What Was Your Rentree Like?

By: Jen Shoop
Isn't it interesting to contemplate the design of your home life and family schedule? We can turn down the volume some weeks, and "let 'er rip" others.

The French refer to the end of summer vacation and resumption of normal life in late August as la rentree — a re-entry. Children return to school; stores and restaurants closed for summer break re-open; families come home from summer holidays. America doesn’t experience the same level of summer shutdown that the Europeans do, but here, too, I feel a profound shift come early September. I follow a couple of French creators on Instagram who talked this year about la rentree as both a kind of depression and an opportunity to start over. I witnessed a similar internal whiplash. The hazy looseness of summer mornings and August evenings seemed to evaporate abruptly; in its stead: alarms, uniforms, lunchboxes packed tidily in the fridge the night before. I felt myself torn in two directions, at once longing for the slow starts and ready for the rhythmic routine.

I have been trying, this year, to pull up more regularly after transition moments and ask: “What went well? What didn’t?” These reflections help me better smooth things out at future turning points, or at least emotionally anticipate what might ensue. For example, my children have historically had big reactions to the back-to-school process. There have been uncharacteristic bed-wettings, tantrums, regressions of various kinds, and clinginesses. This year, I purposefully kept their first week back at school as quiet as possible as if to tamp down on any extra stimulation, and was completely unfazed when my son had two accidents (and he rarely has them!) It felt strangely, even satisfyingly, premonitory. I think my children appreciated the designed quiet of our home life bookending the newness of the school year, as we saw little “transitional aftermath” otherwise. Isn’t it interesting to contemplate the design of your home life and family schedule in this way? We can turn down the volume some weeks, and “let ‘er rip” others. I am learning to calibrate according to my children’s needs, reminding myself to really stop and listen to them. So goes the adage: “Wisdom is the reward you get for listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”

As for me? I clipped back into my running regimen and read every night before bed — two habits that always afford me calm and stasis. I was borderline ecstatic on my morning run on Monday: a chilly, damp 62 degrees (I had to layer!), a 9:45 pace, browning leaves underfoot, and Olivia Rodrigo taking me back to my teenage angst. The right kind of autumnal therapy if you ask me.

So, asking you to day —

What made this year’s “rentree” good? What did you learn for the next one?

Post Scripts.

+ “Fly, be free! I want to say. I want to say, Stay with me forever! Come to think of it, these are the two things I want to say to everyone I love most.” — Catherine Newman. Musings along these lines here.

+The pinches of motherhood.

+Have you tried my “buffer” practice? Really helps me toggle out of work mode into motherhood mode.

+The goal, always: “to live care-ingly.”

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Shopping Break.

+Shopbop’s 20% off sale ends today! I am going to try to avoid blabbing about these jeans again. I feel like they’ve been in every “What I Loved Wearing” post for weeks on end. There has been a huge shift in denim over the past few years, and I have finally really leaned into the new silhouettes — these feel like a good “gateway drug” to some of the looser/baggier fits and wilder leg shapes. The off-white is perfect for fall!

+I’m dying over Ralph Lauren’s tartan blazer and trousers for holiday 2023. I have a pair of tartan trousers I pull out every year — they are SO fun to re-imagine with trendier shoes/accessories each year. Last year, I paired with a feather-trim blouse (I used the top from this Sleeper set) and Miu Miu black suede platforms for a Christmas event and it felt like the perfect classic-meets-modern moment.

+Speaking of platform sandals, this under-$100 pair is perfect for fall. Imagine with fall dresses and/or wide-legs!

+Cutest mini sherpa vest for a wee one.

+If you’ve been holding out on the Dyson Airwrap like I have, Blue Mercury is offering 20% off with code HAPPY20. (You have to sign up for their rewards program to apply the code — but it’s free to join.) I am deeply, deeply tempted.

+People are going crazy over Clarins’ new mask. I think I need to try it! I am such a fangirl for this classic brand. I still use their double serum daily. Holy grail product!

+The Naghedi mini crossbody just came out in a great forest green color. Love it for fall! A little more interesting than black/navy/taupe — but will still pair well with fall colors like burgundy, khaki, denim, brown, navy, etc.

+For fellow parents to Dogman-obsessed children: this puzzle is a cute rainy day activity. It has a hologram effect! (Also, alternative-but-similar-to-Dogman titles suggested by Magpies here.)

+Goop just released a new product: colorblur glow balms. Color me intrigued! I’ve turned into such a fan girl of this line this year. If you are new to the brand, my two favorite products are their peptide serum (I swear this has done wonders for the texture and evenness of my skin, and has even helped tone down discolorations) and their GoopGlow microderm exfoliator. I wrote a full review of the exfoliator here — it’s incredible.

