The school year is hard, y’all. Early mornings. Lunches to pack. Homework battles. About a million permission slips to sign. Some days, it’s all I can do to get my kids to school (almost) on time. Some days, I can barely make it through after-school homework battles without pounding my head on the table. And some days, the chaos is enough to make me miss the hot and hazy days of summer when my time basically consisted of making snacks and yelling at my kids to shut the damn door.
It’s a jungle out there, and only the strong survive. There’s no shortage of awards for our kids these days. Heck, if you just show up for soccer practice and spend an hour picking daisies in the outfield, you get an award. But let’s be honest, parents are the real award-winners here. After all, we’re the ones who drive their asses all around town to all those soccer practices. So let’s congratulate ourselves, shall we?
1. The “I Wore Real Pants To Drop-Off” Award
School day mornings can be a shitshow of chaos. Younger kids are up at the crack of dawn and bouncing off the walls on their sugar cereal high. Tweens sleep through their alarm clock and then ask why we’re always telling them to hurry up. Lunches need to be packed. One child has a last-minute permission slip that needs to be signed. Another child decides they no longer like ham and cheese sandwiches, which you just packed in her lunch. You barely have enough time to go to the bathroom, never mind actually taking a shower. It’s all we can do some days to put on real pants and a bra before racing out the door in the morning. (Okay, no bra, just pants.)
2. The “I Didn’t Lose My Shit Doing Third-Grade Math” Award
When did elementary school homework get so confusing? I don’t even remember having homework in third grade, let alone homework that made my parents break out in hives. But these days, homework is the bane of every parent’s school year. It starts with nagging reminders to do said homework. Then once the kids are actually sitting down at the table with their homework pages in front of them, the bickering starts. Mo-om, he won’t stop touching me! Mo-om, he licked my pencil! Mo-om, can I have a snack? Any parent who can make it through a homework session without losing their shit seriously deserves a medal, especially when their kid announces at 9 p.m. that they have an unfinished (and not-yet-started) science project due tomorrow. Bonus points if you make it through nightly homework battles without finishing a bottle of wine.
3. The “I Kept the Class Pet Alive for the Weekend” Award
I’ve got my hands full keeping two kids and a couple dogs alive, thank you very much.
4. The “I Survived the PTA Committee” Award
What is it with the requests for volunteers that come months in advance? I don’t even know what we’re having for dinner tonight, let alone whether I’m free for the ice cream social on a random Friday afternoon in March. Last year, I thought I was returning the field trip permission slip and ended up volunteering to chaperone the field trip. Several hours on a hot and sweaty bus with a rowdy group of 9-year-olds was enough to teach me to read the fine print. Gold star for you if you volunteered for one of the 15,000 school committees and remembered to show up at the right time and place. You deserve a freaking crown if you didn’t tell the PTA president to fuck off when she sent a snarky email about your “subpar volunteering track record.”
5. The “Remembered Lunch Money” Award
Did you read that part about morning chaos? Yeah, that. Why go through the struggle of packing a lunch with all four food groups when you can fish a couple dollars out from under the couch cushions and delegate that shit to someone else? #WINNING
6. The “I Remembered the Name of My Kid’s Teacher” Award
We all know that our kids’ teachers are angels and superheroes in disguise. For reals. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier for us to remember their names. Last year, I spent three months calling my son’s third-grade teacher by his second-grade teacher’s name, and I was constantly mixing up which kid had which teacher.
7. The “On Time for Pickup” Award
Those six and a half hours they are at school go fast, and before I know it, the time has come to pick my kids up. Except by the time I realize it’s that time, it’s usually a few minutes past that time, and I’m racing through every yellow light on the way to school.
8. The “I Didn’t Flip Anyone Off in the Pickup Lane” Award
The rules are simple: Pull the fuck up.
9. The “I Handled Carpool Like a Boss” Award
Carpool is an absolute godsend when your kid is the one getting picked up. It can be a little less enjoyable when you’re the one driving five kids home from school with their ginormous backpacks, loud voices, and hungry bellies. But you remembered them all and got them safely home — even the kid who dawdles and lingers longer than the rest and always forgets something.
10. The “I Registered My Kids for the After-School Program” Award
After-school programs rock. Pickup time is flexible. No pickup line. Homework is already done. #TOTALLYWINNING