An accidental competition for the worst mother ever.

The first week back to school always brings out the usual excitement, insecurities,  fear of failure and concerns about not fitting in.  I guess probably our children go through that as well but right now I’m talking about being the parent of a child heading back to school.  I have a group of friends who sporadically group text whenever things get weird and we need to vent, and the first week of school almost always sets us off so I thought I’d share.  Names have been redacted from this group text because CPS doesn’t always understand humor:

“Y’all.  I might be the worst mother ever. I bought a weeks worth of school clothes the night before school started.  I almost had a fistfight with another mom over the last pair of shorts at Target.”

“Oh, I can beat that.  All the stores were sold out of the “MANDATORY” red folders on the school supply list so I sent my kid with green folders and told him to tell his teacher that his mother is colorblind and very sensitive about it.”

“I forgot to pack a lunch for my kid so I brought her take-out tacos. There’s a mom at my kid’s school who makes home-made sushi in the shape of endangered animals for her kid’s lunch.   It’s like she’s making lunch at me.”

“I can top that.  I gave Hailey some burlap and told her to make her own damn shoes. She asked me for thread. I’m like, ‘THAT’S WHAT HAIR IS FOR, HAILEY.’ I mean, honestly.”

“I gave my kid a dead cat I found on the highway and punched him in the face.”

“I forgot school even started until I read these messages.”

“I just realized I forgot to pick my kids up from summer camp.”

“Jesus.  You guys make me glad I don’t have kids.”

“Sweetie, you do have kids.”

“Oh Shit.”

“Wow. You win.”

164 thoughts on “An accidental competition for the worst mother ever.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. My youngest is a senior. I am dreading empty nest….but I am so glad this is my last ‘back to school’ because I SUCK at it.

  2. In her first years of life…
    I dropped my daughter off the bed.
    I bounced her head off a shelf.
    I lost her favorite stuffed companion – twice.

    It’s a wonder the kid’s survived as long as she has…

  3. Oh how I hate back-to-school time! It’s scary and stressful and the smells of the school take me back to my own crappy school memories. I wish my kids could go to school with ZERO involvement from me!

  4. I thought I was automatically entered in this contest when I didn’t take “first day of school” photos of my kids. They offered to text me their selfies, though, so I think it kind of works out.

  5. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

    Ok, maybe it is only 9:05 in the morning. But hey, I got to work early. So stop judging me…

  6. My mom made me baloney sandwiches for lunch – for about eleven years straight. I’m way too old for school lunches now, but can I borrow one of you guys anyway? Take-out tacos sound way more fun.

  7. My wife was in a rush and accidentally picked up juice boxes at the store that had .5% alcohol (in small print – and here .5% or lower does not have to be kept separate or signed). Our 10 year old noticed, of course, gave some to her friends and they all staggered around the lunch room like they were drunk slurring their words (got that from TV). My wife spent an hour in the principal’s office with the teacher, the principal, the vice-principal, the health and safety rep, the school board rep, trying to keep Children’s Services form being notified.

  8. I’m stealing the line about the folders.. Staples NEVER has the damned color folders that the school requires.

  9. Just sent the baby to college. His apartment puts the pit in pitiful, but that is a post for another day. Mostly I just wanted to tell you that I’m pretty sure you’re my spirit animal. Power to the mamas!

  10. I noticed the local new station (WFAA) began back to school coverage at 4:30 a.m. Monday…its the first day of school…not the first lunar launch. good grief

  11. My kids are grown and have flown the coop, so it’s fun to remember the crazy days with all of you! Now all I have to do is successfully dress myself and pack my lunch- sometimes that is impossible.

  12. Thank you to all of these moms that made me laugh. I mean motherhood is awesome, but it is also so frikken tough. If I had known what I was getting into before I had Lucas I would never have had a child…which of course would mean that I would never have tripped with him in my arms and dropped him on his head…but since he is now toddling up to the computer more than a month later I am pretty sure I am far more fazed by it than he ever will be.

  13. For some reason last year AND this year there has a been a deficit of yellow spiral notebooks in our area. I have a suspicion that someone is hoarding them. This year after checking three stores I finally said, “Fuck it”. I bought a white notebook and wrote the word YELLOW in giant letters in the front. My 7 year old was mortified. But he relaxed once I showed the teacher and she laughed. I would have died if she had given me a stern look and said, “This is not acceptable”.

  14. re: empty nest syndrome – My older daughter called me at least once a day to tell me about stuff, ask questions. She’s in 3rd year of law school and still does it. If they want, they’ll keep you as involved as you’ve ever been. Younger daughter only calls a few times a week, but I know she still likes me. Both are fine with me. They need space to figure themselves out.

    Also, I remember a year when the school insisted on green pens NOT RED because gangs or something. Impossible to find anywhere. Of course.

