A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: school

Welcome to Camp Mom!

It’s the last day of school for my kids, and I’m already crying.

No, no…not just because I’m completely unprepared for summer.

Mini-Me and her teacher

Mini-Me getting loved on by her 4th grade teacher yesterday…while Mrs. J. strategically avoids eye contact with me, per the terms of her restraining order.

I’m crying because my two elementary school-aged kids are sad to say goodbye to their beloved teachers and friends today, and when they are sad, I am sad. 

Seems like just yesterday my little Bucket Head was getting on the school bus for the first time.

And it didn’t take long for Mini-Me’s teacher to figure out that I was not operating on all six cylinders. Ah, memories.

Where does the time go?!

Aaaaand, there I go. Getting all sad and nostalgic again. Oy. Hormones. When in doubt, always blame the hormones. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hey, it’s also my anniversary today, which is a sweet way to end the school year. Sixteen years. Yowza. Feels like sooooo much longer. (Just kidding, Honey…kinda.) We’re going to simultaneously celebrate our marriage and our last day of school-year-freedom by having lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant. Then we’re going to fill up a bunch of water balloons so we can ambush the kids when they get off the school bus and help them forget how sad they are to end the school year. Wish me luck on that one…hopefully it doesn’t backfire and make them even more sad that their parents are such insensitive dicks. (Tune in on Instagram later for an update!)

Read Me In the Powder Room!

But in the meantime, I’ve been brainstorming about some of the things we can do this summer to maintain a modicum of sanity and have a little fun. Spoiler alert: bathroom humor and manual labor! It’s over In The Powder Room today. Join me, won’t you?

Here’s to a great summer!

Surviving School Open House

Here in Georgia, our kids go back to school ridiculously early.

Never thought I’d say that. But now that it is the last official day of summer for my kids, it feels like it’s all over too soon. We’ve just hit our stride! Was it really 78 days ago that I wrote this? Dang.

So this week I’ve had to attend not one, but two School Open Houses. And being that I’m such a giver, I wanted to share some survival tips with you for when your kids go back to school this fall. You can thank me later.

Let’s start on a positive note, shall we?

Do bathe your child and put them in clean clothes. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and nothing tells a teacher that you don’t give a shit like the “My MeeMaw Loves Me” t-shirt with holes in the pits and the chocolate (or is that blood?) stain on the front.

Do the same for yourself. 

Do wear something cute, but tasteful. This is not the time to introduce your child’s teacher to your cleavage or your coin slot.

Do find a babysitter for your other children if possible. It will be so much easier to focus on the task at hand if you are not yelling over the teacher’s shoulder: “BUCKET HEAD! Put. That. Down. So help me God if I have to come over there you will not get one more Skittle today.”

Do have your child make a handmade card for the teacher stating how excited she/he is about being in that teacher’s class. Insert a gift card or some cash. Teachers are totally underpaid for putting up with our spawn all day and studies show that teachers who receive bribes gifts are much more likely to be just a little more patient and kind to your obnoxious little Johnny McFunpants.

Do bring your favorite pen. You are going to be doing a LOT of form filling-out-ering. That’s always more pleasant if you can do it with your own best pen. (Or is that just weird weird me?)

Do remember to bring your checkbook so when you are raped and pillaged by the PTA you don’t have to further humiliate yourself with the same old “Oh shoot, I must have forgotten my checkbook!” line you use every year.

Do bring a copy of your emergency contacts if you don’t already have them programmed into your phone. No matter how many times you give that info, year after year after year, schools seem to take pleasure in asking you to rewrite it, over and over and over.

And now for the No-Nos:

Do NOT experiment with illegally obtained prescription speed the day of the Open House. Do NOT ask me how I know this. I just do. (That was a really bad year.)

Do NOT dress your boy child in anything smocked or embroidered. This is not an Easter Parade. If your boy child shows up at Open House in a sailor suit, anything seersucker, or anything considered a “jumper,” the teacher will (correctly) assume you are an asshole and your mama’s boy will be gang raped on the playground.

Do NOT over-dress yourself either. Even if your divorce was just finalized and your ex is a turd-burglar, Open House is not the time to troll for fresh meat. Focus, people. We’re here for the kids.

Do NOT be the first one to arrive. Open House is like a cocktail party without the cocktails (ahem, that means you, Brenda. Leave the flask at home next time.) Ever notice how the first people to show up at the party are usually the wet blankets of the night? Just sayin.’

Do NOT be the last one to arrive or you will be stuck with the “Herman Miller chair” on the teacher’s wish list or the worst class volunteer job like Hospitality Mom or Box Tops Redemption Mom.

Do NOT say anything negative about any previous teachers. Der.

Do NOT say anything negative about your child. Double der.

Do NOT say anything negative about the crappy Open House process, the crowded parking lot, the extreme heat, the blood-thirsty PTA, or the never-ending school supply list.

