Every year, parents find comical ways to celebrate the joy of their kids finally going back to school after a summer of nonstop chaos. This year, four Florida moms are giving parents across the internet a good laugh with their viral photo shoot.
Shawna Genua, owner of Wee Winks Photography in Minneola, texted three of her neighborhood mom friends ― Bridgett Brown, Jennifer Patterson and Robyn Pedretti Kelly ― on Sunday, the night before the first day of school. She told them to put on their robes, grab some wine, their kids and some lawn chairs, and meet in Brown’s driveway for a photo shoot.
“Of course, we all said yes!” Pedretti Kelly, the woman on the far right with the big ol’ wineglass, told HuffPost. “We all posted [the photos] the next morning and thought it was just a fun thing for us to do for ourselves. And then it took off like we never imagined.”
Genua was inspired to do the shoot after seeing so many parents posting on social media about how sad they were to see their kids go back to school.
“Sure, we’ll miss our kids, but parents need a break after busy summers,” Pedretti Kelly said.
In the photos, the moms gleefully pose with wineglasses, beer bottles and a box of donuts, along with a sign that says “First day of school 2019. #ByeFelicia.” (Pedretti Kelly said it’s actually fruit punch, not wine, in the glasses.)
“Some of you are sad. This is me and my girls. We will be juuuuuuust fine,” Genua captioned the photos on Facebook.
The four women have 18 kids between them. They all moved into the same neighborhood within the past year.
“None of us knew each other upon move-in, but as soon as we met, we just clicked,” Pedretti Kelly said. “We knew we’d be friends forever. We had found our village.”
Pedretti Kelly said the teenage kids in the group were “mortified” by the photo shoot at first, but were singing a different tune after the pictures picked up steam on social media.
“Once it went viral, we suddenly became the ‘cool moms!’” she said.
Though the response to the photos has been largely positive, Pedretti Kelly said there have been some Negative Nancys rolling their eyes and telling them to “get a job.”
“To them, we say, ‘We DO have a job — we’re moms. That’s the hardest job in the world!’” she said. “Plus, two of us have jobs outside of being a mom. I personally have three jobs!”
But for every mean-spirited comment, there have been plenty of celebratory ones from parents laughing about how hard they relate to the message in the photos.
“We love our kids more than life itself, but we also need to take a break and laugh sometimes,” Pedretti Kelly said. “We need to recharge and reset.”