Just when I thought my mother-of-the-year attitude couldn't get any worse, I've realized that I'm in an end-of-the-school-year slump. More than ever, I can't deal with anything because my patience for disruptions to the school schedule, homework, class projects, field trips, activities, graduation ceremonies and the like has officially run out. My four-year-old gets her "diploma" in a few short days, but it's not summertime. You can't just send them outside in their swimsuits with the garden hose (what I remember from my childhood summers) in May with weather in the 50s.
Here's how you know that you're a bad end-of-the-school-year mom:
1. You have a single pair of school pants left for your son. The rest are too small or have holes in the knees. You refuse to buy more until the Fall out of shear stubbornness or laziness. You'd rather wash them twice a week than buy more - you've convinced yourself that laundry is easier than a trip to Target. You watch the forecast each day praying for warm weather, because he has plenty of shorts that fit. Pants, not so much.
2. Your personal appearance is suffering. I can't wear pajama pants to school drop off, like many of us moms. (Remember that story about how a principal in the UK asked her parents to stop wearing pajamas to school? If not, here's a nice summary.) I have no problem if you do; I don't judge. But, I used to have a legal career where I wore designer suits to work, in Los Angeles. So, I'm a little particular (snobby) about my own clothes. I won't allow myself to wear pajama bottoms to the bus stop, which is literally at the end of my driveway. So, instead, I have a pair of yoga pants sitting next to my TOMS which I pull on OVER my pajama bottoms. A hoodie over my pajama top completes the look.
3. Your once well-orchestrated morning routine has been reduced to pure survival. In October, I actually used to shower before getting my kids up for school. Now, I'm lucky to be showered by the time my husband rolls in from work at 8PM. A far cry from the morning schedule that I detailed in one of my previous articles, 10 Ways to Optimize Your Morning Routine, don't you think? Before you call me a hypocrite (I'm a lawyer and a woman, so talking out of both sides of my mouth comes naturally), I originally wrote that article back in October, when I was still relativity sane. Not so much in May.
4. You are so over "field trips." Today, field trips are not field trips that you and I did in school, where the school transported you to an activity and there were a few moms who chaperoned. No, especially in preschool, a "field trip" is an elaborate non-drop-off play date in place of a regular school day that requires my full participation in which I need to be showered, dressed, and caffeinated. There is no school arranged transportation. The parents are each individually responsible for getting their child to the outing, accompanying their child during the outing, and then taking them home a full 3 hours earlier than the regular dismissal time. This is clearly NOT a field trip, because I have not option of working any of those hours that I typically do. Self-reminder: she won't be four forever.
5. You're over homework. I'm officially over the homework for my kindergartener (yes, we have daily homework in kindergarten) which we schlep through every, single evening. We've been working diligently all year on his reading and finally, finally, he's beginning to read The Cat in the Hat and other similar literary works. I know that he's just beginning the process of reading aloud to me and I'm already exhausted from all the work that we've put in to get him to this point. I foresee a whole year of stumbling slowly through all 64 pages of Go, Dog. Go. It's exciting to have an emerging reader. But, it has complicated our bedtime - a process that used to take 30 minutes is now a 60- or more minute routine with all the extra time spent convincing him that he's ready to read Green Eggs and Ham and him sounding out the word "wh - a - t" each time he sees it as if he'd never seen it before. Self-reminder: he won't be six forever.
6. You've stopped caring about that shoe tying lesson. I'm so ready for summer when my kids can wear Crocs every single day. So what if my kindergartner can't tie his shoes? I'm been working on this since December. See my post about it. We try, we do. Every single time we leave the house. But it usually takes so long that I end up doing it myself.
7. You're over graduation / end-of-the year celebrations. Yes, they are super cute. But again, much like the "field trip," these events are non-classroom days for the kids and non-work days for you.
8. Despite being over school, you fear the summer months. Unlike Game of Thrones, where they fear the Winter, all mothers know, that Summer is Coming. Because we all know what happens once the school year ends: hours upon hours of unstructured time for mothers to fill.
A version of this article originally appeared on my site, www.carissahoward.com.