I really wasn't up to playing and picking up the kids until 2 weeks after a total thyroidectomy. The hardest part is they dont understand...even if you tell them to be carefull. They want to hug and tackle you.
My girls are 2 and 3. They both insisted on bandaids on their necks when I got home. I just wanted to sleep for the first 4 days or so...and I didn't take any pain killers. After that I was OK, but very tired. At 2.5 weeks later my neck is still a bit sore, but I did chase after them this weekend.
You will be fine going back to school but you will need help with the kido's for the first 2 weeks. Can you afford to send them to daycare for the first week after your mom leaves? The 5 and 7 year old will be able to listen and understand but that 2 year old will be all over you.