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The month of August is staring me squarely in the eyes and all I can say is, "Whew! I've survived yet another summer." Yes, that's right, it's almost school time. We've had a good summer. We spent time at the pool, camps, a family vacation, suffered through some long, boring days, and in general, did the things that you think of when you have 10 weeks off from school. But I'm tired of having "fun" and that means it's time to get back to our regular routines.

In my house, the complaining starts about mid-July. Not a day can pass without hearing someone lament that summer is too short, and it's no fair that school is already starting. Seriously, by the way my kids carry on, you'd think they actually thought that I could a) do something about it or b) agree with them.

Between you and me, I have to say, I do get it. But in my little world, it's about this time that I start excitedly checking off the days until those angels of mine walk out the door at 8:40 not to return until 3:35—every day! My personal list of all the things I want to do once I get back to my normal life grows as they madly try to grasp on whatever shreds of summer remain.

Every year, we are inundated with endless tips about how to prepare your kids to go back to school. Sure, I read them. And, try as I might to follow some of the expert advice, none of it seems to sink in. Luckily, the older I get and the more my boys advance in school years, I'm pretty sure it just doesn't matter all that much. But I do remember when it did.

I laugh every time I see that recommendation about getting your child on the school sleep schedule. I really tried hard on this one the first year of school…

Two weeks before school, my son was all cozy in his bed, when he suddenly looked at the clock and said, "Why are you putting me to bed so early?" And though I was silently cursing myself for putting a digital clock in his room, I said, "Well, school starts in 2 weeks and you need to be on the right schedule." Son: "It's still daytime out." Me: "No it's just summer so the sun is up later." Son: "Well if it's summer why do I have to worry about school?" So I went into a big long thing about school and the importance of feeling your best so that his brain could be ready to learn, blah, blah, blah, and before I knew it, it was his regular bedtime and I was walking out his door feeling like a chump.

I tried again the next night, and once again got distracted by his questioning ways. On night three, my husband and I were having cocktails on the patio as he ran around like a crazy person when we realized it was already 10. And then the cousins came to town—it was all-out chaos for three straight days.

I needed to get this thing right, and was failing miserably.

With one week left to save my son from my bad parenting, he said to me "I have to be on that schedule for the entire school year, so why are you trying to ruin my last week of summer?" Kid, you are wise beyond your years. So, I let him stay up for the rest of the week and enjoy summer to the very last drop. Yes, most likely he'd suffer from the law of natural consequences that first week of school (as would I), but it wasn't going to be the end of the world.

Since then, I've shunned all good intentions and advice and let summer come to a screeching halt. Not really preparing for the first day, is how we prepare. That's what works for us. Okay, so maybe we're a little tired and cranky that first day of school, but by day three, we're all blissfully back to our normal routines.

I'm sure the experts are shaking their heads at me.

Mollie Protzman

Mollie Protzman


Mollie is an Omaha native and a mom of two boys ages 13 and 8. She's been married for 20 years and spent most of those first 10 years living in various cities around the country. Before kids, she was in marketing communications and public relations and then stayed home with her boys for 11 years while doing freelance writing on the side. The day after her youngest one went to kindergarten, she just about went berserk with the quiet in the house and nothing constructiv ...

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