Jul 26, 2014
Mostly Cloudy

Evil Mother Lady: School Shopping Madness

This week's Evil Mother Lady confession: School shopping madness is threatening once again to take over my life.

Evil Mother Lady: School Shopping Madness

So, now it is time for the next confession: School shopping madness is threatening once again to take over my life. Here it is, barely August, yet I am drowning in lists of needed items for school. How many types of shoes can any one person need? What happened to mix and match wardrobes? How many pairs of jeans does any one person actually need? How did all of the socks we restocked at the end of the school year for summer magically lose their mates?

And that’s just the clothes. Then we have the accessories…  hair bits and bobs, jewelry, nail polish, makeup, funky shoe laces, bags and backpacks and lunchboxes, odd things that I don’t know what they are called but we apparently cannot live without. Even my beloved scarves are now something to be shared between us girls. Luckily, these items, with enough money, can be handled before school starts. A bit of good news, right?

On the bad news side, we have no idea what supplies will actually be needed for school. Nor what size backpack will be needed to haul the ton of books and binders to school each day. Not doubt this is the reason why all the back-to-school sales are going on now, so I can buy large quantities of all the wrong things on sale and then rush in the weekend after we get the “list” to purchase everything truly essential at full price for the first full week of school. And battle for the last jumbo-sized backpack in a color/pattern my teen can tolerate before that other mother grabs it for the dash to the checkout line. 

All my tricks for sane shopping are wearing thin this year. The “try everything on in your closet and see what fits and is in good shape” lasted barely half a day. Most years, I could work that one for a week of peace and (relative) quiet while a fashion consult went on in the bedrooms downstairs. Shopping online, and skipping the stores, doesn’t quite work. The clothes are not exactly as pictured, we really needed to try it on, the color doesn’t match, the sizes are not precise—you get the picture, I am sure.

I used to stock up on the next few sizes for clothes and shoes my daughters loved. Then we hit the years of massive grow spurts, where their feet skipped several sizes and my best guesses on sizes and fits were worthless, wasting money and effort. When they stopped growing like weeds, I realized “fashion” would make any "shop-ahead" efforts futile. What my daughters liked last week is probably not what they like this week and my fashion sense has no bearing on the world they inhabit. Classic clothing lines are so passé these days, what do I know? Never mind the fact that they all like to “shop” at mom’s closet for those classic pieces far too often for my dry-cleaning bills. 

With two now in high school and another almost there, my best guess for school supplies gives me nothing but last year’s excess of notebooks and writing utensils to donate to this year’s Community Council’s school supply drive (if you haven’t donated, it’s a great way to share and take care of our local students). Unlike elementary school, I have no idea what my students will need, nor do they. Sometimes the teachers don’t know until that second week of school, when every school supply known to mankind has been shipped back to some warehouse far away … and yes, this makes me a bit crazy. How could you tell?

I am praying for sanity and sales over the next few weeks of back to school shopping. And good hunting with lots of Starbucks coffee for me. So, how about you?

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