What to do with your free time now that the kids are back in school

Backstory North Valley MagazineNewfound Freedom

M.D. Thalmann revels in all his free time after his kids head back to school.


It’s about that time, when the sun starts to become a little more forgiving and you don’t have to listen to a cacophony of “I’m bored” because the kids are back in school after a long summer.

I have a few things to say about all the fun activities that parents can do with the “extra” free time they’ll gain once the kiddos head back to the classroom. Me, personally, I have toddlers, and extra free time is a word out of one of my science fiction novels (drumroll–here’s the shameless plug: My latest book is called The 13 Lives of a Television Repair Man). So, while the idea of time away from my kids is exhilarating, in reality my wife and I spend the kidless moments wondering what they’re up to––weird, right?

Anyway, for those of you who have dealt with the trauma of sending a kid to school, here are a few ideas on how to cope with all your newfound freedom.

  1. Take the spouse out for a romantic lunch, or catch a matinee. Depending on your kids’ age, this may be the only chance you and the missus have to catch a non-animated flick.
  2. Go to the gym. Noting else you had planned will help you live longer and happier, so stop wasting your health trying to make money––you’re just going to have to spend that money trying to regain your health anyway.
  3. Get involved in your kids after-school activities. Now that they aren’t underfoot all day, you’re bound to start missing them sooner or later.
  4. Move all your kid’s stuff into the garage while they’re away on the first day of school. The look on their face when you tell them you thought they were moving out will be well worth their therapy bills.
  5. Get dressed up in your brightest florescent colors and high-waisted jeans and show up to their school in an effort to mingle. Make sure you bring lots of pictures of them as babies to show everyone how cute your littles are.
  6. Monitor your kiddos on social media and find ways to embarrass them. You know that kids nowadays are tweeting when they are supposed to be tabulating.
  7. Did you know you can set profiles for certain callers to always ring, even in silent mode, on a phone? Interestingly enough, you can. So, why not change the ringtone for yourself in your kid’s phone to something catchy, like “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Then give ‘em a call periodically, so the tune blares out at inappropriate times.
  8. On the flip side, you could pack the lunch with a few extras, like cookies to share or action figures, so that everyone thinks your kid is the coolest kid in town.

Most of these are tongue in cheek, of course, and my advice there is purely in jest. If you needed to be told “Don’t try this at home,” you’re not the only one. In any event, from one of us here at North Valley Magazine (there’s your disclaimer), have a stressless back-to-school season, kiss the kids, and always (I do mean always) wear denim jackets and mullet wigs to the PTA meetings.

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