+A REALLY chic under-$150 sweater.

+Fun statement belt.

+Styled carefully, these slouchy cords could be spectacular. Under $40 too.

+Love the silhouette of these suede boots, and such good colors! Especially dig the chocolate brown.

+Speaking of chocolate brown (my fav color this season), I own and adore this ribbed turtleneck from J. McLaughlin. Such a good layering piece.

+Dorsey released their fab cocktail rings. These are investment pieces but WOW – they look heirloom.

+Fun casual sherpa vest for a weekend/dressed-down look.

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7 thoughts on “What Was Your Rentree Like?

  1. Just wanted to upvote Olivia Rodrigo in general and Guts in particular — !!! This surprised me as I am somewhat of an erstwhile music snob, but I have felt a quasi-maternal pride watching her find fame & credibility over the past few years. I truly feel that anyone who has ever been a teenage girl can identify with her songs. So great! I just belted Vampire on my drive home from lunchtime errands — haha!


    1. UGH, it is SO good. A girlfriend of mine said that lots of Gen-Zers are saying “Leave TikTok to our generation — Millennials should go to their Pink shows instead!” I mean, we can’t help but love GUTS, with those big 90s sounds!!! I hear elements of Weezer, Courtney Love, Sheryl Crow, Alanis, etc, etc!


      1. Oh, I so agree! There are definite throughlines to all the music I loved in the mid-90s. I have loved bonding with my 13-y-o stepdaughter over OR’s music — which is really nice because I do not care for Taylor Swift (haha!) and she is so dominant among the teen set, or at least the one my stepdaughter identifies most with 🙂 So I love finding common musical ground!


      2. Oh, I so agree! There are definite throughlines to all the music I loved in the mid-90s. I have loved bonding with my 13-y-o stepdaughter over OR’s music — which is really nice because I do not care for Taylor Swift (haha!) and she is so dominant among the teen set, or at least the one my stepdaughter identifies most with 🙂 So I love finding common musical ground.


  2. It’s so fascinating, the way other languages capture so much of an experience/sentiment in one word.

    Our “rentree” to fall/regular school couldn’t come soon enough. After a fun AND challenging summer, my daughter’s varying routines (different camps each week, different teacher, different group etc) led to summer camp fatigue with lots of meltdowns. Which, upon retrospect, shouldn’t surprise me knowing how much she thrives on a consistent routine. But camp also served our patchwork summer child care, even if it was just an hour or two a day (which was the case most weeks).

    At the start of the school year, I was very intentional too about keeping after-school activities to a minimum. It meant saying no to a lot of play dates, but deep down I knew that I had to set these boundaries for her. Kindergarten is a HUGE transition and I anticipated pushback, regression, “after school restraint collapse” (I love how a pediatrician put this experience into words — where kids do well and hold it together all day at school, only to fall apart and have meltdowns as soon as they get home — which has been 100% our experience). At the same time I NEEDED the healthy distance from her and to reclaim some of my own time and space after she and I, admittedly, became a bit to enmeshed this summer.

    It’s week 4 of school and we’re STILL keeping after-school activities to a minimum, and while it’s sometimes hard to decline invitations, in my heart I KNOW this is good for her, and for us, as we adjust to the new normal of kindergarten.

    1. Mia! I think this is so wise. I have a girlfriend who does the same thing – limits her daughter’s extracurriculars to one or maybe two per semester – as she intuitively knows what works best for her girl. So support this kind of active listening! You know your daughter best. Thanks for the reminder to drown out all the noise/expectations/”but so and so is doing this” and dial in on my children and what they’re telling me (either verbally or otherwise).

      It’s interesting – for the first few years of school, I felt the same way about Emory. She found transitions challenging and I could tell just wanted to be in the groove/familiar routine. This year, I realized that it’s the first time in her life that school was totally predictable, a known entity, with friends from before and a regular/expected drop-off and a familiar place. Previous years looked like this: 1) first time at a school ever; 2) COVID/zoom disruptions; 3) moved from out of state to a new home, city, school; 4) switched to a different (catholic) school. This year was the first year of total continuity from the year prior, and she was cool as a cucumber. I can tell she’s ready to take on more and we’ve enrolled her in more activities than in years past because of it. But parenthood is like this: switching the dials, trying a little more or a little less. Just sharing that, though, because I was marveling at how different it’s been this year with her. You might find the same with your girl in a future year!


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