For the Love of All That’s Holy – Please Make the School Year STOP!

It’s that time again moms. The end of the school year.  How quickly another year has whizzed by only to find us here, whimpering for a life boat, or at least an original lunchbox idea. (Preferably one that does not require the culinary gumption of the Barefoot Contessa, and miniature die cutters so at 5 a.m., I can gleefully cut out organic cheese into the shape of the space shuttle.) Yep, it’s time to again reflect on how little, and I mean a SCANT amount of gas, we moms have left in the school year tank. Fumes, people, FUMES!  It is now early May, and  I can only hope and pray that I have enough fumes to hang on until June 6. It’s gonna be close. Real. $#@!&. Close.

The next few weeks hold an insurmountable bevy of school related activities. We have the end of the year classroom parties, graduations, field trips, teacher appreciation weeks, sports banquets, school dances, and most likely a few classmate birthday parties thrown in the mix. (Dear Lord – NO more birthday party invites. Just NO. We have all simultaneously hit the laser tagging, bounce housing, roller skating, sleepover-ing, bowling party WALL.)  All of these activities require us weary moms to work together in unity. Happily! Gratefully! In Unity! That’s right. Leave it to a pack of wild moms, drooling and begging for June, to be forced into civil and cooperative party planning when all we really want to do is hit the summer highway, and leave the parent school association in our dust. At this point, the only thing we can manage to do in unity is swear, and send each other texts like “When the %^* was that project due again?” and “R U #$^%*ing kidding? We have 2 make what 4 what? By tomorrow?” We are, however, staunchly united in one simple statement of solidarity- Make. It. Stop.


Make it ALL. JUST. STOP. 

Make the breakfast cooking STOP. 

I curse myself for having morphed into that mom who cooks a hot breakfast every day.  What was I thinking?  I never worked at Denny’s. Hell, before I got married I could barely scramble an egg. Now several mornings a week I have scrambled half the damn carton by 6:30 a.m., because once you drive down that wonderful hot breakfast highway, there is no getting off the cold cereal exit.    Damn you September mom, who was mixing up whole grain pancakes then pouring them into autumnal themed pancake molds.  Or, baking from scratch fruit filled muffins, egg burritos, and Belgian friggin’ waffles. This week’s breakfast menu includes toast. Probably only one piece. Want two? Knock your brother over. Just go ahead and take him out, I don’t care.  If we have butter consider yourself lucky.  Out of bread? It’s saltine city sweetheart. Protein has left the building. Sure you can have orange juice, but please drink it out of the jug. I have also quit washing the sink full of morning pans, plates, and cups, so if you use a glass you better run. Fast and out the front door.  Whatever dirty breakfast dishes I find I’m throwing out. Hey, simple living is in. I’ve walked through the Swiss Family Robinson house at Disney World. They survived.
Make the lunch packing STOP. 

All 4 of them. Every day.  And this is coming from a mom who owns cookbooks based solely on school lunch recipes, has a Pinterest board dedicated to lunchbox ideas, and often prints out cute notes to tuck inside. “You’re A- mazing! I’m bananas for U! Orange you glad it’s lunchtime!”  I know.  It’s September mom at her best. This all has led me to announce this week that  I am no longer packing school lunches for the current school year.  Done. Over. El fin de almuerzo. The lunch lady split people. I. Just. Cannot. Pack.  Another bleeping lunch.  No more sandwiches cut out like dinosaurs, no more ka-bobbed  fresh fruit, and googly-eyed muffins, and  no more homemade baked goods. Boys, it’s time to meet a sweet little girl I know. Her name is Little Debbie. Meet her BFF, Nutty Bar. Oh, and if you are looking for fiber, there is a four month old apple at the bottom of the produce drawer, three grapes,  and some cranberries I bought last Thanksgiving. And I think one petrified mozzarella stick. Hey, kids, aged cheese is, like, gourmet!   “Orange you glad you had toast for breakfast!”

Make the laundry STOP. 

