My son comes home from school every day and gives me the official count on how many days of first grade he has left. I ooh and aah with him and tell him how excited I am. I then play the part of good mommy (because sometimes it really is nothing more than an act) and remind him that he will still need to read and do his timed math tests over the summer to keep his skills sharp.
But little does he know… I am counting down the days with more anticipation than he is! I yearn for MY freedom from HIS homework, HIS alarm clock and HIS strict bedtime. There are less school projects, fundraisers, volunteer “opportunities” (can you say marketing spin?) and schedules to coordinate.
After working all day, making dinner (okay, that’s kind of a lie – my husband usually cooks) and begging my children to eat three bites of dinner, I am exhausted! My brain is too fried for complicated issues like “If Sally as 77 cents, how many 5 cent pencils, 15 cent notebooks and 25 cent yo-yos can she buy?”. Where is Sally’s mother?! Why does Sally have to figure this out?! Where does Sally shop to get these prices?! But I digress, back to my exhaustion…
Yes, I am too exhausted to figure out Sally’s spending habits and read my son’s two-page story to make sure he answered the questions right. Ironically, though, I can tear through 200 pages of a book of my choosing after I put the kids to bed.
And therein lies the kicker – kids bedtime versus ours. My kids our asleep by 8:00 so that they are well-rested to get up at 7:00 am. Parents on the other hand, put the kids to bed, finish cleaning the kitchen, do some more work, do a load of laundry, lay out lunch bags and backpacks for the next day and still try to watch a show, read a magazine or have some “me” time before they go to bed. Yes, I would like to go to sleep at 8:00 pm, 7:30 would be even dreamier, but when would we get everything done. So the kids go to sleep at 8:00 and wake up at 7:00 am – that’s eleven hours of sleep! I can’t even imagine what I would be like with eleven hours of sleep… coherent, nice, patient. But I am none of those things because I go to bed at 11:00 pm and get up at 6:30 am to have my act together before my son wakes up at 7:00 am from his eleven hours of peaceful slumber. So I get 7.5 hours on a good night, if neither of my kids wake me up – which incidentally is rare! Last night my two kids pulled their favorite tag team trick to ensure I was awake from 3:30 am to 6:30 am. I swear there should be a Mommy Punk’d show where the night vision video camera catches me shuffling back and forth between my son’s room and my three-year-old daughter’s room, half asleep, with the look of desperation in my eye.
But when my son is not in school… ah, just the words are bliss… I can sleep in. I can sleep until 7:30 or even 8:00 am depending on my conference call schedule. My son still gets up early, but I don’t have to be awake to nag him to hurry up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and find his library books. He can get himself a snack and watch cartoons while I get that really hard sleep from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. You know what I am talking about, the mouth open, drooling on the pillow, ‘exhaustion may not kill me today’ kind of sleep!
Yes, the school year is coming to an end and my son’s first grade journey is almost over. But as with most journeys, the last few miles feel the longest. The month of May is the monthly equivalent to the 5:00 witching hour in my house. At 5:00 every evening my kids melt down. It’s almost dinner time, so they’re hungry, they are worn out from the day and it is the time when I need them to behave the most – so they melt. May is end of the year chaos. We have end of the year parties for t-ball, end of the year parties for my daughter’s preschool and my son’s school. We have end of the year teacher appreciation gifts to make, buy and stress out about. I am the least crafty person IN THE WORLD, yet always end up helping with end of the year gifts that require glue guns, mod podge and other intimidating crafting supplies. I think we should start appreciating our teachers in advance, before we’re too tired to do it thoughtfully! But I am happy to report, the picture collage is done and delivered for preschool, the decoupage vase will be given to the first grade teacher on Thursday, the pictures have been sent for the t-ball awards and the cupcakes were made for Open House. I volunteered at the end of the year party, the May field trip, the school fundraiser and attended the preschool picnic. Did I do all this single-handedly? Not even close! Did I have some small part in each of these? I like to think so. The month of May almost killed me, but I survived. Wait, the day isn’t over yet… it still might!
So with just a few events, early mornings and bedtime threats left, I am thrilled to know that our break is almost here. I guess my son is excited too.
How do you feel about the end of the school year? Click on the number above the post to comment!
Slightly Off-Balance (http://slightlyoffbalanceblog.com) is a blog written by Paige Morgan, a working mother, who strives for balance through writing, humor, friendships and cocktails.