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Worst end of school mom ever

Can you relate?

By Jen Hatmaker May 31, 2013 11:46PM
You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?

I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.
Jen HatmakerWe are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.

Then my son Ben tells me Tuesday that he needs a Ben Franklin costume for the Living History Museum today, and I’m like what fresh hell is this?? I have no idea how I missed the correspondence on this (because I’m not checking backpacks is just a theory), but Brandon is the Costume and Project Parent and I am the Daily Grinder, which is a division of labor we agreed on to ensure our kids actually graduate one day and move out, but he is out of town on a mancation, so this is on me. I cannot even handle signing a folder in late May; a colonial costume is cause for full, unrestrained despair.

So Ben went to school like this today, and there is no way this will ever not be a part of his childhood. Please note my scarf hanging out the bottom of his vest, as well as the soccer socks stretched over his Adidas pants. Just whatever, man.

My shame was somewhat mitigated when I saw a kid wearing a random t-shirt and jeans with a pair of swim goggles around his neck (Michael Phelps) and another girl with a piece of paper taped to her shirt with her character’s name written in marker.

I caught the eyes of their moms and was all solidarity, you guys.

Teachers, we need to make a deal that after April testing, we don’t have to do anything else. You don’t. I don’t. I don’t care if you watch movies in class five days a week and take four recesses a day. I mean, my son Caleb had to bring an About Me poster with five school days left in the year. In September, this might have produced something noteworthy, with pictures perhaps, even some thoughtful components to describe his winning qualities, but as we’ve used up all our bandwidth, we yanked trash out of our actual trash can, glued it to a poster, and called it a day. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this is the very most we can do on May 29th. This is our best work:
Note the caveman labels: DRINK, MOTORCYCLE, GAME, SHOP, FOOD.
End of school hard.

The emails coming in for All Of The Things – class gift, end of year letters, luncheon signup, party supplies, awards ceremonies, pictures for the slide shows, final projects – are like a tsunami of doom. They are endless. I mean, they will never ever end. There is no end of it. I will never finish and turn it all in and get it to the (correct) Room Mom and get it all emailed and I am pretty sure the final week of school will never be over and this is the end for me.

Brandon (husband): 
“You don’t have to do all that, you know. Just blow it off.”

Me, staring blankly:
“Well, what a lovely thought you’re having there in your brain. How nice for you to be thinking that thought. I want to live in your imaginary world where my failure to do the School Stuff doesn’t mean our kid is the only one not wearing a purple shirt or didn’t have his pictures in the slideshow or didn’t bring in a handmade card for his teacher like every other student. I’ll just ‘blow it off’ and our kids can work it out with their therapists later.”


“You don’t even know about all this, man.”

So, Mom out there sending Lunchables with your kid, making her wear shoes with holes because we’re.almost.there, practicing “auditory reading” with your 1st grader, I got your back, sister. We were awesome back in October; don’t you forget that. We used to care, and that counts for something. Next year’s teachers will get a fresher version of us in August, and they won’t even know the levels of suckage we will succumb to by May. Hang in there, Mama. Just a few more days until summer, when approximately 19 minutes into our glorious respite from homework, liberated from the crush of it all, ready to party like it’s 1999, our precious children, having whooped and celebrated and “graduated” and squealed all the way home will announce:

“I’m bored.”

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Jun 6, 2014 4:10AM
Best part is the conversation between the father and the mother.  :-)
Dads do tend take things a bit easier, not so up-tight. Maybe they have the right idea.
Oct 1, 2013 10:56AM
This is probably the best post I've ever read.  Seriously. 

And I'm sorry, but if this post is offensive to anyone in any way, to the point that they read the entire post (knowing 3 sentences in that you were referring to yourself) and still felt the need to leave negative "shame on you" comments, may I just point out that weren't they, in fact, coming here after reading your Post Title to purposely jump in and insert their own "one of those moms" stories.  So to that I say, shame on them.  What are they teaching their kids, if you don't like something someone else is doing, be mature about it, take the high road, and blog about them anonymously.
Aug 14, 2013 7:36PM

I've never understood why teachers give students assignments that require so much effort from the parents. Why don't they stick to assignments that students can complete themselves?

Aug 13, 2013 4:08PM
...and these are the same parents wondering why our kids are acting irresponsibly, collectively are falling behind those in other nations, and don't respectfully treat their parents or teachers.

Aug 6, 2013 11:07PM
This might be a generational thing. My husband and I are slightly older parents, and so are our friends, and we're all pretty diligent right through the school year because our kids need us to be. This may have been written lightheartedly, but the comments make it clear that a lot of parents just give up. What are you showing your kids about responsibility?
Aug 6, 2013 5:18AM
Hahahahahaha.  Right there with you sister.  Had 3 boys and every teacher was working until the last freakin' week of school.  When really...... was ready for the year to end by January.  Was tired of the homework folder, tired of the Thursday notes to parents folders, sick and freakin' tired of homework, tired of packing lunches, tired of projects, tired of running for the freakin' bus....................just plain old TIRED!   So I'm right there with you.  And by the way, the costume is great.  I had to make a Daniel Boone costume once......shoulda seen that one!  LOL
Aug 6, 2013 3:25AM
I totally understand what you are saying, but as a 5th grade teacher, we are mandated to have the kids work up until the VERY LAST DAY! There are no end of the year days of doing nothing....it is teaching, correcting, and trying to plan fun learning activities that the kids are engaged in. Do you know what it is like trying to get 25 10 year olds to care about learning the volume of a cylinder when it is 100 degrees in your classroom?? Or to write an essay about "What the Constitution Means to Me" when your hands are so sweaty you can hardly hold a pencil? Or how about trying to reteach the lesson you already taught to the whole class to a student who took the day off to go to the beach and then prepare work for a student who took a week off to go to Bermuda?
So yes, I understand....we are hot and exhausted too, but we are still working and so the kids need to be as well. You are barking up the wrong tree when you tell teachers to stop teaching after April testing. Students have the whole summer off to watch movies, play soccer and sit in front of their X-boxes...while teachers are still organizing materials, planning activities and taking workshops and classes to keep up their certifications and learn new curriculums and programs that the school district decides to adopt.
Try asking my own children what it is like to see their mother during the school year when I come home every night and sit in front of the TV doing 2-3 hours of work every night and 8 hours of more work on the weekend, as well as helping them with their homework and projects.
This is the real world and students need to step up to the plate and do their job....and you, my dear, are their first teacher and that is part of your job as a parent-to coach them and help them, but it is THEIR job to do the work.
Jul 15, 2013 8:35PM
I'm a public school teacher and Honey in my class, you would be Parent of the Year! Most of my parents don't do half that much from Fall Day 1. I had two different kids come to school with NO SHOES this year. (And not because they are too poor to buy some either).
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