I have my fair share of personality quirks. One of them is that I’m not very sentimental. For example, I didn’t need a box of Kleenex and waterproof mascara when my youngest child completed her elementary school career. It’s actually surprising to me the number of mothers that get all choked up about this “milestone.”
Listen up moms, instead of boo hoo you should be going yahoo! Because not having a child in elementary is a cornucopia of awesome.
Yes, there’s still a whole lot of stuff to deal with parenting an older child, like teen angst, having a kid drive and all that college prep stress. But there’s also freedom for you, as in you no longer have to be involved in the day-to-day management of your kid’s classroom life.
Just in case you doubt me on this, I have compiled the top four reasons to be elated that you are no longer an elementary school mom.
No More Dioramas: This alone should be reason enough for a party. You can now actually look at a shoebox without experiencing harrowing flashbacks to various diorama dramas. I’m still haunted by my daughter’s second-grade diorama project that featured the planet Saturn. Do you know how hard it is to get the rings of Saturn not just around a shoebox, but to stay affixed? Let me help you out with that answer. It’s four glasses of wine hard.
No More Homework Help: Yeah, your kid may still need help with their homework in high school, but you won’t be smart enough to do it. I don’t care if you’re right now doing the math for a manned mission to Mars, high school algebra will still be beyond your capability. The reason is because the way you were taught to do algebra back in the day is all wrong. Sure, the answers will be the same, but the show-your-work part will not be up to the 21st century spreadsheet that is now high school math.
No More Room Moms: I can say this because I have a long history of being a room mom, so here goes: Room moms can suck. In my experience they come in three varieties:
A) Laid-back and focused on fun for the kids.
B) Super anal and controlling to the point that you get 20 emails and 32 texts reminding you that you signed up to bring napkins.
C) They volunteered for the gig so they could attempt to be the teacher’s bestie and could care less about actually getting things done.
To experience a school year without a room mom or homeroom obligation is a most joyous thing.
No More Book Report Projects: My children’s book report projects almost killed MY love of reading. You might as well have signed me up for electroshock therapy whenever one of them announced they had a book project due. I thought I was an emotionally strong woman until my son had an assignment that involved making a puppet. I’m not ashamed to admit that a puppet of George Washington broke me.
It felt all kinds of wrong hating the father of our country, but hate him I did because I had to construct a freaking marionette puppet of G.W. in all his breeches, pilgrim shoe and tricorn hat glory. Oh, and just in case you’re thinking “big deal you had to draw and color puppet,” let me clue you in to the fact that the puppet had to be wearing clothes. That’s right, I had to sew a teeny tiny presidential outfit.
Finally, I got smart about the project and just gave up on the whole marionette thing of attaching strings. I also abandoned ship on sewing. In a final act of desperation I raided my daughter's Barbie Princess Castle, stripped the Prince Charming doll of his pants and shirt and called it a day.
The next morning as I walked my son into his classroom I was feeling OK about the puppet. It wasn’t great, but it looked like an 8-year-old-had done it (or an emotionally fragile mom at 2 a.m.). Then I saw the rest of the kids’ puppets. God Bless America, one girl had a George Washington puppet that was three feet tall, outfitted in satin breeches with a cutaway jacket, a cravat and hair! The puppet had a wig. Who does that? It was also outfitted with a voice box.
The puppet, I kid you not, sang the Star Spangled Banner. It may have been highly immature of me to point out to the girl’s mother the historical inaccuracy of George Washington singing the Star Spangled Banner, but how could I not? You don’t just bring a wig-wearing puppet into a classroom and not expect some blowback.
So for all you moms who are no longer parenting an elementary school child, rejoice for you are free — at least from show-off mothers who have puppeteering skills.