  15. I’m just wondering if the mom punched the kid in the face or the dead cat. Am I the only one?

  16. Kristen…I was too. Hoping that she punched the cat in the face since he is dead and can’t feel it.

  17. Conversation with my other half yesterday
    Me: Don’t forget to leave money for L for lunch and the $40 class fee.
    R: What?!!?
    Me: Kids are expensive hunny. I told you this.
    R: I’m trading her in for a cheaper model.
    Me: Good luck with that.

    I frequently threaten to Hunger Games my children.
    Me: I’m going to leave. Hunger Games are ago!
    Oldest: You have to come back and one of us will still be alive.
    Me: Who said I’m coming back?

    Worst mom ever.

  18. The people in the cafeteria must think I am having some kind of seizure. I laughed so hard at the dead cat line… but quietly so that it wouldn’t draw attention to myself. Then I realized I must look like in having a grand mal or crying over some dead cat or something.

  19. I’ve duped my kid into thinking I’m a cool mom, and the moms who are actually mature and responsible are lesser parents. I can’t believe more parents don’t do this. I get away with EVERYTHING.

  20. You and your friends are hilarious.

    I text my friend with an infant and another one on the way with ridiculous things to help keep each other sane.

    I’m a teacher, so of course I make jokes (with the faculty, out of earshot of the kids) that authorities wouldn’t think are funny either. But hey, this is how we keep our cool when a kid is being a dick. Or when it’s like the 50th time you’ve had to tell students to be quiet, do their work, put away their phones and actually bring their books and pens to school… that day.

  21. As the mother of a college graduate, I will only state that I never made a single mistake along these lines. Multiple ones, perhaps. But not a single one.

  22. I hated that back-to-school crap so much, I just didn’t send my kid to school. Ever.

    What I probably needed was a group of horrible mothers for friends to ease my phobia. Damn.

  23. I’m trying to figure out what difference the color the damn folder makes????

    Yeah-no kids. No, I’m sure…very sure.

  24. Omg this is amazing. If I ever have kids, I’m requiring he or she come with friends that have parents like this.

  25. I don’t have kids (pretty sure that’s true, although I can absolutely imagine being the kind of mom who might forget), but this made me laugh my ass off. Which is a miracle, given how my day/week/month has gone. Thanks for being you. Although I am really hungry for tacos now.

  26. Great, now not only do I want to hang out with you in bathrooms but I want to be part of your texting group…

  27. My kid started kindergarten yesterday. Apparently they have dress codes that young…? EVERYTHING I bought her is against the rules. Also I can’t find her lunchbox anywhere because we just moved so she’s carrying a lunch cube all by itself… She knows I love her though…

  28. Colorblind wins! I braved Walmart not once, but twice, to acquire said colored folders. They were out of yellow and orange at our local store, so I drove 25 minutes north to another. I actually told my daughter to buy two with cute fuzzy animals on them and we’ll WRITE “Orange” and “Yellow” on them.

  29. Fuck rules (and MANDATORY red folders; and endangered-animal sushi and designer shoes!) My boss is actually colorblind; can’t see anything in the red spectrum so showing up in blue or green lipstick is totally lost on him since we all look like that anyway and his wife picks out his clothes for him.
    This is priceless!

  30. I need to be part of this texting group. All my friends have older kids so they trump me with their ‘awful mom’ stories every time. It’s not fair. I never win.

  31. Daughter starting her 3rd year in college, so back to school shopping means a trip to the Wally World closest to campus to stock up her pantry. While checking out the full cart, the woman behind me asked “How many kids do you have?!” I pointed to the daughter and said “Just the one.” The daughter thought nosy woman was being very judgmental about the size of my family. I figure she was being judgmental about the ability of my tiny daughter to pack away that much crap. Still better than shopping for folders!

  32. Thank you, as always. Let me add my failure. I just found out that school started this week and I planned a beach trip that lasts until Sat. The first week is all weeding out the dumb kids anyway right?

  33. It’s ridiculous, that Woman who is lunching at others. I pretty sure she is lunching maliciously! No child needs that! I mean, sushi?! I don’t even eat sushi! It’s raw, uncooked food! To send your child to school with! I’m pretty sure CPS needs to visit her!
    On another note, I don’t have kids. Unless Aliens showed up one night…


  34. These made me laugh. Because I work in the realm of Child Protective Services and when it comes to “worst mothers in the world”, all y’all aren’t even in the same universe as the cases I see.

    So cut yourselves some slack. You’re raising good kids. And you care about them.

  35. School starts Monday. Everyone of these conversations has been had or will be spoken before then.

  36. this made me laugh ridiculously loud… at work. My own fault for being naughty and reading it at work. I love you Jenny!

  37. Your post is hilarious and so are the comments. This makes me feel so much better about myself! It means that I am not THE WORST MOTHER out there! LOL Kind of looks like we are all about even!!

  38. Andie,

    Staples doesn’t have the right color because the mom that makes endangered animal sushi bought them all back in May!

    I went to Office Max the night before school started and they were already closed. I was like “But this is their Black Friday, WTF?”

    So I told my twins’ teachers, “We are on waitlist for another school, so I’m waiting on picking up school supplies.”
    And I totally forgot the first day photos.

  39. Staples is always out of the right color folders because the mom that makes the endangered species sushi bought them all back in May!
    I went to OfficeMax the night before school started and it was closed. I was like “But this is their Black Friday, WTF”
    So I told the kids’ teachers that we are on waitlist for another school and I am waiting to buy supplies.
    I also totally forgot the first day photos.

  40. LOL. I’m definitely with you guys. My kid eats dry cereal for lunch every day because he refuses to eat sandwiches, lunchables, PB&J, or anything resembling something healthy. I’d settle for marginally healthy but nope. Insists he’ll puke (and has) so I don’t bother trying to force him anymore. I also won’t do fundraisers (2-3 at the beginning of every year!). I’m sorry I don’t feel like whoring off popcorn and wrapping paper so my kid can earn a Chinese yo-yo as a prize. Here’s ten bucks. Go crazy.

  41. Now, I kinda want kids so I can have conversations like this with my friends. Loving everyone’s stories on this thread!

  42. When my son was in middle school, I drove him to school the day after winter break ended. Turned out winter break actually ended the NEXT day and the school was completely shut down when we got there. Then, because I needed to dash for my bus in to work, I made him walk home by himself. Not my finest moment but at least he thought it was funny….

  43. I just wanted to say that I so wish all of you were around 20 years ago when my one and only baby started preschool. Yes, preschool was the start of my son’s complaints about school being boring and a total waste of time. PRESCHOOL! It was a steady decline from that point on. I was so grateful when he graduated high school and we could be done with the whole school experience!

  44. I could either get the right color folders or the right style of folders but not both. So I got some of each. Purple and black are close to red and blue, right?

    Love the “she’s making lunch AT me” comment – I feel that way a lot!

    We opted to wait for the second school picture day…sure hope they do that again this year! Except…oops! Now I won’t have any pictures to send in my Christmas cards. Oh well, guess I won’t send any this year.

  45. Holy christ I thought having dogs was hard (I fed them cheerios the other morning because I ran out of dog food and REALLY wanted coffee before braving the store)…I can’t imagine the shit I’d get if they had to go to school. CPS and Humane Society watch lists, I’m sure.

  46. School started yesterday and it was fine. Last night, I stayed awake until 4AM playing video games and slept through all my alarms until I bolted awake at 8:30.

    Basically my kid was late to school because I am not responsible enough to go to sleep at a decent time.

  47. My daughter’s kindergarten orientation alone was enough to kick my anxiety into turbo mode. I feel like this post is a glimpse into my future.

  48. My son’s private kindergarten insisted that the boys wear black leather shoes to school for chapel (first thing in the morning). Then they had to keep a pair of tennis shoes in their cubbies to change into for school. At the end of the day, they changed back. Given how quickly kids’ feet grow, can you imagine how many pair of shoes I was supposed to buy? I complained to the Headmaster and got the stupid policy changed. The little boys now all wear black tennis shoes all the time.

  49. Um…I actually 1st interpreted that to say the mom punched the kid in the face WITH the dead cat. And I didn’t even bat an eye. That’s the kind of momma I am!

  50. Meanwhile at our house, we’re already arguing about where our 4 month old will go to school. Which means by the time it matters, I’ll be bored with the entire idea and forget to do anything about it. Then when the kid is about seven his Dad will be like “Isn’t he supposed to be in school?” and I’ll have to hide him during the day for the next eleven years so I don’t have to admit that I never got around to enrolling him anywhere.

  51. Color blind comment is great. Have a friend who is color blind. He went to Europe on business. All went well after he figured out that the traffic lights there have green on the top and red on the bottom.

  52. All of my children are done with school – and I’m SO grateful! If I ever had to do another Science Fair project, I could not be held responsible for my reaction. My daughter made me guardian of my grandkids if she should ever kick the bucket – while I adore them, let’s just hope she stays alive.

  53. I have awesomely “awful” mom friends that I get to share stories with so that we all feel better about ourselves. It’s fantastic. I of course had to share this post with them immediately. I’m pretty sure one of them might have peed herself laughing.

  54. i’m not a mom, but i am a teacher, and one of my favorite things to do before school starts is to ‘subvert the system’ of back-to-school lists. when i run into parents and kids frantically trying to get all the stuff on their ‘mandatory’ lists, i tell them they won’t bring about the end of the world if they can’t find the orange, two section notebook they’re ‘supposed’ to have because as a teacher, i’d just be happy the kid HAD a notebook. i did tell one dad to buy his kid one yellow single-subject notebook and one red one, carry them together and tell the school they COULD be orange, if they chose to mix. the guy looked at me like i was sprouting horns..until i explained that red and yellow mixed made orange. that, apparently, was news to him. schools can’t make you buy the specific colors/items they stipulate.. like my grandson-by-association needing a white eraser to start kindergarten in iowa… good grief, the kids are gonna eat ’em, so do they think they’re flavorless???

