The Remedy for Back-to-School Blues

I get home from work in the evening and walk into absolute chaos. One kid is crying, one kid is running around the house in circles, one kid is attempting to avoid any, and all, human interaction, and my wife has the look of utter exhaustion. The house is littered with bookbags, shoes, clothes, and loose papers. Even the dog seems uneasy. As I take a look around, I wonder to myself “Did anybody hear me come in? Would it be possible to slip back out the door and evade this madness for a little longer?” Nope. The pitter-patter of little feet running toward the garage door lets me know my cover has been blown. With a deep breath, I cautiously enter the house, afraid of what I’m about to be hit with.

Does that scenario sound familiar? If it does, you know just what I’m talking about. School is back in session and your house won’t look or sound the same for a while. Maybe school starting back provided your family with relief having the kids gone all day. Not mine. We now have two periods of chaos a day: in the morning before school and after school, all the way until bedtime. I know I shouldn’t say it, but I hate it. I much prefer a slower pace than what the school year brings. All of those evening fishing trips that we said we’d take…replaced by homework. Overnight camping? No can do, got a “Meet the Teacher” event.

I keep hearing all of this stuff about kids today going through a “mental health crisis”, and I think, “Well, of course they are!” There’s entirely too much stimulation going on. With all of the crap we have them doing, their little minds rarely have a moment to relax. I just don’t think that kids were meant to have something they had to be at every other night of the week. It’s just too much, and it’s too much on parents, too. I’ve gotta hand it to you folks that have some sort of practice each night of the week to get your kid to. You guys are superhuman! Either that, or you’re chugging Red Bull drinks and snorting cocaine. Heck, sometimes I get tired just listening to all of the things your kids are involved in. Sooner, or later, that hectic schedule is going to run you down. When it does, here are a few things coming up that you can do to “recharge” your batteries for the upcoming holiday rush.

In less than 10 days, the Mississippi Alligator Season begins. I know that immediately sounds like work rather than relaxation, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out on the water with a group of friends and kick back while shining spotlights up and down the river. This is a “go at your own pace” activity. Make sure to take at least one younger person (probably best if over 18) with you to do all of the work. Your responsibility can be guiding the boat and shining the light. Let the young folks cast the hook a thousand times at the gators you spot. Then, let them fight the beast on the rod while you enjoy watching the fight. Finally, you be the one to take the shot. Taking down Mississippi’s apex predator will re-energize your soul and allow you to vent any frustrations with school you’ve been having.

Mississippi’s dove season is also right around the corner. What’s better than going to do a little wing shooting with a good group of friends? Nothing. Get out there early, before it’s too hot, then go again later when it begins to cool down. As far as venting frustration, this might not be the best activity for you. You’ll likely leave with just a few birds and probably a bruised shoulder…and ego. On the other hand, there’s something about the smell of gun powder that makes me feel good inside. I’m a horrible shot when it comes to dove hunting and usually use up plenty of ammo, but I always come home feeling better than when I left. Just make sure you’ve got a comfortable seat for the hunt, and of course, a younger person to go retrieve your birds. That always makes me feel better, too.

This time of the year is also great to put out trail cameras for deer season. If you’re like me, there’s not much that will erase the internal stress of everyone in the house seemingly going nuts like a picture of a big buck on your property. Whereas public schools these days don’t give me much hope for the future, a good trail cam picture provides plenty of hope for the upcoming deer season. Prepping for the fall hunt is both relaxing and exciting. Just one thing…it’s still hot outside, so make sure you take plenty of water to drink while riding around and putting out cameras. And once more, take a youngin’ with you to fill those feeders.

Finally, if you want a break from the ridiculousness of school related events that are already filling up your calendar, come to the Pine Belt Sportsman’s Banquet on August 20th. There should be plenty of door prizes available and cool outdoor stuff to look at. Admission is free, which is good, because if you’re like me, you’ve already spent all of your money on school supplies!

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