Back- to- school blues (or bliss?)

back to school(Author’s note: This post ran several years around this time, and this year it’s as crazy as ever: son’s first day as a high- school sophomore starting today, his 16th birthday this week, big project due at work, and I’m swamped, so hope you guys don’t mind a slightly revamped Posse rerun. Thanks!)

Can I get a collective “Hallelujah!!”? Or maybe a big box of tissues?

Yep, it’s that time of year again: back to school.

Now for those of you who don’t have children it may not matter much, but for those who do, it’s a big deal.

As much as we love our kids, it will be nice to get a break from the frequent refrain of “Mom (or Dad), I’m bored!” that late summer often brings. And it will be good to see them get back into a routine.

My son heads back today, and even though it may seem early, other school systems around here have already been in session since last week. (Oh, for the days of my youth when school started AFTER Labor Day!) But that first day will be here for everyone else before you know it.

So, here’s a look at fragrances that might work for several back-to-class scenarios:

For the mom or dad for whom summer has just gone on too long: By Kilian’s Sweet Redemption (sweet relief, perhaps?) or A Taste of Heaven.

The most delicious scent to evoke pencils: Fendi’s (sadly discontinued) Theorema

For those with little ones heading off for the first time: Parfums DelRae Emotionnelle or By Kilian’s Love and Tears (they were just in diapers yesterday, how can they be in kindergarten already?)

In the first-morning rush, Chaos to help calm the frenzy (at least for Mom).

Uh-oh, they’ve left their lunchbox, backpack, etc., at home and you’re already late for work: Sacrebleu!

For dealing with diehard sleepyheads that first morning, i.e., “Go away, Mom, I was just having the most wonderful …” — thump — head hits the pillow again: Montale’s Sweet Oriental Dream.

When your daughter finally does get up, who will you encounter at the breakfast table: Miss Charming or Lady Vengeance?

Let’s think positive and assume it’ll be Miss Charming. To go with her carefully chosen outfit: Dior’s New Look 1947.

For the older kiddos who keep late hours and can’t seem to get up: Comme des Garcons Energy C

Speaking of teens, what might they be packing? Encens et Bubblegum, or, heaven forbid, Jasmin et Cigarette.

And with that, ahem, more mature crowd, there’s not likely to be much goodbye affection for the parental units. Take comfort in PdN’s Kiss Me Tender or Love Comes From Within.

When they come home that afternoon, and you ask, “How was your day? What’s going on at school?”: Jacomo Silences or Vol de Nuit Evasion will get you prepped for the noncommittal shrug, mumbled “Nothing” or exaggerated eye-rolling that might be forthcoming.

Getting your college-age son or daughter into a dorm or apartment? Heeley’s Menthe Fraiche might help you keep your cool during the move-in madness.

To ease your frazzled nerves late in the day: a shot of Vanille Bourbon (Il Profumo) or Lubin’s Gin Fizz might be just the ticket.

And when it’s all over, they’re settled in and you’re heading home at last: Jubilation 25, Vetiver Dance, Perfect Bliss or classic Joy.

What scents put you in mind of back-to-school days or have you looking ahead to fall?

  • This was good timing… my small baby (and only one!) went off to preschool today and promptly forgot about me when she saw the bean scooping bin. :/

    • Ann says:

      Oh, those fickle little ones! 🙂 Yep, preschool today, high-schooler tomorrow. They grow up waay too fast. Hope she has a great first day of preschool.

  • Sherri M. says:

    I’m with you and Tamara, Ann! Things are changing. Now the teenagers drive themselves to school, and I only drive my youngest, who is autistic. It’s always a bittersweet time–sad to give up the extra time with the kids and deal with school drama, but kinda glad to have peace and orderly routine again. Maybe SL Douce Amere…that’s fallish though it’s so hot here. I wore CDG Peppermint today for the first day. Hope all the kids have a great year!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear Sherri!! I hear you on the teens driving themselves — my son can’t wait for his “real” license, although not quite sure about a vehicle for him yet, ha! It really is a bittersweet time, but nice to be getting back into a routine. My son does so much better without so much time on his hands. And nice scent choices there; must try that CDG soon, it sounds good and refreshing.

  • Musette says:

    wow! you have a LOT on your plate this year! I have no BtS drama but I’m beginning to see the strain-lines on my friends who do. And I, too, wondered when this BtS in August thing happened? In my day (cue old lady voice) we went to school in early September (usually right after Labor Day) and public school kids smirked at us as we trudged past in our hot-as-blazes wool uniforms – they didn’t go back until 2 weeks later. Oh, well…we’d smirked at them in late May so fair’s fair, I guess.


    • Ann says:

      Yes, ma’am! And as if all that isn’t enough, I spent half the night tonight filling out all the forms, class syllabuses? syllabi?, etc. that come with a school year. Yep, when this week is over, fun as it can be, I’ll be quite relieved. I’m wondering if this August BtS business is a bit of a Southern thing, as I have relatives in the Northeast, PNW and other areas of the country that DO go back in early September. But folks around here do seem to enjoy getting out in mid- to late- May, though. Lovely to see you, darling!