You know what, just keep your MF-ing trap shut, period. Just smile, give a firm hand shake, fill out the forms, and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

Suck it up. Someday you’ll be under a hideous afghan, waiting by the phone for your Great Grandchildren to call, and wishing you had enjoyed being a parent more while you were in the trenches. At least that’s what those annoying old folks at the home keep telling me. Whatever. Where’s my flask?


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Parental Torture, I mean, Teacher Appreciation Week

Well it’s Teacher Appreciation Week here in the good ol’ US of A.

Yes, you heard me. I said WEEK.

Oh hold yer fire, beeyatches.

For the record, I think every week should be Teacher Appreciation Week. There is not a single more important job in the world than teaching children, especially MY children who are not getting a ton of academic enrichment at home between the SpongeBob marathons and the fake turd “Pootorials.” But I’m talking about real appreciation in the form of sincere thanks, praise, and parental support. Not shit like this:

"I'd really like a World's Best Teacher mug!" said no teacher ever. Folks, there is a reason I found that little gem on the shelf at my local Goodwill. Teachers do not want that kind of appreciation. Please think twice before you buy anything with an apple or school house theme.

No, at my kids’ school, Teacher Appreciation Week should just be renamed “Parental Torture Week.”

You see, the overachieving, cracked-out on their kids’ Ritalin Room Moms at my children’s school seem to take an obscene amount of pleasure in sending out email mandates with two days’ notice informing us of “the schedule” they’ve created for gift giving during the upcoming week. The idea is that all the children bring in a different themed little treat each day for their teacher to create lavish class bouquets and gift baskets from the group. You know, like making Stone Soup: if everyone contributes a little, you end up with a fabulous feast.

In theory, it’s a nice idea, isn’t it? And it probably protects our teachers from receiving 19 more “A+ Teacher” coffee mugs that they’ll have to make a special trip to the thrift store to purge.

But do the Room Moms coordinate this gift fest with other classrooms to make it easy for the maxi-breeders like me? Noooooo. No they do not. It’s every Room Mom for herself and thus every classroom seems to have it’s own list of gifts and unique schedule of when to send them.

So instead of cleaning up the piles of TP my children have created in every bathroom from their over-enthusiastic fake turd crafting this week…

…or the fake turds I keep finding and doing double takes over…

… I’m forced to create and regularly reference a spreadsheet to remind me what to buy/make/find and send to school each day with each kid. And by spreadsheet I mean coffee stained hand-written tablet paper:

Tomorrow’s a biggie, eh?

The point is: this is a lot to sustain for a whole week. On top of which, both of my bigger kids had Field Day this week (on two different days) which required before school sunscreen application, tennis shoes, special t-shirts, hats, and water bottles. Can’t forget that!

Oh, and did I mention the 800 count box of round toothpicks that I stupidly volunteered to send in for the fifth grade toothpick project on Tuesday? Shit… I thought signing up to spend $2 on a box of toothpicks was going to be a super easy way to participate. WRONG. It wasn’t. Four. Fucking. Stores. Turns out every mo-frankin’ fifth grade class in the school is simultaneously doing whatever they are doing with the 12,000 round toothpicks they each need, and I was the last mom to get to the store to buy them, of course.

But wait, there’s more…coincidentally, this is also the week that Bucket Head has decided he’s over pull ups and wants to sleep in his “big boy” Spiderman underpants every night. This means that Mommy is washing wet stanky sheets every morning and remaking the bed every afternoon. Weeeee! (Literally)

Clearly I’ve created most of my own excess work here, I do realize that. It’s how I roll. But back to the bigger issue at hand…

Teachers deserve to be appreciated. And teachers are often parents too! So imagine the poor teachers of multiple children who are trying to keep up with these Teacher Appreciation Week schedules! This is simply too much for any of us.

Look, I know teachers, and let me tell you what teachers really want (and this list is in no particular order):

  • a good bottle of wine
  • good quality coffee beans or tea
  • respect
  • gift cards from stores or restaurants they like
  • gratitude
  • hand written notes/cards
  • parents who care
  • recognition for a job well done

What else? Please add your suggestions in the comments below. Especially if you are a teacher. How we can best appreciate you and still maintain (or in my case, obtain) a smidgen of sanity?

You know what else? I don’t think teachers really want a whole week of this crazy making at the end of the year when there is so much else going on at the same time! I’m guessing they’d much rather have a little love on a regular basis to get them through those harder days. Send your teacher a hot biscuit wrapped in foil one random morning to say Hey, I know mornings can be rough sometimes and if you are like me, maybe you didn’t have time for a hot breakfast today, but you are important to me and my family and we care about you. (And please don’t yell at my child today… she gets enough of that at home.)

Now let’s end my little rant on a funny note, shall we? Please, please, please, you simply MUST see what Cake Wrecks has put together in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Not only are the pictures worth a thousand words, but the captions are fabulous. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

with gratitude to my children’s awesome teachers,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

(Did you like this post? Then you’ll love my most popular school-related piece: “And that’s why speech pathologists are such bad mofos.”)

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