I love summer, but after about six weeks of having my children underfoot, I begin counting the days until school starts. Truth be told, I am a much better mom when school is in session; my kids are out of the house learning, and I can get things done without constant interruption.

Even though back to school shopping is a huge hassle, I actually enjoy it because it means they are GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. I’ll power through almost any shopping situation if it means getting one step closer to that blessed day when the school bus pulls up and whisks them away for seven hours.

But what about my back to school checklist? Well, I’ve been working on it. Here is an inventory of items that I’ll need to amass before school begins.

Moms-Back-to-School-Checklist-Momtastic-Shauna-Younge-final

  1. Onions. But not for cooking. I need them to help me generate fake tears. I’m supposed to be sad to see them go, right? Sniff, sniff. (Is this believable? I’m a terrible actress.)
  2. Champagne…for obvious reasons. I’ll need to be prepared for all the toast-worthy events, like my first child-free trip to the grocery store. Which reminds me: I also need to buy party hats.
  3. The biggest coffee tumbler known to man, preferably large enough to hold an entire pot of coffee. I am serious about my coffee intake during the school year. How else am I supposed to power through homework, dinner, baths, and bed? VITAMINS? Please.
  4. Jeans that look amazing regardless of what gets spilled on them. Bonus points if they have enough stretch to allow me to dance up the driveway after putting the kids on the bus. Levi’s 711 Skinny jeans (on sale now) have all of those qualities, and I’ll be snagging a pair during my first kid-free trip to the mall. 
  5. A supercharged immune system. I have too many fun projects to start and abandon halfway through—I simply do not have time to get sick.
  6. An appointment at the hair salon. I got a lot of new gray hairs over the summer. A lot.
  7. Megaphone and earplugs. The megaphone is so they can hear me, and the earplugs are so I can’t hear them. It’s really the perfect combination.
  8. Loungewear that doesn’t look like pajamas, because I need to be able to walk into school wearing my jammies without people talking about me. Wait a minute…who am I kidding?! I don’t care if people talk about me.
  9. Missing shoe tracker. To my knowledge, no one has invented this device yet, but they SHOULD. It would make my mornings so much easier, so I’m going to add it to my list. Someone needs to get on that.
  10. Eye drops: to correct the red eye situation from onion chopping (see #1), sleep deprivation, too much or too little caffeine, too much champagne, etc. Or maybe I cried actual tears this morning as I watched my tiny kindergartner walk to class wearing his backpack. NO SHAME IN MY GAME.
  11. New knives, and maybe even a new cookbook if I’m feeling frisky. I suddenly have a renewed interest in the culinary arts that will never, ever come to fruition.
  12. A deep-cleaning for my minivan. There is bubble gum crammed in the hole where the headrest is supposed to go. There are layers of cracker crumbs as far as the eye can see, along with headless Barbie dolls and sandwich crusts. My vehicle is, in a word, disgusting, and the situation needs to be remedied before any of my kids want to have a friend over after school.
  13. A new purse or bag. My old standby is officially full of grit and sunscreen, and the liner ripped so there is loose change rolling around in the bottom. It’s time for an upgrade, effective immediately.
  14. Damn good carpool music. No more of this kid-friendly stuff—Mama needs some gutter rap.
  15. Phone and phone charger with an extra-long cord. I have so many phone calls to return now that there aren’t children screaming in the background. It’s going to be glorious.
  16. Television remote with a stockpile of batteries. The TV is once again MINE, ALL MINE! I can binge-watch OITNB or Scandal all day long if I want to, and no one can stop me.
  17. Delectable snacks that I won’t have to share. I’m talking fancy, expensive treats that my family doesn’t fully appreciate, like Hummingbird Cake from Dean & Deluca or jellies made exclusively of apricot and honey blossom. Ridiculous stuff with ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. I want them ALL.
  18. Every single book I’ve been wanting to read my entire life but haven’t had the time to. They will pile up on every side table in the house so I can look at them smugly and tell my friends “This is what I’m reading.” Followed by, “Well…I’m not really sure if it’s good or not…I haven’t actually started reading it yet.”
  19. Juice box–style wine in a box with a giant straw. No…wait. Make that two boxes.
  20. Massages. As many as I can possibly afford, as often as I possibly can.
  21. A second mortgage to pay for the above-mentioned supplies. Hey, a girl can dream, right? Yes. The answer is always YES.

image: Shauna Younge for Momtastic