Many mothers (and probably some grandmothers too) are waking up this morning with one thought: I can’t believe I don’t have to get up tomorrow and get the children off to school.
While trying to adjust to that thought, moms also are likely thinking that soccer, baseball, gymnastics, and dance lessons are over until the fall. And by fall, I mean the “new” fall, which is early August.
For working or stay-at-home moms of school-age kids, May is probably the most stressful month of the year. When you have two or more children, just amplify that stress a few notches.
I think it’s even more overwhelming for those who are moms and teachers. How these saints get everything done during this crazy month is beyond me. Maybe they just don’t sleep.
If you don’t truly appreciate your child’s teacher, you’re probably completely unaware of everything she has to do.
I well remember the crazy days with four young children and their numerous activities during this month. After all, May is the month every club, group and class has endless ceremonies, celebrations and graduations.
There are pre-school graduations, class graduations, middle school and high school graduations.
Along with those occasions, there are parties. That means food, games, fanfare and usually gifts. Gifts for the graduate, even the 4-year-old, and gifts for well-deserving teachers.
I know there were years when our children’s teachers received some sort of home-baked goods gift (the budget was tight), or perhaps just a note of thanks (somebody was inevitably sick and it was all I could muster), or sometimes nothing at all. I’m sorry, but was probably just too mentally and physically exhausted trying to make it through the month.
Add to the flurry of activity during this month, let’s not forget standardized testing and end-of-the-year work, projects and finals. All of that is stressful for both students and parents. And don’t even get me started on standardized testing in general.
On that note, since I know I will be asked, let me just say that my thoughts are that all children test differently. Some do very well on these tests, and some do not.
As a child and young person, I never tested all that well on these tests. Thank goodness there was not nearly the emphasis (and pressure on all involved) to achieve and overachieve on tests.
In our own family, two of our kids always tested well, two did just OK. I ache for my friends with children who for many reasons do not test well and feel “less smart” because of it.
Of course, I understand the importance of having a way to make sure students are moving ahead and understanding the material, but too often I have heard teachers say they feel they must “teach to the test.”
Sometimes, as mothers, we become our own worst enemy. A case in point, for many years we planned our summer beach vacation to leave either on the last day of school or early the next morning. Seriously?
Oh, so all of those crazy May activities I just mentioned happened all month. And then, on the last day, I had to have six people packed, dogs boarded, mail stopped, and all of the other details for going on vacation completely worked out. What in the world was I thinking?
No wonder so many of those family vacations started out with more arguments than I care to remember.
What I can say to my friends with young children is you should relax now. Most children view summer, especially the beginning of it, as a magical time of year.
Like with Christmas, the anticipation is more than half of the fun, and now it is finally here. It’s too bad moms and teachers couldn’t have a little vacation or party of their own to celebrate getting through May, and the entire school year in general.
Not the kind of party like the dozens or so they have all attended during the last month. Rather, probably one that doesn’t involve children and includes a margarita or two. Happy summer!
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.