tell who was being braver, the parents or the child. Starting school is a huge step, yes, but it's also a huge reminder that our babies are growing up.

3.  Moms bite. Hard. Especially in the morning. I get it. It's 8:30am, everyone is trying to get the kid(s) to school and be at work by 9am for the Monday morning meeting, but who knew the morning rush is a full-on knockdown, don't-fuck-up-carpool and get-outta-my-way mad dash? Get ready to watch the seasoned parents show you how to get your kid in class and be back in the car in 4.3 seconds flat.

Thankfully, I am not that mom, so I am a little less rushed, but God help me for not getting out of the way of the mom that is! The mornings are the worst. Thankfully, it gets a little less frantic about a month into the new year.

4Organization is key. During the orientation and the first few weeks of school, expect a small forest in reading materials. I cannot get over how much there is to know about school in general, State laws in regard to education and the ridiculous amount of activities, fundraisers and school events... I'm expected to attend and work.

By bestie and seasoned mom said the best thing you can do is print out the school's calendar of events for the entire year to stay on top of important dates and events, check the backpack DAILY and open a solid (respectful) line of communication with your child's teacher immediately.

5.  Make hand washing a household rule.  The inner walls of a school are full of germs, sneezes, coughs, viruses and miserable sick children whose parents had to get to a meeting. You've got two choices when it comes to dealing with the petri dish full of kids, stay vigilant or sick.

If nothing else, handwashing must become a MUST. Make it a rule, beginning on the first day of school, the second your child(ren) walk through the door after school, hands have to be washed. Well.

Most of all, Get ready, your little one isn't the only one learning and growing up as a result of starting school.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit