A Parent's Guide To The 5 Stages Of Fall

by Christine Organ
Credit: Gabriela Insuratelu/Shutterstock

As a child, I used to hear adults wax poetic about the changing seasons, and I would look at them like they had two heads. Seriously, the changing seasons? This is what gets you excited? Talk about pathetic.

Well, now that I’m a full-fledged adult (whether I feel like one or not), much to my own chagrin, I find myself talking in gag-worthy ways about the changing seasons. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty of nature. Maybe it’s because, as a parent, the seasons have a significant impact on the task of parenting. Or maybe it’s just because I get bored easily.

Whatever the reason, I’m far more in tune with the changing seasons these days — and not just the seasons themselves, but the subtleties as well, like the five stages of fall, for instance:

1. The “I’m So Over Summer” Stage

To be fair, this stage actually starts sometime in early to mid-August. We’re sick of the heat, sunscreen, and under-boob sweat. Even the pool has lost its appeal with all those kids splashing water at us. We’re tired of entertaining our kids every day. And the fighting! Ohmigosh, the fighting! If I have to break up one more fight over who’s better at Minecraft, I think I might lose it. How many more days until school starts? I’m so over summer.

2. The “Pumpkin Spice Latte” Stage

Isn’t fall the best?! If it were a new lover, this would be the stage in the relationship when you text cute emojis to each other in the middle of the afternoon, when morning breath smells good, and when you find loud chewing to be endearing. Everything about fall is awesome in this stage: Pumpkin spice lattes, the kids are in school, earlier bedtimes mean more time to ourselves at night, and sweaters and boots mean we don’t have to shave our legs anymore or feel bad about that extra belly roll. There is nothing that could make this time of the year better — except the leaves turning color. Ohmigosh! I can’t wait until the leaves start to turn! Just think of all the adorable pictures of our kids playing in the leaves. Fall is just the best!

3. The “Leaves Are Turning! Oh No, Wait. They’re Gone” Stage

This is the stage when fall jumps the shark. The leaves were pretty for what? Like a day. Maybe. Blink and you missed it. And those cute pictures of our kids playing in the leaves? Yeah, well, those didn’t exactly go as planned — unless a stick sword fight and leaves crushed into their hair, underwear, and ears were in the plan.

Gone is the cool weather; now it’s downright cold. Each morning starts with an argument about why my kids can’t wear shorts anymore and me screaming for them to just put your freaking jacket on already!

Sure, it’s nice that the kids are in school now, but homework can shove it. Boots are too heavy and sweaters make me look fat. And those pumpkin spice lattes? Did you know that they have like a gazillion calories?

4. The “It’s Only Going to Get Worse” Stage

Okay, so we’re in this. It’s cold, but not that cold. I might as well appreciate the mild days while they last. Soak it up, right? It’s only going to get worse. Pretty soon, we’ll have to deal with mittens and snow pants and boots. Where the heck are the kids’ boots anyway? And why do we have 15 different mittens, none of which match? Forget it, I’m going to bed. It’s only 5:34 p.m. but it looks like midnight outside.

5. The “How Many Days Until Summer Break” Stage

It’s cold. Like, really cold. There might actually be snow on the ground. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’m already sick of holiday music. Homework is annoying. Routine is exhausting. Starbucks stopped selling pumpkin spice lattes weeks ago, and those cute little red cups have sparked the latest controversy over who-knows-what. How long until summer break? The pool sounds so great right about now. Fall is so overrated.

And winter can suck it.