Clean p.e. uniforms, clean dress uniforms, clean gymnastics tops, golf polos, soccer socks, tennis shorts. Day in. Day out. I know  I’m supposed to be full of laundry joy,  like that old laundry saying says, “Be grateful for all those little blessings of clothes.”  By now, buttons are popping off, sleeves are constricting growing arms, navy dress shorts are faded, white shirts are dingy gray. My once bright and crisp looking boys are borderline trailer park fashion models by mid-May. Nobody has worn matching socks since February. Toes are coming out the front of shoes. Belts are peeling.  “Mom, I need new school shoes!” Yea, no way I am buying new school shoes in May. And NO, I am not climbing to the back of the closet  to dig out the next size up shorts for a few weeks of wear.  No, I don’t care if you go to school looking like you slept in a ditch last night. It’s Catholic school, tell them you are embracing your inner John the Baptist. Wear flip flops. Hey,  even the new Pope ditched his flashy duds. No bath? No teeth brushing? No hand washing?  Fine by me. Water loves you back kid. It’s called saving the planet.

Make the school sports STOP. 

Please. No match tie breaks, or extra holes, or overtimes. No playoffs, shoot outs, no championships. Please just lose already! Throw in the towel. Throw down your racket. Throw the soccer ball in traffic. Throw the golf ball in the drink. Just. Stop. Playing. Sorry, but I just don’t see you on  ESPN’s top plays of 2030.  Guess what? I’m totally fine with that. You know where I really need to be after school? My couch. Not a field, a fairway, a court, a pitch, or a set of bleachers.  Me, the team bus driver, is filing a complaint with the NTSB claiming lack of mandated rest, and compromised health.  Nobody should be driving children to sporting events when they possess the blood sugar levels of a gnat and got the same amount of sleep last night of your average bat. I’m personally lobbying next year for extracurricular activities that take place inside an air conditioned building, like a book club at Barnes & Noble, that includes free caffeine for everyone over age 40, plus transportation to and fro, with healthy snacks on board.
Make the bedtime routines STOP. 

The showers, the story reading, the school bag packing, the clothes laying out, the homework signing. Check. Check.  CHECK! Think early October. Our bedtime routine was executed with military precision and perfection. Everybody peacefully tucked in and the next morning’s necessities lined up waiting by the door. I have since gone AWOL. Out of sheer and total burned out-ness, I have become the mom who doesn’t give a crap anymore if anyone is actually ready for bed or the morning at all. Do it all yourself. Just sign my name on your work, read for five minutes, (anything- the TVGuide channel will do) unpack or don’t unpack your backpack, sleep in your clothes, I just don’t have the energy anymore.  You’re on your own little people, time to become independent, because I currently have the keen supervisory skills of a drone who is nose diving with dead batteries. Please charge me and plug me back in one day in late August.

Luckily, it will all stop soon enough, and then something just plain awesome will happen. The first week of August, long after summer camps have filled their days, after vacations have been enjoyed, pajama parties endured, matinees watched, lightning bugs collected, red, white, and blue popsicles licked, and after we have all had our fill of  long lazy naps taken during  afternoon thunderstorms, moms all around the country will start getting back in school mom control. With a twinkle in their eye (and the promise of not having to hear “I’m bored” for at least another 4 months) they will be dancing down the aisles buying new school uniforms, crayons, spiral notebooks, and tennis shoes. They will cavort with other moms about how they are so  flippin’  glad school is starting again,  and how they just need to get into a real “routine” again.

Lord, right now I am just trying to make it through the “routine” another few weeks. Hurry and make it stop!

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Melissa Fenton
Melissa Fenton is wife to the amazing Rick and mother to four sons. She is an adjunct faculty college librarian, a bibliophile, mother runner, knitter, and foodie. She writes humorous and sometimes heartfelt essays about parenting, including her life mothering all boys, running, and parenting teens. She'd love for you to visit her blog, 4 Boys Mother, and check out her Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.