  • Eldarwen says:

    I don’t have children but looking forward to the school year. The neighborhood kids always sound like they are being murdered when they are playing outside all day long. So I end up wearing no 19 or Theorema on the first day

    • Ann says:

      Oh, man, those dratted noisy kids! 😉 Glad to see another Theorema fan — such a great scent. Why, oh why, did Fendi have to deep-six it?

  • Shiva-woman says:

    I’m a college teacher with no children of my own. I taught summer school up to July 15th and am back to work in 10 days. I have just begun to slip into a happy realm of relaxation and a few chores of my own, to-dos that do not involve grading and prepping….sigh. I’m going to wear ethereal, light, summery shimmery colognes up until the very last dying minute before school starts. Then, I will switch into any number of S Lutens, maybe from the Bois line, Fille en Anguiles, Chene, Chypre Rouge, or even his new odd Bapteme to put me in the mood for fallen fruit, leaves, dried up berries on the vine, the shifting sun and mulled wine. And new students….

    • Ann says:

      Yay! Lovely to hear from another teacher! Enjoy your peaceful time off and those light summer scents. And before you know it, you’ll be in autumn with Uncle Serge (but not TOO soon). Haven’t tried his new one but you have piqued my interest. Thanks!

  • cinnamon says:

    I moved away from the US 20 years ago. When (and why) did schools start to return in early-mid-August, and when do things finish now? Here, my son generally finishes third week in July and goes back the first week in September(this year he finished end of June, but that was because of exams). Yours is a lovely and amusing list for managing the gamut of school situations. My son isn’t back to school for another three weeks and, thankfully, there hasn’t yet been an ‘I’m bored’ (we did spend two weeks in NY with family, so I guess he can’t really be bored…). He returns to 6th form here, the years in secondary school when the course narrows to the three-four subjects a child wishes to specialise in. I guess the mark of this school term return is ‘I can’t believe he’s 15 — where has the time gone???’ I’ve mostly been enjoying my sample of Hiram Green Dilettante, which is more joy and freedom than anything else. There is definitely a bottle in my future.

    • Ann says:

      Cinnamon, your son’s school schedule sounds much more sane than ours, ha! And I like it that he gets to steer his education toward his own interests and talents; definitely a plus these days. Glad to see you loved the Hiram Green, too — I just got a sample and am loving it. Now I need to get a little spray decant and see how it does spritzed. Enjoy!

  • Tiffanie says:

    Hi Ann, thanks for the reminder that fragrance is the perfect foil for whatever life brings. For back to school I’ll wear comfy-easy-happy scents like Songes (noooo, summer can’t be over!) and Vanille Galante (mmmm, cookies after school). Child #1 will be a high school senior and child #2 will be a sophomore. I’m hoping for an easy re-entry into the school routine with a happy ending in June. I hope your fall season is filled with all good things. 😀

    • Ann says:

      Wow, Tiffanie — two in high school! But hopefully with at least one of them driving, it makes your life a little easier. I’m looking forward to that next year when my son gets his full license. Thanks for the good wishes — you, too!

  • HeidiC says:

    Wow! Big week for you, Ann! You can do all the things!

    My son starts preschool tomorrow — I am really too old to be doing this! This is also my first year NOT teaching college in almost 20 years — I used to play a game of picking the perfect perfume for the first day of class, to try and set the right tone. I usually go with Chanel No 19 or Bandit if I want to project a steely, don’t-mess-with-me demeanor, and Seville a L’Aube or Songes if I’m trying to send out friendly vibes.

    When you said perfumes that evoke pencil shavings, my mind totally went to Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if — I wanted to smell saffron, but that’s what I get.

    Be strong!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Heidi! So cool that your little one is starting pre-school. Wow, they grow up so fast! I didn’t realize you taught college; do you miss it? Love your choice of scents to deal with the students: size ’em up and spritz accordingly. 🙂

  • Portia says:

    Hey Ann,
    BIG events in Ann land.
    Fingers crossed it’s all OK.
    No idea what I’d be wearing if we had kids. I don’t know how you all afford kids and fragrance? So I’m thinking cheap & cheerful like Truth or Dare, L’Occitane Collection de Grasse, Sand & Sable or Lolita Lempicka original. Not very ‘P’unny but good budget loves.
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, dear! Right you are that the kiddos tend to eat up a LOT of fragrance bucks 🙂 . But that’s OK. Love your cheap ‘n’ cheerful picks, one and all!

  • Tamara D.* says:

    This will be my first year with only one in school, my youngest daughter out of my four. It feels really weird but also kinda nice. lol
    I love my summers and always hate to see them end but Autumn is right around the corner and I’ll welcome it, as it’s a beautiful season here in the PNW. I love to wear Fendi Theorema in Sept..
    It reminds me of my youngest being very small ( she’ll be 13 soon *sigh* ) and me walking her to school on those bright,crisp blue mornings.

    • Ann says:

      Wow, Tamara, this is a landmark year for you! A friend of mine at work has just sent her last child off to his first year of college and she says it does feel odd but very freeing. Lucky you to live in that beautiful area, and to have some of that divine Theorema to wear this fall. Enjoy!