An Open Letter to Educators From That Mom

by Elizabeth Lyons
Originally Published: 

Dear Everyone Presently Involved In My Kids’ Education,

You won’t remember me as Elizabeth. Or Liz. Or Grace’s, Jack’s, Henry’s, George’s and/or Nina’s Mom. You will remember me, this year anyway, as That Parent. I’m going to own it right from the get-go in order to save us both time and disappointment. You’re welcome.

No doubt, you are some of the most under-compensated, under-appreciated individuals on earth. And not for one moment do I want you to believe that you are under-appreciated or under-valued by me. You aren’t. You hold a very dear place in my heart as a catalyst to ensuring that these kids can move out one day. And survive for more than 22 minutes.

We have just embarked upon what is sure to be an indescribably long school year, and I feel it’s incumbent upon me to identify and justify myself before anything really embarrassing happens within the confines of your classrooms.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first year in 14 YEARS that I’ve had all 5 kids in school full-time. I apologize in advance.

I thought this was going to be the start of a totally awesome new era. And it is. Sort of. I mean, as it turns out, having these guys in school all day is harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s a LOT of work.

You know those papers I was supposed to sign acknowledging agreement that kid would have to run a mile every Monday? And that she might have photos taken of her? And that if he searched for porn on the school computer he’d be expelled?

To be clear, the reason they haven’t yet been returned to you is not that I don’t support my kid running. Or that I support inappropriate Internet searches. I don’t. The “Selena Gomez naked” search recently discovered on our home computer was dealt with. Okay? I have no problem with my kid having to run a mile. Now, I’ve never seen it happen, and I’ve no idea if it’s even possible, but I don’t have a problem with it. Nor do I have a problem with them being photographed. In fact, if you could do it frequently, I’d appreciate it as I haven’t taken a quality photo with a real camera since 2009, or printed one since 2006. If you think you’re overwhelmed, you should touch base with Shutterfly’s servers.

I didn’t sign them because I’ve decided that rifling through my kids’ backpacks is an activity from which I graduated when they graduated kindergarten. You have my permission to present the logical consequence of them not having forms signed. If I need to sign a form consenting you to dole out that consequence, we may be at an impasse.

To the band instructor: Jack does not yet have an instrument. This is not my fault. This is because Jack signed up for strings thinking that he thought he could play the electric guitar. After accepting (read: violently acknowledging) that electric guitar isn’t an option, he chose the cello. Sir, a cello won’t fit into my car. As soon as he accepts that I’ll order his violin.

To the language arts instructor who gave my oldest child a “0” on Monday because her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird hadn’t yet been procured, it’s all Amazon’s fault. I plan on blaming them often this year. So you know. But their pricing is just really good.

To the nurse: Every time the school’s number pops up on caller ID, I panic. I’m at first relieved it that it isn’t the principal. When I learn it’s you, however, I go into fits. Remember that part about this being the first time in 14 years I’ve had 6 hours per day to myself? Therefore, I’d like to state up front that if Jack or Henry hasn’t thrown up and doesn’t have a fever, he needs to go back to class. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that their stomachs experience divine healing the moment they are within 10 feet of an XBOX which tells me that, 99% of the time, they are just fine.

To the art teachers: I realize I’m late with my payment for the kids’ supplies. This is because the vat of supplies they needed just to start school cost $7689, and it wiped me out of Starbucks money, without which I can’t deal with the fact that more money is required. So just hang on.

Speaking of supplies, I would like to communicate my joy that I didn’t have to purchase toilet paper as a supply. Because I hear some schools in the area required that. Just wow.

To the math teachers: Please just tell the kids that asking mom for help is cheating. When George, who is 9, came to me asking what the probability was that a sock chosen from a group of 6 red ones and 5 blue ones would be red, I told him probably the same as the probability that I would survive the next 10 years, and I don’t know what that is either. My apologies if he actually wrote that down as his answer.

I guess that’s all for now. I’m exhausted. If any of you would like to meet me at the liquor store around the corner anytime after 4:00 today, I think they’re having a 2 for 1 special on Skinnygirl. I’ll bring the straws.


Elizabeth, AKA That Parent

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