I am done with the school year. Fortunately, it is almost done with me, too. The end is near, y'all, and I'm not mad about it.
My level of “meh” about all things school has been at an all-time high. I am sure I'm not alone. These past 18 months (or so…the concept of time isn't what it used to be over here in Jillville) have been just so bizarre. I know I'm not alone in my apathy.
I usually have three mom phases during any given school year: The fresh-as-a-daisy, “this school year is gonna rock” mom that lasts until around the first of October. The “Oh we're halfway there and livin' on a prayer” optimistic mom I am every January. Shut up. I'm an eighties girl. Sing it with me.
And, finally, the “Holy ever-loving crap, what am I gonna do with these kids all summer” mom I am every May. My kids are signed up for nothing. We have one vacation planned. The neighborhood pool isn't open because our home owner's association has issues (whole other story.) None of this phases me.
But, I am done with the school year. I can see the finish line. Summer is here. I'm done with the school year and although I have fleeting hopes about next year being “normal” I'm kind of afraid to entertain those thoughts too heavily.
Here are 9 signs you might be in the same boat:
1. Your kids need haircuts
But haircuts are not likely to happen anytime soon because you're disorganized and your kids don't care.
Maybe this is my kids' opportunity to see if the man bun is their signature look.
2. Your kids are wearing raggedy mismatched crap to school
You might care about this…but not very much.
I’ve never been a “My kids should look like an ad for Gap at all times” mom but I usually make a reasonable effort to ensure they wear clean, weather-appropriate clothing that is in good repair and at least kind of matches.
This year, we’re in full-on pattern mixing over here. You want to wear plaid shorts with a striped tee shirt? Fine. You feel strongly about your outfit of the day incorporating those too-small sweatpants from you snagged from the box of stuff I'm going to donate someday? Whatevs, kid. Do. Your. Thing.
My kid went to school today in scuffed sneakers with holes in the soles. He doesn't care. Ordinarily I would but right now…I don't.
I shrugged and thought “Two days left. It's good enough.”
My kid went to school today in scuffed sneakers that have holes in the soles. He doesn't care. I guess I don't either.
I watched him bebop into school today, shrugged, and though “It's good enough.”
And it is.
3. Your own “school day casual put together look” has slipped
I don’t know about you, but every September, I vow I’m going to be that “put together mom.” Not so annoyingly perfect that everyone hates you on principle, but casually put together. Your bun is artfully messy. Your yoga pants don’t bear visible signs of snot or oatmeal and at least once a week, you wear slacks with actual zippers and makeup.
I strive to look like the mom who has it together but not so much together that I seem like I’m trying too hard, and I usually pull that off for most of the year. This year, I found myself slipping way earlier than normal.
I'm pretty sure I drove my kids to school in pajamas before Thanksgiving break, which is an all-time low. I have only a very mild dread of “What if something happens and I have to actually get out of my car?”
Will it embarrass my kids if their principal sees me in my older-than-they-are flannel pants with my husband's running shoes that just happened to be next to the door? Probably.
I care about that a little bit…but not that much.
4. The diminished quality of your packed lunches
My September lunches were carefully assembled – fresh fruit in BPA free plastic containers – because of the evils of disposable plastic bags and all that stuff. Imaginative sandwiches with the crusts cut off upon request. Folded napkins and encouraging lunchbox printables.
By May, my kids are lucky if I remembered to buy Lunchables and Capri Sun.
5. Your level of backpack attentiveness is…well, crappy
I look back on the time I spent carefully examining each piece of paper that came home with my kids. I was on top of things. I was one of those “I have it together” moms and I did actually have it together.
Maybe it's the COVID-19 inspired much less paperwork – that can stay because hallelujah – or maybe it's just that my level of GAF has tanked. I have no idea what's in my kids' backpacks. Probably assorted dirty socks and petrified snacks from November.
I know I'm showing my soft little underbelly and someone is probably going to criticize my bad parenting but I figure there's someone out there reading that needs to know they're not alone.
6. Your minivan or car is at an all-time level of gross…
…and you really don’t care. Art projects, stray cheese sticks, shin guards, that birthday party invitation that was mysteriously lost? They're all in that Bermuda Triangle that is your people mover. Somewhere. Maybe.
Some poor soul is going to have to detail that bad boy at some point. Hopefully, you're a good tipper.
7. You forget everything
Permission slips. Fundraising nights. Yearbook order forms.
“Oh, was that today?” is your mantra.
8. The idea of end-of-year school activities makes you twitchy…
…and for good reason.
Nowadays, you can’t just get by with giving the teacher a heartfelt thanks, congratulating your child on making it to the next grade or cheerfully throw out “see you laters” as you leave the campus on the last day of school.
If you're not making a really, really, really big deal out of the end of school year milestones, you're doing it wrong.
And, hopefully, you recognize sarcasm.
Your kid needs a last day of school shirt that his or her classmates can autograph. You need to take a whimsical last day of school photo because of course you do. It’s fine if you don’t hire a professional photographer to capture this special moment (although you should consider it) but definitely make sure the lighting is appropriately Instagram worthy.
Don’t forget teacher gifts, goody bags for classmates and a fun way to count down the days until the end of school. Also, if you don’t pummel your kids with water balloons when the arrive home on their last day of school or at least attack them with Silly String, you’re doing it wrong.
And shame on you if you don’t have a summer reading list, a summer bucket list and a summer random acts of kindness list ready to go.
9. You vow to do better next year…maybe
By this time most years, I know my standards have tanked and I feel sort of sheepish about that. I'll find myself thinking toward next year when I'll be better at this or that all the way through the school year.
This year, I'm kind of over it. If my kids have noticed I'm a little more of a slacker than I usually am, they haven't said anything. They don't seem to be any worse for the wear. Unless you count shaggy hair, old shoes and mismatched, ill-fitting clothes.
If you’re slacking on the downslide of the school year, that’s just a sign that you’re a normal mom. The truth of it is, you’re doing okay. You really are.