This morning, as I slowly made my way through the drop-off line at my children’s elementary school, I pulled to a stop to kiss my 5-year-old son goodbye, and noticed that his entire face was covered in chocolate. Somehow, that managed to escape my attention earlier that morning, while I was frantically stuffing his lunchbox into his bag, trying to remember where we had left the homework that we’d done the night before, and arguing with him that no, you cannot wear a combo of two different pairs of shoes even if they both have a Ninja Turtle design on them.
But now, sitting in the car pool lane, I noticed. And suddenly, I was doing that whole disgusting lick-my-fingers-and-use-them to-wash-his-face thing that I swore I would never do.
Of course, it only half-worked. As I watched him walk into school, with two different Ninja Turtle shoes on and a chocolate-covered face, I felt slightly guilty. Mostly because I was sending him off to that sweet teacher of his, who would have to deal with him first thing in the morning, on a slight sugar high.(For the record, yes, he had chocolate for breakfast — but in my defense, it was organic and dairy-free. If anyone cares.)
Like most mothers, I have the best intentions of waking up each morning and being perfect. But then the kids walk into my room. They begin to argue with each other, start demanding breakfast, and I look over my to-do list for the day and suddenly realize Um, yea, there’s no way all of this is gonna get done. Each day, amid the chaos of my household, I see my sanity slipping quietly out the back door out of the corner of my eye. That’s when survival mode takes hold.
That “survival mode” tends to create a lot of things that I feel the need to apologize for. So in an effort to head that off now, let me just brace you for what’s to come …
1. The math homework will inevitably come back incomplete.
You see, it’s not that I don’t care about my child’s mathematical education, and it’s not that I wanted to disrespect your lesson plan. It’s just that … well, honestly, I SUCK at elementary school math. Which means I’m pretty terrible at helping my kids out when they’re stuck. If it’s not something that can be easily solved with the calculator on my phone, I’m pretty much at a loss. For the life of me, I just can’t figure out how to count the fractions that are shorter than the blue crayon so that we know how many apples Henry gave to Lucy when he used to have 78 of them and now has 82, and show our work.
Trust me, I’m not happy about this either.
2. Our class projects will most likely be pretty craptacular.
Last year I went to my daughter’s “diorama fair,” which was where the whole class made a page out of a book come to life, by creating the scene in the shoebox. I helped her work on it for a few hours over the weekend, and we made some pretty neat things out of construction paper and clay, but I think I must have misunderstood the rules. I didn’t know that we were supposed to have dedicated a solid 56 hours of our time to this project, and approximately $150+ dollars of crafting supplies. I was also unaware that 1st graders had the skill to create the entire “Goldilocks” family out of kiln baked ceramics (complete with glass eyes and tiny woven ringlet curls), and then wire the whole thing with electricity to make the water in the stream run. My kid just isn’t that skilled on his own, and I don’t have that much time.
3. My kids will forget their gourmet lunches at home. Every. Single Day.
Actually, that’s because I never them any. We try to eat pretty healthy around our house overall, and I try to carry that over into the school lunches, but I just don’t seem to have time to create a sculpture out of tofu and lentils every morning. I’ll do my part where I can, though — like sneaking in some protein where it counts and packing it all in a shatterproof glass container so that I won’t accidentally poison him (or any of his classmates) with BPA, but when I was getting the container out of the cabinet, a tiny package of cookies fell into his lunchbox, too.
At least there were only like two cookies in there anyway. Maybe three. Definitely not four, which I know, because he ate one of them for breakfast.
That I know for sure.
4. I’m probably the worst fundraiser … ever. (Trust me, you don’t want me on your committee.)
I know that you are actively trying to get parents involved in their kid’s education, and trust me, I’m right there with you! I was there for the educational field trip to the forest where we spent hours looking for leaves and foraging for bugs, and I was all in to host the food-free, non-religious, celebration of our differences, classroom “winter” party, but I was unable to take off work to be a mystery reader all 25 times you asked me, and I just wasn’t able to pull my life together enough to fundraise for Jump Rope gor Heart. Or the PTO wrapping paper sale. Or the bake sale. Or the popcorn sale. Or the magazine sale. Or the Fun Run. Or the… I’m sure that I’m forgetting like ten other fundraisers that we were supposed to participate in, but do you see what I’m saying? I’m a mess over here, you can’t expect a mess like me to fundraise. In fact, I’m over here buried alive in box tops that I will probably never remember to send to school.
Can I just send a check? I’d feel a lot better if I could just send a check. And if I do, can you please stop telling my kids that if they raise $350 they can have some cheap-ass pencil topper?
5. My son is “that kid” who teaches the other ones new swear words.
Yep, my kid sometimes swears. And really, I’m sorry most about this one because it’s actually my fault. I’m working on it, though.
So anyway, thanks for letting me get all of that off my chest. Hopefully now that we have outlined some realistic expectations of me, this year will be amazing!