I'm a summer mom.
Don't get me wrong; I believe in education. I make sacrifices for my kids' education. School opens doors. An education is a gift no one can take away. I know all this. But between you and me -- and please don't tell my kids -- I'm a summer mom.
Here are the top nine reasons I am a summer mom:
1. I hate nagging my kids to start their homework, or to stop chatting/snacking/wrestling/ feeding the poor tetra fish and finish their homework already, or to bring me their homework to sign. I hate feeling like a drill sergeant.
2. I hate being told at 9:00 p.m. that pretzels or cookies or dinosaur eggs are needed for the class party tomorrow morning. Or $10 for a missing book and if my kid doesn't bring it in, he'll receive fifty lashes or miss recess; possibly both.
3. I hate letting other people see my sorry penmanship, least of all, elementary school teachers. In what other life circumstance am I required to hand-write notes? Even my shopping lists are on my phone. A teacher once accused my second-grader of forging my signature because, apparently, it was just that bad. After that, I nearly threw out all the pens and pencils in the house.
4. I hate getting notes from teachers about my kid, penned in their artfully-perfect cursive. These notes are usually not of the Your child is a brilliant angel and I wish more of his class-mates were just like him-variety, and they tend to raise my stress-levels faster than the pile of bills competing for my attention on the kitchen counter.
5. I hate having to speak truth to power and, when necessary, explain to a teacher that my kid will live up to expectations; the higher, the better. I am supposedly an adult but, when I squeeze myself into the child-sized desk on parent-teachers' night in the fluorescent-lit classroom with the cheerful posters, I have to fight the urge to raise my hand and bite my nails before speaking.
6. I hate feeling stupid because, with the Common Core, I need my 15-year-old niece to show me how to do sixth-grade math problems (or, let's be honest, third-grade math problems).
7. I hate the high-flying world of book reports and mobiles and tri-boards and science fairs and poetry readings. I hate having to stay up late the night before, cutting pretty shapes from construction paper, soothing an utterly panicked child, and running to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy hoping they have some obscure sticky, colored craft supply in stock.
8. I hate saying, "No bike riding until you know your spelling words"; and, "I wish you could help me make cookies, but see, it's already an hour past bedtime and you have school tomorrow"; and "I can't read with you tonight because your brother needs me to help him study for his social studies exam."
9. In the summer I can say, "Sure, go ride your bike!" or "Let's bake cookies/do a puzzle/sit on the porch with a book and ices," or, even better yet, "Let's go to the beach!" I love saying those things to my kids.
Again, please don't misunderstand. My gratitude to my kids' teachers is truly without bounds. Goodness knows, I could never do what they do. They are our heroes; the molders of our next generation.
But on the last day of school, when my kids stampede into the house flushed and sweaty and whooping with joy, none of them will be happier than me.
Because I'm a summer mom.