  55. I need these friends!!! I am, Just this evening already a slacker Mom missing my junior in HS’s meet the teacher night because it wasn’t on the district calendar and the only way they notified parents was verbally telling the 16 yr old who drops it on me at the dinner out she requested then proceeded to sulk because I didn’t go to her school thing! And all the friends I’ve made here would be horrified by that as well as the fact that I let her dye her hair pink. This is why I love it here!

  56. Kindergarten teacher asked the kids if they wanted to share a song. My kid belted out “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror like a boss.

  57. Our oldest is 31, our youngest is (wait, I gotta do the math) 25, and if we’d had texting back in those dark ages, these are totally the texts I’d have had. I so get this, even in retrospect.

  58. My boys are also out of school now (thank heavens) and I DO NOT miss the days of back-to-school lists. But I have plenty of worst-mom-ever stories. The one my younger son will never let me forget is the day I dropped him off at kindergarten on a teacher professional development day. Then I went off to work and they couldn’t reach me. Bad mom! Bad, bad mom!

  59. You guys are evil. I was reading this in bed and woke my partner up with my insuppressible snorting and shaking the bed. I was asked if I was laughing out crying. I said “both; I’m laughing so hard I’m crying.”

    At least I wasn’t on the train this time…

  60. Reason #184 on the “why I don’t have kids” list is that I’d be too scared of other moms. Now I just realized I’d just need friends like yours and I’d be ok 🙂

  61. I hate to admit but I’m the sushi mom, only minus the sushi because my kids are so picky. But I have sent them with chopsticks already.

  62. Awesome. Now if only school would start already. I’d pay someone a lot of money for the privilege of forgetting the red folders on the first day.

  63. Those texts are so awesome – I need to get my friends on board. And Paul’s wife does win – holy crap that was fantastic. Great read today – comments and Ms. Lawson’s post. 🙂

  64. You have the coolest friends! When my kids go back to school in two weeks I am going to try priming my friends with funny lines and see what comes back. I’m venturing a guess it will be ‘Have you taken your meds Kris?’

  65. AP english 2002ish (?) had a huge list of required books. So we spent something like $300 on these books (mom made about 10k below poverty level for 1 person, nevermind two kids so this was a LOT of money) only to actually use maybe 2 in class. College prices werent much better but at least they’d buy them back (most chain bookstores won’t refund books purchased a year priro that were on the list but not actually used (or at least not back then)).

  66. Basically my point was school lists suck (sorry half beat trying to mow yard)

  67. I was checking my 10-year-old daughter’s homework after her first day. She had filled out one of those forms that helps the teachers get to know the kids. All was well until I got to the last page. Something else I would like you to know about me is that: I have mentle problms. [sic]
    Face slap!

  68. I laughed at the green folders thing.

    I don’t have kids but I work at a mid major university in the Help Desk. I get to see all of the helicopter parents and the abject fear and crazy in their eyes.

    We were asked yesterday how far the forest fires were from the city and what the evacuation plan is. The university is in the MIDDLE of town near a river. All I could say is that if the fires threatened us it’d be “the only story the news carries next to whatever hideous thing T
    rump says.”

  69. This has absolutely made my day. All of you are so damn funny! I’m not totally sure still that I even like kids (I have six). But I made eye contact with them when they were born so apparently I am supposed to feed them (and stuff) from time to time. Ha!

  70. Hahaha! That is so great. Aren’t fellow moms with the right sort of sick humor THE BEST? My daughter went back to college for her second year. Last year (her first year) my husband and I bawled our eyes out all the way home from taking her to her dorm.
    Then she lived on her own for 9 1/2 months.
    We lived as empty-nesters for 9 1/2 months.
    Then she came home for the summer.
    As my husband so eloquently put it, there weren’t quite so many tears after dropping her off this year.

  71. Thank goodness my only child is a senior this year. No more rah rah calls to attend parents booster club meetings. Get a life, people.

  72. “I feel like she’s making lunch AT me.” That’s perfect. That’s someone who understands!

  73. This is why I can’t have kids. I can’t handle the pressure!!! Can’t we just learn? Like old timey? No sexting, no conferences, no fucking folders? Just like math and science and stuff? Old timey?

  74. I got a few detentions in first grade for lateness because my dad didn’t believe me that school started at 8:00. Or that we live in a world where traffic exists.

  75. My kids are grown now, but probably my most cringe worthy bad-Mommy memory was when I left two 4 year olds in the back yard and ran down the street with the baby on my hip to ask neighbor-Mom whether it was okay to give her 4 year old a popsicle. Wait, where’s the baby? Baby is not actually on hip. Cue nervous breakdown. Where the heck did I leave the baby? Ran back home. Baby not in crib. Baby not in playpen. Finally found the baby on the changing table, happily playing with her hands.

