3 more days. That’s all that’s left in this school year. 3 days. And I am BEYOND ready. BEYOND. I’m not limping to the finish line. I’m not even attempting to finish the race. I stopped about 100 yards short of the finish line, sat down, waved the white towel and yelled, “Is it over yet?”
To say that this year was transitional is putting it lightly. This was the first year that I had kids at 2 different schools and the first year that we’d left the comfort of our completely awesome pre-school and joined the ranks of *gasp* elementary school.
Now, let me be clear. Our elementary school is awesome. I love our school to pieces and I had to do some serious planning to make sure the kids would be able to attend this school. (Like buying the crappiest house in the neighborhood because it was the only one available at the time and then moving into it less than a month after giving birth to Jude.) I handpicked this school and it is exactly where I want my kids to be. But let’s be honest. Elementary school is a completely different animal than pre-school. When you register your kid for elementary school, they should hand out a handbook titled “You’re In the Big Leagues Now”.
In pre-school, being Room Mom is basically sending a few emails to the parents. In elementary, it’s like being a professional party planner. In pre-school you might have a mid-year parent/teacher meeting to make sure your kid is hitting milestones. In elementary, there are meetings about volunteers and fundraisers and … meetings. Yes, meetings about meetings.
In pre-school, occasionally a note gets sent home. In elementary school, there’s a note almost every day. Not just one note. Multiple notes. And because now your kid can read, you will be harassed to death about every single event on said notes. It doesn’t matter that you’re a stay-at-home mom. Your child will want to sign up for after-school care. Why? Because there’s a note about it. Who cares that your child has never shown an interest in karate, cheerleading or underwater basket weaving. A note went home about it and suddenly she wants to be a backflipping ninja/basket maker. Your super shy child who has never demonstrated a competitive bone in her body will now want to sell candy bars to every house in your neighborhood because if she sells the most, she’ll win some cheap prize that you could easily buy her at the dollar store. And this kind of thing goes on all year long. Until the end of the school year. End-of-year is like the regular school year on steroids. I’m talking Lance Armstrong-level steroids. And it sucks.
Pre-school end-of-year may include a short program and/or party and a few days of your kid doing fun stuff that requires little to no effort on your part. Teacher appreciation consists of you donating $10-20 bucks and maybe a gift card thanking your teacher for
giving you a 5 hour reprieve from your child 3 days a week teaching your child how to read.
Elementary school year end includes field trips and multiple end of school year programs. There’s last minute fundraising, PTA meetings, awards assemblies and Field Day. And then the academic stuff. End of year assessments and making sure library books are returned. Plus, don’t forget to check their binder. If you have a kid in any type of extra-curricular activity, you’ll need to add a banquet or recital or party to the calendar. (There will be a note about it!) And then, there’s Teacher Appreciation …
Now, before you get all “Teachers are the best/they work so hard/they deserve it” on me, just know that I already have their backs. You will get no argument from me that teaching is one of THE hardest jobs and they are seriously underpaid. And yes, they are well deserving of Teacher Appreciation week. But why does it have to be at the end of the year? Stay with me here.
Does it really take the entire school year to realize how much your teacher deserves to be appreciated? By month October or November, haven’t you already realized how much your teacher is doing for your child? Is it really necessary to wait until May when there are a million other things going on at the school? Wouldn’t March be a better time to express our gratitude and thanks. Maybe the week after Spring Break when we’ve spent a full week with our kids and we’re really, really appreciative for all the work they do!
I vote we move Teacher Appreciation to March so that we can give the teachers our full attention. Then, in May, we’ll have a little less on our plates and maybe some down time.
Did you really think you’d have some down time? That won’t happen. It won’t happen because as soon as you’re done with all the end of school year stuff, you’ll need to start planning for fall. Why, you ask? Because if you’re just now thinking about summer, you’re late. The good moms have had summer activities planned since early April.
And speaking of summer activities. When did we start this mandatory ‘schedule every single week of the summer’ thing? “What are y’all doing this summer?” Judging by the number of times I’ve been asked that question, I’m guessing “Sleeping in, watching tv and saying, ‘Yes, you can play on your iPad'” out of exasperation is not an acceptable answer. After spending the last 9 months putting kids to bed on time and waking up to an alarm and making lunches and making sure school clothes are clean, the last thing I want to do is worry about getting kids somewhere on time.
Now, that’s not to say that we won’t do anything. We have a couple of camps on the calendar and we’ll do trips to the library and park and museum. But mostly, I plan to send the kids outside to play and into the kitchen to fend for themselves. And just for the record, before some of y’all Super Scheduled Summer Moms get all defensive, I’m not judging. If you’re one of those moms that is scheduling every week of the summer with a different summer camp or activity in an effort to keep your kids busy or active or to keep them from getting bored, more power to you. We all have to work with what we’re given and my kids were given the Lazy Mom. And the Lazy Mom has planned a lot of Pajama Days!
There are 3 days left. 3 days before we chuck all schedules out the window and go all willy-nilly into days of nothingness.
And lest you think I’m living in some fantasy world, thinking the summer will be filled with sunshine and rainbows and unicorns, trust that I am not delusional. Sydney is now wearing the “Child Most Likely To Send Mommy To The Looney Bin” title proudly. She’s even started bragging about it. And 6-8 weeks from now, I’ll be so done with the tiny humans that another countdown will begin. The one where I count the minutes ’til I can drop the kids at the front door of their school and zoom off blasting George Michael’s “Freedom” from the radio like it’s 1990. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be ready to join me. And when you’re ready, I’ll be the mom hiding in the corner of my closet with my
only connection to the outside world iPhone, whispering “Is it over yet?”