Not only do the all the kids go back to school soon, but pretty much all the moms do too. This will be my 13th year with a kid in school, and with all those years of wisdom behind me, I have learned a few important things moms should be saying “no” to during the school year. Go ahead and try it. You’ve earned it.
Enough with it already. We are all grown-ass adults, so please, at PTA meetings, can we just zip it with the who is doing what, where and with whom; whose kid did what; who said what; and who is acting like a real *insert any degrading female name here*. I have enough whiny little people in my life. I’m here for hot coffee, intelligent conversation and buckets of frozen cookie dough I will be selling to myself, thanks very much.
2. Doing Your Kid’s Homework
We all know the “homemade” diesel engine your kid entered in the Innovation Fair last year was not, in fact, made by him. And no more writing notes to the teacher to be excused from last night’s homework because the T-ball game went into extra innings. Newsflash: Growing a grown-up means letting them actually do their own work. Yes, even at age 7, and yes, even if it means letting them get a “0” because they whined all night and didn’t do it.
3. Bento Lunches
If your kids are fed, you are winning. Period. A sandwich shaped like Hello Kitty with a side of mandolin-sliced yellow peppers and orange carrots arranged like a sunset behind her, topped with Angry Birds carved from cheese sticks, gets chewed up and swallowed the same way a PB&J and an uncut apple does. Promise, I will not judge the Lunchables you might pack instead.
4. Being Super School-Volunteer Mom
That ship has long sailed, sister. I have found my people among the 40-plus-year-old school parents. We are the ones all hiding in the corner slouched over, head hanging low, simply too burned-out to be super involved anymore. We are the “Been There, Done That” school moms, and we are looking for a few good 29-year-olds to take over. Please. Take the hell over. Because we have teenagers sucking the life out of us right now and cannot help with the second-grade history fair. And because we’re all mentally fried and are instead going to yoga. Every year, we get better at saying “no” to others and “yes” to our mental health.
5. Blaming Teachers
Stop blaming them for just about anything that doesn’t go well for your kid. Unless you want to volunteer in their classroom all day to help make up for the fact they are underpaid, overtired and dealing with 25 kids all with different needs, wants, learning styles and “issues,” then just don’t go there with the blame game. Instead, go help.
Any of it. All of it. As I age, I realize more and more that I’m not actually screwing my kids up. As much as society, my newsfeed, acquaintances and people I don’t even know try to convince me of all the ways I am failing at parenting and all the things I should be doing that I am not doing, they are wrong. We’re just fine, doing it the way that works for our family. Guess what? Living guilt-free makes for one seriously happy mom, and we all know happy mom equals happy everybody.
Especially as your kids enter the high school years, the temptation to compare is high, and you will be surprised at how quickly and how many green-eyed thoughts enter your mind. Their kid got a what on his ACT? She won that award? He didn’t make the team but that kid did? He is applying to which colleges? Just don’t venture into the comparison life-sucking tunnel at all.
What is one thing to say “yes!” to this school year? Well, yourself, for once. Kids are more resilient than we think. It’s OK to let them fly right out of the nest and slam straight into that window they thought you were going to open for them. I can assure you, they won’t do it more than once (OK, no more than a few times).