I hate the month of May. I wish I didn’t but I do. When my kids were little and May rolled around, I used to worry about how I was going to fill the summer days. They were in preschool for a few hours each week, which gave them social and educational enrichment and gave me time to get errands done, have lunch with friends, or just be alone for short periods of time. We all came back together refreshed and recharged on preschool days.
Then my kids hit elementary school and I started to notice that May wasn’t so idyllic anymore. The class parties and activities started to ramp up, plays, recitals, end of the year parent parties. When my oldest son was in Kindergarten, I relished every single one of them. Why wouldn’t I? They were so damn cute and my only real issue was occasionally waking the baby up from a nap. Don’t get me wrong, at the time I thought juggling all three of my little ones was hard, and it absolutely was, but we had built in recharge time. It was still expected that the kids would have naps and quiet time and would go to bed early.
When all three kids were in Elementary school, it started to get really hard. We had to juggle three open house classrooms in one night, three last day of school parties, three play productions, three end of the year teacher gifts, you get the idea. I also thought this was hard, and it was, but it was also temporary. This was also before extracurricular activities took hold. I was still so young and naive.
Now that my oldest kids are in high school and my youngest is in her final year of elementary school, it feels like we’ve hit critical mass. I start to get a pit in my stomach at the end of spring break, because I know that the final 2 months of school are going to be horrible and the month of May is really going to be a shit show.
I know that my kids feel the same way. They recognize that the final push is going to be intense and every teacher and coach wants the kids to put their class, activity, sport, etc. in the top priority slot, which is impossible and if you ask me a really unhealthy thing to do.
In my experience, since my son started high school, every year, at least one local high school senior dies by suicide. It’s awful and tragic and scares the hell out of me. The demands on our time and attention are too much. No one needs to do everything, let alone be good at it all.
I really don’t know the answers, but we’ve got to start talking about it and considering other options for success. It’s one of the reasons why I loved Aileen’s son’s mantra, “C’s get degrees.” Because they do, as do Bs and even sometimes Ds. If we want to teach our kids resiliency, that means we have to accept not only that failure is ok, but so is being average. Find the things you excel at and do your best everywhere else. And please, please take care of yourselves and talk to someone you trust when you feel overwhelmed and scared. You are important and you are loved, no matter what your grades.
That goes for us mamas too. So much is asked of us and it can be really, really hard to say no, but if we want our kids to lead a more balanced life, I’m pretty sure it starts with us modeling one.