    Wait, maybe the worst one was losing her in Yosemite, where there are BEARS.

    It’s so hard to choose.

  76. In elementary school, one of my kids came home with the class stuffed animal for Spring Break. The darn thing was passed around from family to family, and you were supposed to take cute pictures of it while you had it for a class book. After about 3 “normal” shots, we got tired and started taking pictures of it drinking and passed out (complete with empty wine bottles and beer cans – hey, don’t judge!), throwing itself under a car, binge eating ice cream out of the freezer … you get the picture, right? We ended up with about 15 really off-color shots and made our kid turn those in with the 3 regular photos. I hear they’re still up in the teacher’s break room, but those didn’t ever make it into the book.

  77. One mom at my daughter’s elementary school brought her kid’s lunch to him at lunch time every single day through 5th grade. I don’t know if she continued this ritual through middle school and high school as I refused to set foot on either campus. I left that up to the helicopter parents who always knew better than I did anyway. Or at least that’s what they told me.

  78. I thought women didn’t try to one-up each other the way guys do. Of course when guys do it it’s just pathetic. When y’all do it it’s hilarious.

  79. Hehe I love that I can always come here for a laugh and some food for thought. Just was thinking about that and wanted to pop over here and tell you I’m really glad you exist.

  80. My 11 year old daughter’s first day of school this year (which was 3 weeks ago), she was up at 5:45 in the morning. I slept to nearly noon.

    The school wanted all the parents to put filters on our home Internet. I refuse to do so.

    But, the thing that makes me a bad parent, at least in her eyes? I don’t allow her to use Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or any of those social media sites, and all her (11 year old) friends use them. They even base school assignments around them.

  81. omg jenny, I love you. having a night, well a day, shit a year or three if we’re being real…and so grateful that posts like this make me feel more human, more connected, and help me laugh at all of it. thank you for being you and being real about it.

    ps. totally didn’t realize that my kid started preschool this week until someone asked whether she did and I was all: nahhhh. wait. yep- crap!

  82. OMG. I looked at the man-friend’s son who is heading off to college in two days (i know…too old for a boy-friend now) and was like – did you get all your bathroom stuff… and a man-bag or bucket or whatever and… and… a soap case? and he was like ‘blink blink’ oh. and I just about cried. But D on nagging and practical is like… SNAIL SPEED… so I just shrugged my shoulders and went – ‘You should think about everything you need and get that. 😀

  83. Last week was the boys first full week of school and it was ridiculous hectic because my two year is teething and sick. On Thursday night around 11 pm I’m sitting trying to get her back to sleep and thinking of what needs to be done the next day and it hits me…the boys haven’t showered all week!!! And then I realize…wait, when was the last time I showered? Not only are my kids the smelly ones, I’m the smelly mom!!! Yikes!!! I woke them up early Friday morning and made sure they showered before they walked to school. Truthfully, not the first time and I’m sure won’t be the last.

  84. My daughter would get a supply list from the school, so I’d shell out a ridiculous amount for the “required” folders and whatnot, then come to find out, because she was in the cross-categorical (special needs) classroom, that list didn’t apply, and we were given a different list of supplies (after the stores were already picked clean, after school started). [insert scream of frustration here] I still have anxiety and minor freakouts going to the high school for IEP meetings. Just being in a high school building brings back unpleasant memories. It doesn’t help that the teenagers are all mutant giants who are a foot taller than I am.

  85. jenny, this is a mentally ill comment. i so greatly admire you, if you could throw some tips my way it’d be tots awesomesauce…
    what helps you bestest when you can’t put a name on how you are feeling, but feel like if you could, that would give life great streamline-potential? i’ve been quivering from my vague and disorganized personal struggles with mental “illness” and other stuff (mostly concerning my “sucking”) since yesterday…i am in treatment and i go to groups when i’m brave enough to do the social thing. i’ve been “suffering” or whatever since i was a kid.
    i tried closing my eyes and imagining i was in the secret garden, but my self criticisms during this were inevitably intense so i tried breathing deeplt, but i criticize myself over not breathing well “enough”. it feels as though i’m mourning for something that was never there in the first place.
    please don’t feel obligated to respond. i can just as well imagine you read my li’l comment and empathized, and didn’t verbally attack me in your head like how i do to myself in my head. like i said, i just admire you, with respect, and also look up to you as a fellow writer. all the best, peach.

    (You’re not alone. I have Impostor Syndrome so I feel like this a lot. I just try to remember that my brain is lying to me and that I am not a failure. You aren’t either. We’re all like this in some way…some of us more than others. What helps me is to think of someone I love going though the exact same thing and feeling this way. When I imagine my daughter saying something like this I think “THAT IS INSANE. YOU ARE AMAZING” and then I realize that others probably say that about me too. It takes convincing and self-love but with practice it becomes slightly easier. It’s always work but you’re worth it. And so am I. You’re gonna be okay. Keep breathing and remember that you are needed. Depression is a lying bastard. Don’t believe it. ~ Jenny)

  86. I also want to go to the grocery store and check all the juice boxes for alcohol! Who would ever think to make sure the juice boxes didn’t have alcohol?

