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Mean mommy on back to school

Kerri LouiseWhen I was a kid, back-to-school shopping meant I was going to get some cool new jeans and sneakers.

Depending on my mother's mood and finances that month, I might even get a pair of brand-name sneakers. Oh, I prayed to the "Sneaker Gods" for that cool pair of Nike, Converse high tops or Adidas to be on sale that day.

Maybe I'd come home with a notebook or two, and the shopping was done. It was fun, and I was back to the beach.

Back-to-school shopping has taken on a whole new meaning. Now that I have kids I hate back-to-school shopping. Fighting with them over why they're not getting the jeans that make them look like they're in a gang is the least of my worries.

I get a list of school supplies that I have to buy for my children, and it's all due on the first day of school. Where was this list when I was a kid? We didn't have these lists. In school, we had an endless supply of markers, pencils (already sharpened) and crayons. We had lots of scissors in a coffee can. None of them worked but they were free. Even the lefty kids had their own scissors.

Due to budget cuts, parents have to get all the supplies.

They send out the list early so you have the whole summer to get them, but being the organized mother that I am, I waited until the day before school started. I thought it would be easy. I would just get all the supplies at the dollar store, but then I realized that I didn't want to be known as the "cheap mommy" on the very first day of school.

They needed three-ring binders, notebooks, pencil cases, highlighters, folders, plastic page protectors, tissues, Purell hand sanitizer and two packages of 20 #2 pencils. That led to some jokes from my two oldest. "Why are we writing while we're doing #2? Do we have to get these pencils in public Mom? I don't do #2 in school; I wait until I get home. These pencils smell like #2!"

I pretended I was annoyed with their sophomoric behavior, but deep down inside I thoroughly enjoyed it. I stopped laughing when I realized they had to be sharpened. Two packages of 20, times two kids. Do that math. …That's 80 pencils that need to be sharpened by the end of the night.

On my youngest son's list was a package of purple construction paper. I had to go to five different stores to get a package of purple construction paper. No stores had the color purple. They all had red - why couldn't my son get red construction paper on his list? I swear I almost called Oprah to get the color purple.

Mean MommyFinally I needed Clorox bleach wipes. Clorox? What? Are we cleaning for the schools now, too? Did the janitor's budget get cut, too? Next thing you know we'll all be donating gas cards for the principal to get to school. Six hours and $93.35 later, we got our supplies.

The money doesn't stop there. Don't even get me started on the fundraisers that will be coming in my children's book bag on a daily basis. Join the PTA! Our school needs money! Let's get a new playground! And I love this one, let's raise money for the school's yearbook. Yearbook? My kid is in first grade. He doesn't need a hardcover leather-bound yearbook, so kids who can't even spell can write, "Dud! Hav a grate somer!"

Don't get me wrong, I love the first day of school! I've been waiting for this day for three months. I had all their first-day-of-school outfits laid out, all their book bags packed, and their lunches made. I was ready, but we were up all night sharpening pencils so everyone overslept, and we missed the bus.

- Kerri Louise

Comic Kerri Louise has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Howard Stern Show and The Apprentice. Kerri was a finalist on NBC's Last Comic Standing and starred in Two Funny, her own reality TV show on The WE Network. Kerri has been featured on Comedy Central, was the warm-up comic for The View and performs at top comedy clubs and comedy festivals nationwide. She's the author of Mean Mommy: Tales of Motherhood Survival From the Comedy Trenches. She lives in New York with comedian husband Tom Cotter and their three sons.

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