Each school year begins with the best of intentions. This year will be different. This year we will get our act together. This year won’t go down in flames like last year.
Slowly, though, the demands of the school year wear me down. Until eventually, at some point, I break. I am done. I run out of fucks to give for things like homework and permission slips and reading charts. I let shit slide. Because I am done.
If, like me, you are feeling a bit over the whole school thing right about now, don’t worry—you aren’t alone. It happens to the best of us. We start off the school year with visions of dropping our kids off to school on-time wearing real pants. We devise elaborate schedules, chore charts, and plans to carve out homework time without nagging or yelling or throwing pencils across the room. And then somehow those plans break down, and it is all about survival.
In case you’re wondering if you have crossed over to the dark side, here are a few signs that you are officially done with the school year:
1. You are late to everything. Everything.
2. You are out of fucks to give…about things like playdates, playground drama, and which kid made it on the travel team.
3. Your kitchen has been taken over by a forest of dead trees. Papers, papers, papers. Yearbooks, forms for class T-shirts, permission slips, and so many art projects.
4. You have already used up all of your days off on snow days, field trips, and spring concerts. Which means you’ll be calling in sick with the flu for your weeklong summer vacation.
5. You are either dreading an upcoming field trip or still recovering from a recent field trip. Because who wants to take a day off work to spend the afternoon reminding a group of second graders not to throw food into the bear exhibit at the zoo?
6. Your kid’s pants are 2 inches too short. Since shorts season is right around the corner, you don’t want to invest in pants that fit now but won’t fit by the time next school year rolls around, so high-waters it is.
7. You have a credit card bill that rivals the GDP of a small country. Those summer camps and activities you scheduled for your kids after you panicked about entertaining them all day sure ain’t cheap, but it beats having them home all day.
8. The thought of summer break is thrilling (and terrifying). No more lunches to pack! No more homework! No more racing out the door every morning! Yes! (But—ohmigosh!—they will be home all day too. What are we going to do?!)
9. It’s Pajama Day, Crazy Sock Day, or Backwards Day at least once a week—for you and your kids.
10. You stopped helping with homework last month. Do they even still have homework? I thought that ended when standardized testing started in the middle of April.
11. You haven’t looked in your kids’ backpacks in three weeks. It’s anybody’s guess what’s in there. Homework assignments? Lunch boxes? Permissions slips for a field trip?
12. You’ve stopped packing lunches. Your kids know that if they don’t slap two slices of bread around a piece of floppy bologna, it will be a hot lunch day.
13. Your motto is “Good Enough.” Homework is half-finished? Good enough. Kids are wearing a clean-ish shirts? Good enough. You filled in the entire month’s reading chart on the last day of the month? Good enough.
14. Your car has been taken over by soccer and baseball equipment. Muddy cleats, smelly socks, and equipment bags that could fit a full-grown adult have taken up permanent residence in your already packed minivan.
15. Bedtime gets later and later, which of course means mornings are harder and harder.
16. Your eyes glaze over when you see an email from your kids’ school in your inbox. Other than the ones coming from the teacher (“Field Trip Thursday!”), they are probably about testing, luncheons, class pictures, yearbooks, the pre-summer social, and other stuff you didn’t care about at the beginning of the year and care even less about now. (Seriously, a pre-summer social?! WTF!)
17. School projects are the epitome of independent study. You’re pretty sure your third-grader has some kind of project due next week, but you haven’t seen it, much less helped him with it. You think it might be a book report, but can’t quite be sure. Maybe a science project? Oh well, that’s how they learn independence, right?
18. You have a list of regrets a mile long. You regret that you didn’t do a better job of keeping up with the reading chart. You regret that you signed up for committees. You regret that things like pre-summer socials exist.
19. It takes 15 minutes to find a sharpened pencil. And don’t even think about looking for a pencil with an eraser.
20. You decide that next year will be different. You’ll buy more pencils. You’ll do a better job of keeping up with the reading chart. You will not sign up for the pre-summer social committee. You say this every year, but next year really will be different.