  87. When my oldest was 9, he had to give an oral report in front of his class. He was not looking forward to it. The morning of the report, he told me his stomach hurt really bad and he didn’t want to go to school. I called BS. I told him, “Fine, you can stay home but I’m taking you in and you’re doing your oral report anyway.” I stood at the back of the classroom scowling at him while he did his report with him looking miserable the whole time. Then I took him back home. A few hours later, we landed in the ER. Yep. Bye bye appendix. Hello toy store.

  88. I was late to work the other day because my goat chewed through his picket rope and was in the front yard of a house I pass on my way to the stop sign. (Wow. That sounds so redneck.) I ended up abandoning my car in the road and chasing him down then dragging him home and shoving him in the dog run. Then today I was late because my new kitten wouldn’t come inside, choosing to instead hide under a neighbor’s shed. I had to beat on the shed walls with a broom stick to scare him out and back into the house.

    I can’t imagine what would happen each morning if I had kids. I’m barely able to keep up with my four-legged children.

  89. Oh, how I love having funny-ass friends with whom to text. They make blog post writing so much easier. It’s why I keep them around really.

    Love that you have that, too, Jenny. Confession: I’ve (almost literally) fallen off the face of the Earth in the last month. And this post might … just might … bring me back. I’m going to go call my friend.

    Thank you.

  90. Wow this was soo needed. This week and for the last month.

    While the lil dude went back to school a month or so before the rest (year round charter school) I have been seriously stressed. Ordered it all on Amazon as I can’t run to twelve different stores to get all the color coded shit they want these kids to have. Was very excited to find out during the “orientation” I could drop off his supplies. HUGE amazon box lugged into school and yeah I looked like the freak o’ the week mom. But he had most of his stuff except the stuff shipping from China filled with poisonous toxic ingredients (that joke didn’t go over well with the other parents).

    I too refuse to do the fundraisers…the buy your kids stupidly overpriced books from the book fair, cause “their minds and learning should know no costs..”, the fund run (seriously not beggin my neighbors to PAY for my kid to run), the “poetry cafe” where the kids mumble a sentence or two of a poem, cause they are 5 and can barely walk and talk let alone know rhythmic pentameter or ya…how about the “fair” where they can spend a insane amount of money on junk they already have from the dollar store while I listen to little girls screech their fool heads off over One Direction for hours on end – migraine meds dont work in these me.

    This school is good for his education, its good for his overall being a well rounded child in society one day, but it stresses me the fuck out when he has Algebra homework in 1st grade, when he gets a notice that he has to make a Marrionette puppet that is 25% of his grade for Spanish by um….tomorrow, when he has to bring a snack for 20 kids, that has to be free of peanuts, gluten, sugar, refined sugar, neutral or school colors and be healthy – but there are no microwaves or fridges in the classroom so nothing that has to be heated or cooled or require utensils – by tomorrow and have a blessed evening. I find these notes at 8pm – when I have to go to sleep because I have a disability that requires I get enough sleep. Its ludicrous what they expect any more and it feels like it just keeps getting to be more and more asked of ME and less of my child.


  91. This is a hoot. Great comments, too. I’m gratefully out of the getting kids ready for school busines (or, more accurately, my wife is out of that business, who am I kidding?). Now I can hardly wait for the break room tables to be littered with inevitable fund-raisers selling cookie dough, popcorn, wrapping paper, etc. at 3x the standard price so the organization can have 20 percent of the proceeds. Now raffle tickets for a basket of wine might be worth the investment. Why no imagination?

  92. Tell that mom who makes the sushi lunches that she’s teaching her kid it’s good to eat endangered animals…RAW. Nice one, Uber-mom.

  93. when i was in middle school we got a new answering machine (gaaaaaaaaaaah, i am old). my dad left the following outgoing message on it, “you dingbat. you have just interrupted me and mrs. name in the upstairs shower. her husband is sleeping in the downstairs bedroom. at the tone, please whisper your name, number, and message so someone can call you back later. much later. thanks.”
    my school principle called. laughed so hard he couldn’t leave a message, then hung up. he had his secretary call, but she was laughing too hard to leave a message. we had 14 hangups that day, all from my school. eventually someone left a message asking my mom to be the president of the parent and teachers association. she accepted. although she did make my dad change the message.

  94. I wanted to chime in about comment 129 and Jenny’s response. One of the things I do is not only imagine what I’d tell my best friend if I knew she talked to herself the way I talk to myself is to write a letter as if I was my own friend. I find that writing it down it helps a lot – what would I tell my best friend if she felt the way I did at a particular time.

