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’ I m Free! Mom’s Back-to-School Emancipation Checklist By Holly Hester

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Sit down. The kids have left for their first day of school. The house is miraculously silent. Not even the dog is moving. No one is asking for a snack. No one is shoving a board game onto your lap. No one needs swim goggles adjusted. No one is fighting because THERE’S NO ONE HOME! Sure, you’ll miss the kids and long for those fun summer days— eventually, but not yet. Right now it’s all about the highly anticipated, tearful reunion between your butt and the couch.

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Read a bad magazine. You’ve finished all the weighty, thought-provoking summer novels Oprah recommended and now it’s time to get down to more important business—celebrity hookups, divorces, and plastic surgeries gone horribly awry. Ah, that’s better. Life is so much 42 SonomaFamilyLife

easier when you’re not trying to set a good example for anyone.

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Call someone. Call anyone. Your mom. An old college friend. Call Comcast about your bill. Make a crank call. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that the phone is suddenly wonderful

Right now it’s all about the highly anticipated, tearful reunion between your butt and the couch. again because no small person is interrupting you while you’re on it—or worse, eavesdropping on your conversation. You can curse on the phone! You can gossip on the phone! You can talk about your children on the phone! You can curse and gossip about your children on the phone! It’s amazing. Just pick it up and start venting!

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Throw away toys you hate. You know those loud, battery-operated toys that some vengeful relative sent your children over the summer? Well, now is the perfect moment for a reconnaissance mission into your kid’s bedroom. Discreetly select several hateful toys, and shove them into a black garbage bag. On the way to Goodwill, practice saying with a straight face, “No, I haven’t seen that toy. Have you tried looking in your closet?”

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Eat. Eating is nice, isn’t it? Eating is really nice when you don’t have to share every single thing you’re putting into your mouth with one of your spawn. Eating is exceptionally nice when it’s a big chocolate bar, and you’re standing in the middle of your living room dancing around in your underwear screaming, “I’m free! I’m free!”

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Exercise. Actually, better yet, make an exercise plan. You don’t want to rush into anything. You could accidently hurt yourself. Take a look at the calendar. Halloween is just around the corner, and then Thanksgiving, followed shortly by Christmas. So it’s best to start exercising next January. Now sit back on the couch and continue reading that trashy magazine. That’s an order!

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Breathe. Haven’t done that in a while, have you? Just breathe in. Now breathe out. See, you’re getting the hang of it. Children are incredible. They are the reason we get up in the morning and the reason why we do everything throughout the day. And, while they fill us with indescribable amounts of joy, they also seem to drain the life out of us at the same time. So don’t feel guilty about being excited they’re back in school, and don’t busy yourself doing things you think you “should” be doing.

Take a moment for you. In fact, take lots of moments. You deserve it. Just breathe. (And eat lots of chocolate.) Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.

August 2015 www.sonomafamilylife.com


Sonoma Family Life August 2015