Breathe, Mama :: Embracing the New School Year

empty school classroom

Where did summer go?

How are we here already? And how did everything go downhill so quickly? I feel like referencing Olivia Rodrigo’s new song “Déjà vu,” but it might be too cliché. Take out the teen heartbreak drama, substitute with mom stress, and we can all relate. As we quickly approach this new school year, we’re also facing familiar confusion and heartache. We ended last school year on a positive note. We had standing ovations, applauding teachers, staff, students, and ourselves for surviving the most overwhelming and unprecedented school year. We went forth with summer plans, camps, and activities. We felt like life was finally getting back to normal. I was so invested in our summer fun, that I truly didn’t see the new school year sneaking up. I was late ordering school supplies, and I started sweating when I realized I still needed to go uniform shopping.

If I’m like most moms, I get my news from Facebook while I lay in bed late at night after a long day, scrolling endlessly until something catches my attention. So, naturally, I wasn’t quite up to date with what jumped in my face almost as quickly as the new school year – COVID numbers are on a significant rise, and we’re once again faced with the unknown, going into a brand-new school year. My mind started racing with the same questions that plagued my late-night thoughts and dreams last year. Will school get shut down again? Will children have to wear masks? Will recreation activities get cut short? I was already overwhelmed with not being physically or mentally prepared to jump-start the new school year much less add the panic and nervousness of what the outcome of the newest rise in numbers will bring.

A month ago, my family lost the first person we were close to due to COVID.

Before question marks start circling your head like they do every time you hear someone passed away from the virus … no, she was not vaccinated. Nonetheless, it hit close to home. It’s an unfortunate event that really makes you think and analyze situations. It’s a true realization of how everyone is different and is going to make their own choices and decisions. A difference of opinions doesn’t automatically take away the love and respect you already have for someone.

The point of that story is to understand we’re all handling this COVID situation to the best of our ability and in our own way. Whether you have gotten the vaccine or refuse to, whether you wear a mask or never have, or simply choose to change your opinions and views daily, we’re all in the same boat of truly not knowing what’s coming next. I see so many people shaming others for choices instead of taking the time to realize everyone is really just scared. However, we all handle our fears differently. Some get emotional, some get angry, some read into things, some lash out, some close themselves off, some become rocks, and some become shells. Always try to remember if you believe you’re not wrong for your feelings, then you must try to respect someone who may feel differently.

In truth, I do not have the right answers, especially not right now. So, before we march head first into this new school year trying to point fingers or tear down others because of personal frustration, please take a minute to stop and think. Those individuals you’re angry with aren’t making decisions in spite of you and your family, but rather what they believe is best for them and their family.

We got through the last school year with the help and support of each other. So, it looks like we’ll have to band together once again to take on another trying year. We can do it! We will do it! And we’ll do it together!

Stay Safe and Be Kind

Nicole is married, mommy of 2 (Emily – 7 Talia – 4.) She’s a lifetime resident of Chalmette, with a brief 3 years in New Iberia following Hurricane Katrina. She is also an 8-year breast cancer survivor. She is Disney obsessed and was also a Disney Bride. She is trying to stay sane with juggling her busy life.

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