Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It's May: Let's Make a Deal

Because it's May and I have a kid graduating from middle school and because this year seems to have been about ten years long ... I give you one of my favorite post of all time. It comes from my old blog before I moved to Avoid. (It's called Domestic Diva Disaster, and it's got some funny stuff.)

I wrote it in 2014 in response to Jen Hatmaker's post from 2013 about being the Worst End of School Mom Ever. She reposted a link to that blog on her Facebook yesterday. So I figure if she can bring hers back out, I can bring out my response.

In 2014 my younger kids were in 3rd grade and 2nd grade. Elementary school is very different from middle school, I will give you that. Each has its own things that make you want to pull your hair out. But whether your kids are 5 or 15, I think by May we are all DONE.



Dateline: May 16, 2014

Last year, Jen Hatmaker wrote an amazingly wonderful blog post about being the Worst End of School Mom Ever. By taking off the mask and revealing this about herself, all of the rest crappy May Moms have breathed a sigh of relief, given each other the knuckle bump of solidarity, and aired our End of Year dirty laundry to one another.

It has truly been cathartic.

The one thing that Jen's post did not include was a true remedy for this problem. Therefore, I have a deal to propose. It's a deal between teachers and parents. And if necessary, we can get school administration involved. But let's do what we can to keep them out of it, shall we? This can be our little secret.

First, in case you haven't read Jen's post, some background from my own life...

August Lunch
How Awesome August Becomes Monstrous May

I think we can all agree that in August, we as parents ROCKED. We packed cool lunches, we signed things with legible signatures, we diligently checked homework and backpacks, and we quizzed our kids on spelling words and math facts. I'm going to call this August Me.

But it's May. August Me is gone.


Dead. Or at least in hiding.

August Me skipped town somewhere around April 25 when we had Shakespeare Day (with costumes) and Colonial Day (with costumes) in different grades on the same day.

With both hubby and I as parent volunteers. In costumes.

April Shakespeare Day (with costumes)
After that, the last few drops of August Me were spent and I had nothing left to give for the last month of school. I still look like August Me on the outside, but the inside I'm all May. If you look deep inside, you might see a few dried drops of glitter glue and a balled up napkin that says, "Love you Buddy! Have a GREAT Day!"

You see, August Me had fresh stashes of all things artsy craftsy. She wrote little notes to her kids and put them in their lunch boxes. She remembered things, and she cared.

But at the end of April, she hit the road, Jack.

This was evidenced in all its pathetic reality this morning.

My 8yo's class was supposed to wear navy shirts to school today. Simple. I am the Class Mom for the class, so I knew this. The original email about this went out weeks ago. I sent a reminder on Sunday. And another one yesterday.

Whose kid do you think showed up with the wrong shirt?


Like I said. May Me is an empty shell of what August Me once was.

So here's my proposition. In recognition that by May, teachers also are spent, kaput, and wiped out — they just hide it a lot better — let's all agree to the following. 

In the last month of school, teachers will not...

1. Require the children to come to school in costume. Or in matching colors. Or coat and tie. Unless the costume is "Typical American 3rd Grader" we stand completely firm and united on this one. It's a deal breaker.

2. Assign creative projects. No dioramas of a Colonial village, wood carvings of the Santa Maria, or models of the Roman Coliseum made out of sugar cubes. Cutting paper dolls out of construction paper is acceptable if it is done in the classroom, not at home.

3. Assign research projects or papers. Book reports are fine, as long as the report requires no parental working knowledge of said book. Unless it's Goodnight Moon, because we probably still have that one memorized.

4. Schedule field trips that require parent chaperoning. Have the Reptile Guy bring the python into the classroom. We're totally OK with that. In August we might have preferred the snake be behind protective glass, but hey, it's May. In May, anything goes.

In exchange, we as parents agree not to hold teachers responsible for teaching anything new in May. Let's just call May "National Review and Recess Month."

Do we have a deal?

We stand united as parents and with our children's teachers who are AWESOME all the time. But let's be honest. We are all counting the hours until summer when we will recharge our batteries by having peanut butter sandwiches and Cheetos for lunch every day for three months.

When we will refresh our souls with chlorinated water.

When we drop our kids off at camp knowing that when we retrieve them in the afternoon, there will not be a list of assignments to complete before arriving back the next day.

And in August, we will be AWESOME again.