  95. so… if it helps all you moms out there, I work in HR and can tell you that those kids with helicopter parents? they are typically awful employees and unable to live on their own. so, i congratulate you all for teaching resiliency and independence at an early age. It will serve the future versions of your children well.

  96. So when my daughter was about 11, I decided to have the contraception talk with her before it became a real issue and she might be too embarrassed to talk about it. Started out pretty normally with me talking about different options and telling her that if she ever decided to become sexually active, she could come to me and I would help her to obtain contraceptives. She responsed, as an 11 year old would, that EWWWW!!! she should never want to have sex. I said that she might feel that way at 11 but she would find as she grew older that the idea would become quite attractive.

    Fast forward to next day, as I’m driving her and friends to an extra-curricular activity …
    DD to friend: “My mom says if I want to have sex she’ll put me on the Pill”
    Friend: “EWWWW! But do you want to have sex?
    DD: “No, but my mom says it’s so nice!”

    hides away forever

  97. Oh lordy. My oldest starts school next year and I’m dreading it. I’m in a fb group called World’s Okeyest Mom and we wear it with pride. We even have t-shirts! You should get one! Some of the proceeds go to help moms in need, whether they’re sick or their kids are sick or whatever the case may be.

  98. thank you so much jenny. i will keep your kind words in mind. shit, a tear drop seriously just pitter pattered onto my clavical. i am going to rest for now, then maybe work again. so much love and respect.

  99. My sister in law works at a school and showed us the flyer they send home. One line said “If your child is suffering from sever diarrhea please keep them at home”. I never realized this had to be explained to people.

  100. I blame pinterest — for the moms who make lunch at other moms (seriously, the kids are happier with a lunchable), for the color-coded folders, and yes, for the dead cat too. It’s all pinterest’s fault.

  101. My daughter started Kindergarten 15 years ago this month….I remember that year vividly…I’d drop her off at school, hightail it to work, leave work at lunch to pick her up (Kindergarten was half-day at her school), full on Mario Andretti my manual transmission 1998 Honda CRV which had all of like 75 horse power, to get her to her to after-school care and get back to work….Stress and adrenaline were my best friends, or at least my constant companions…But it was still the best year of the kid’s traditional school experience.
    We didn’t have to buy supplies for classrooms OR the kids – they actually got little plastic shoe boxes with their names on them containing crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks, pencils, etc. K-3 class size was limited to 20 kids. I didn’t have to worry about sushi moms lunching me b/c she got a good lunch at daycare…
    The next year, things changed….2000 (Kindergarten) was the last year we could have “Christmas” parties. The next year, in 1st grade, we had a “Winter” party – snowmen, reindeer antlers, glitter crusted snowflakes all made by the kids festooned the room, while the kids ate “holiday” cookies in winter only motifs (snowmen, snowflakes, etc), and made “holiday” cards for their families – Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, Gnome Day…What ever the heck they wanted …But by 2nd grade it wasn’t even a party – it was a multi-cultural potluck without decorations of any kind…Oh wait, there were some faded travel posters one mom brought in from the travel agency she worked at and taped to the walls….Almost forgot about those.
    But irony of ironies…Every bloody year they still had the kids selling gift wrap – with Santa Claus and Angels all over it!!! Because MONEY! My kid learned the word hypocrisy in 1st grade!
    To WBS (comment 109) – your bear story killed me! Tears! Laughter! My kid’s class did Flat Stanley in 1st grade. Husband knew a co-worker who was going to be traveling for conferences and asked her to take Stanley with her – we’ve got pics of Stanley doing “normal” stuff sitting on benches and at the feet of statues – but we also have him in an Amsterdam “coffee shop”, at a picnic table in the Bahamas surrounded by empty wine bottles and glasses, and in the cockpit of an airplane wearing the Captain’s hat…We didn’t share those with the teacher. 😉
    To CB (comment 128) and all of those searching for specifically colored folders and notebooks – On behalf of moms like me, I apologize for not standing up to the system fifteen years ago thereby allowing it to become what it is today…I rage quit and pulled my kid in 4th grade to homeschool her…Had I stuck around to fight the man by burning folders and firing peanuts from slingshots you all might still have rights! The right to buy your kids any age appropriate folder you want! The right to bring in cupcakes for your kid’s birthday! The right for your child to hold the hand of his or her best friend on the school playground! The right for your child to wear orange and black striped pants with a blinding green and red polka-dot shirt and yellow sneakers and purple Kool-aid dyed hair Aquanetted into a mohawk! My heart aches a little at the fact you all will never know the good ol’ days… Don’t even get me started on when Iiiiiii was in school and we could buy candy from the ice cream truck as we walked home…The only constant I’ve found in public schools over the decades is the school lunch menu – the hamburgers have always been green on the inside, the pizza has always been made from soggy cardboard and rubber cement boogies, the fish fingers are always hollow inside, and the canned fruit cocktail was the best part. 😉
    Thanks for the laugh today all you wonderful people!

