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Gaining Yourself Back When Kids Return to School

Find Ways To Regain Your time and schedule after your kids return to school

It's that time of year again. Around the country, a militia of children armed with new No. 2 pencils, three-prong folders and SpongeBob lunchboxes are preparing to head back to school. And moms everywhere are preparing to reclaim the sanity that went AWOL three months ago and head "Back-To-Life"! Are you ready to embrace your "Me" time? What will you do without the Rugrats both under your feet and on your TV? Most important, are you ready to "get your groove back?" Take our quiz and find out!

1. Your summer has revolved primarily around:

A. 4,000 readings of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

B. Trips to the park, playdates, creating lemonade stands with your children in the 100 degree F heat.

C. Systematically crossing off each day on the calendar, as you inch closer to D-day.

2. It is time to buy school supplies. What is your strategy?

A. Wear comfortable clothing and take a backpack full of survival snacks. Gilligan's three-hour tour is nothing compared to the Bataan Death March you will go on in search of those five spiral notebooks, wide-ruled only.

B. Find the 24-hour Wal-Mart and go at 3 in the morning when you don't have to fight 30 other moms for the last purple folder with pockets and prongs.

C. What strategy? I preordered the whole thing from the PTA back in May.

3. On Open House night before school starts, you spy the sign-up sheets for Parent Helpers. What do you do?

A. Sign every volunteer sheet until my pen runs out of ink. Have to be supportive!

B. Strike a balance by volunteering one day a week in the class and helping with the spring fundraiser.

C. What sign-up sheets? I didn't see no stinkin' sign-up sheets! Oh, OK, I'll sign up for the Halloween party. (How hard is it to buy three bags of candy?)

4. When you drop your child off at his/her class on the first day, how will you exit the building?

A. Sharing a box of Kleenex with other weepy moms as you leave your "babies" behind.

B. Leave what building? I only plan to slow down at the curb so they can jump from the minivan!

C. I will punch the air with a triumphant fist while leaping off the top step in a fit of "I feel good!" vibes worthy of a Senecot commercial.

5. Your plans for your first free day include:

A. Cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. Soap scum waits for no man – uh, woman – you know.

B. Tearfully leafing through every photo album of your child wondering how they grew so fast.

C. Breakfast with the girls, followed by an entire day of pampering at a chi chi day spa, arriving back at the school carpool line just in time to pick up your children.

6. Two of your children are now in school, with one still at home. What do you do?

A. Resign myself to 4,000 more readings of Green Eggs and Ham.

B. Resolutely live your life from one naptime to the next. Highlight of your day being the one hour when you wash underwear and socks alone.

C. Join or create a babysitting co-op with other SAHM parents, guaranteeing at least one day a week of child-free grownup time! You have earned it, girlfriend!

7. School is back in session. It is 1 p.m. on a Wednesday. What are you wearing?

A. Stained sweatpants, baggy T-shirt and worn out Keds. I'm only buying toilet paper, juice boxes and Odor Eaters at Wal-Mart.

B. As I stretch into "Downward Dog," I am unrestricted in my Nuala by Christi Turlington workout attire. What else would I wear to yoga class?

C. Nothing. I surprised my husband at work and whisked him away to a No-tel Motel for some afternoon delight.

8. When school is in session do you find it easier to balance being a mom, housekeeper, wife, classroom volunteer, friend and lover?

A. Balance? Ha! On the balance beam of life, I just pray the floor is padded every time I fall off!

B. Yes, my sanity is slightly restored. I am also calmer at the end of the day. (However, that could be the Prozac talking.)

C. I juggle all my roles so easily, I should get a job with the Cirque du Soleil!

Your Score: Mostly A's

Girlfriend, you need to look in the mirror and tell the person staring back, "I Deserve a life, too!" Yes, your kids and family are your priority, but your sanity is at stake here. You are not their property! It is time to take a stand and put some FUN into your strictly functional life.

Mostly B's

While you are aware of your own worth, you still play the guilt game and give up a little too much of your free time. Your children and spouse will be better off if you invest a little more in yourself and a little less in being everyone's facilitator.

Mostly C's

Stella ain't got nothing on you, girlfriend! Your stretchmarks say you have earned the right to enjoy your free time, guilt free! You still buy the toilet paper at Wal-Mart, but you look damned good doing it! Groove on!

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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