The kids are back to school this week! (Submitted)

The kids are back to school this week! (Submitted)

Sarah Simpson Column: Back to school without back to school shopping

I hate shopping

It’s back to school week! Earlier this week came the big day: The First Day of School. It’s the day many of us parents feel like we get to exhale and at least attempt to regroup and regain some semblance of control and/or routine — at least before the rush of after school activities begins.

For me, back to school means the return of structure and routine.

For others, back to school means shopping.

I hate shopping.

Last week I overheard some parents talking to each other about going back to school shopping for their children and what a nightmare it was with the crowds and with the lack of selection after the offerings had already been picked through.

It didn’t seem like much fun. For me, the best part of the mall is the food court. That should tell you something about my love (or lack thereof) of shopping.

I am, however, the kind of person who had the new school supplies purchased by mid-July — partly because I love stationery, but also because I didn’t want to have to be part of the mad rush to get them at the end of August.

I am ever so thankful that my children generally feel the same way I do about shopping. Clothes shopping anyway. I’ve likely passed it onto them without realizing it.

Truth be told, there was very little need for back to school shopping for my kids this year. Partly it was because my kids never really asked, but also because in truth, they didn’t need anything new. Everything they have is still usable.

I decided a while back that upon completion of Grade 7, I didn’t want to have eight years worth of children’s safety scissors for each kid. So, call me a mean mommy if you must, but my kids are using last year’s scissors. We did get some new items, though. One opted for a new pencil case, the other did not. One wanted a new water bottle, the other did not.

As for clothes, last year’s still fit so they’re still wearing them. Aside from the random t-shirts we find every now and then, the majority of my kids’ clothes are hand-me-downs from friends and/or relatives and I’ve got more waiting in the wings for when my kids outgrow what they currently have. That used to be something a parent or child would never want to admit for fear of being teased or even bullied, but I feel like in this day and age it’s a badge of honour to be able to say you didn’t have to spend a fortune on this or that.

What my kids did need this year, and it seems like they need every six months, are shoes and that was taken care of swiftly albeit not without your standard “it doesn’t feel right” annoyance that trying to figure out if shoes fit a child tends to bring.

So, while some kids showed up at the first day of school with brand new everything (and no judgment from me either way), my kids were completely happy to arrive in new shoes and last year’s stuff. (Well, as happy as two kids who’d rather stay home than go to school could be.)

I’m relishing these years because I know eventually they’ll want the latest brand or to have new stuff just for the sake of having new stuff but for now, we’re all OK using what we already have. In a way, I think it’s comforting for them. And heck, it saves me money!

And honestly, the longer I get to fold their little clothes the more I feel like I still have small children, instead of bigger clothes and bigger kids that are quickly working their way through elementary school and then on to high school and then college and to have families of their own and who don’t need their mom anymore.

OK, I know that’s going a bit too far. But you get my drift.

ColumnistComedy and Humour