August – Back to School Advice

Back to School Advice…..Before you start back to school shopping, call your stock broker and buy Staples, Bed Bath and Beyond and Apple stock.

“Arhat” – which in Sanskrit translates to “a being who has achieved a state of enlightenment”

“Arhat” – which in Sanskrit translates to “a being who has achieved a state of enlightenment”

Each August, I arrive at Staples with children eager to buy all the items on their school’s back to school list and then some. Although not as fun as walking the bright and shiny aisles at Staples, I do remind my offspring that we have closets back at home full of prior years’ supplies. This comment is met with looks of great disbelief as they tightly hold the wrinkled paper in their hands with the same dedication as I imagine Moses had as he arrived from Mt Sinai baring the 10 Commandments.

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Takashi Murakami

Somehow back to school shopping makes me feel like the sacrilegious mom about to be burned at the stake and I am not alone! I commiserate with the silent glances and polite smiles I share with the other moms (and some dads) being dragged through the aisles by their little Moses and their own 10 Commandments.

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Takashi Murakami

I should be a seasoned professional after making this pilgrimage for two decades, but some things continue to shock me:  Why are there never little plastic index card boxes in stock when we arrive at Staples?  How many number 2 pencils should any living person have in their desk?  Why are calculator with many tiny buttons so expensive and why do my kids need to buy a new one each year?   Why are pink paper clips better than silver ones?  And where have all the scissors I bought over the last 20 years disappeared to?

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Parents at Staples?

Similar challenges continue when your child is off to college and you visit the mecca of dorm room design - Bed Bath & Beyond.  You buy sheets, duvets, towels, pillows, trash cans and so much more at your local BBB and then pick everything up at the BBB near to your kid’s college. It is genius, but this pilgrimage can drive a parent completely looney. 18-year-old’s do not really comprehend just how small dorm rooms are; what it means to share a small space with a complete stranger; and how unimportant perfectly matching sheets, towels and accessories are at college. I have arrived at dorms with bags full of enough BBB items to fill a soccer stadium where the goal is simply to unpack and find a place to put everything; and all of this, while your freshman looks around to see who is walking by, what they are wearing and where they are going. Unfortunately there are no parenting degrees for this sport! I do love BBB because if something does not fit or your kid decides after 2 days of orientation that he does not want to go to college, they accept returns, and they do not make you feel any worse than you already feel.  ps if you leave BBB without one major fight with your teen, you should consider this a huge win.

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Lastly, please remember to invest in Apple stock. No matter where your kid sits on the education ladder, they always have a need for something new from the Apple Store. New 7th graders need iPhones, not only to communicate with their parents (wink) or text their friends who are sitting next to them at lunch, but these days teens use iPhones as part of their in-class assignments. High schoolers need a new desk top computer because the one they got back in middle school is a dinosaur and has reached its memory capacity storing Selfies, group photos, pictures of food and silly videos.  College freshmen must have a new, small lap top for class notes, library work, Skype and Netflix television. The needs are limitless and oh yes, along the way, each kid needs an external hard drive, a printer and fancy ear phones.
Murakami, Smiling Faces

Murakami, Smiling Faces

When the Back to School Madness is over, the credit card bills arrive and your kids go back to not talking to you. If you have taken my advice, when your 3rd quarter stock dividend from Staples, BBB and Apple arrive, you will be smiling.
Ninja Mom
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