  102. I got busted as the tooth fairy. After forgetting several nights in a row. He left me a note. Also, I love you people

  103. After telling my son to put on his shoes for the millionth time, I ended the demand with “it puts the lotion on its skin”

  104. Buy plain manila folders and color them with highlighters whatever color they need to be. The list doesn’t say, “Professionally manufactured red folders” now does it? And I love the mom who just gave her kid cash to buy it from the other kids…genius!

  105. Wait a minute, I thought parenting was supposed to get easier once the kids started school. This is not good, not good at all.

  106. This is the best thread ever. A friend of mine recently told me a “worst mom ever” story–she became so enraged by her 6yo that she took her daughter’s absolute favorite stuffed animal out to the barbecue and lit it on fire. Mom felt super guilty the next day and replaced it, but for months afterwards if the kid got in trouble, she’d hyperventilate and say, “Don’t kill my horse!” Her daughter is 14 now and can laugh when she tells the story, but that pretty much topped anything I had.

  107. After having been recently laid off due to outsourcing, I’ve suddenly found myself a stay-at-home dad. (See? I’m already the worst mother ever, because I’m not even a mom!)

    My 9-year-old stepson is in his third year (4th grade; started in 2nd) at a university model school, which means he goes to school one day, then we do the next day’s assignments at home, then back to school, then home, etc… It’s supposed to help teach the student self-reliance and prepare them for college and such. It’s a neat little system.

    It also means I’m the at-home “teacher” this year, rather than my wife. School started two weeks ago. The first week went great. Then, then second week happened…

    Late Sunday evening, while I was stuffing his school uniforms into the washing machine because I’d forgotten to wash them over the weekend, I suddenly realized that I’d completely forgotten to buy him anything for his lunches (the school doesn’t have a cafeteria line) for the week and ended up making a mad dash to the grocery store 10 minutes before it closed while they were turning out the lights and every employee in the store was glaring at me, just so I could buy a couple of Lunchables to cram in his lunchbox.

    Sure, the Supermoms of the school pride themselves feeding their kids only organic, free range, gluten free everything sandwiches they probably sprinkle with essential oils and vitamin power crystals or something, but screw it. My kid gets Lunchables and whatever “snack” he picks up from the cookie aisle because life’s too short for nature’s candy, or whatever the hell self-righteous Supermoms call apples and trail mix these days. Point is, I made it. He had clean clothes and food for Monday.

    I was covered. We were good. I took him to school the next morning, dropped him off, and everything was fine. Until it wasn’t.

    I let time get away from me that afternoon, and realized I was going to be late picking him up if I didn’t leave straight away. So I abandoned my futile pursuit of job opportunities in this town that time forget, closed my laptop and hopped in the car.

    Which is when I realized I forgot to remind myself not to forget that I needed to get gas before I left.

    So I go to get gas.

    Insert card; card reader does not work.
    Go inside.
    New employee on register; wait for help from training employee.
    Pay for $20 worth of gas.
    Go back outside.
    Pump gas; pump cuts off.
    Sale and Gallons readouts unreadable. However, the display on the non-functioning card reader tells me to go inside for refund.
    Go inside. Wait.
    Informed that the pump cut off early, and my refund will be 28 cents.
    Abandon the riches and go.

    Go to get in pick-up line at school. ARMY OF SUVs parked in the right-hand No Parking lane, blocking everyone who is properly waiting in the left lane.

    Sigh. Turn around. Park in parking lot and walk up. Get child. Walk back.

    Also, I put my underwear on inside out and backwards that morning.

    And that was just Monday. The next day, I would realize that I again forgot to remind myself to do something when I failed to remember to get his backpack out of the truck of the car that my took to work that morning. Without his books and binders, we couldn’t do his assignments, so we just ended up playing video games and learning about, I dunno, Geology or something in Minecraft. Sounds reasonable enough.

    We did eventually start on his assignments after my wife got home around 6:00pm, which means we were basically doing school that night until it was time to go back to school the next morning.


    Despite all of this, and the fact that – according to almost every parenting blog on the planet – my wife and I are doing everything wrong with our kid, he’s still loved by his teachers and is one of the most well-behaved, kindest, straight-A students at the school. He never gets in trouble, always helps out the other kids, and is just generally an amazing child. Oh, how the Supermoms must hate us.

    I should really write this up as a blog post, but it all just kind of came out here. Sorry for the length. I hope Jenny doesn’t mind. 🙂

    I did write one on how much I hate Supermoms, though. If anyone cares:

  108. “It’s like she’s making lunch at me.” Oh yes! I know those twee holier-than-thou über mommies. They always have on a smarmy expression. And shoes. And probably underwear…

  109. We were getting ready for a family wedding – I had made a beautiful little dress for my two-year-old daughter to wear. She had broken her toe rather badly the month before, so when we bought little black patent leather party shoes at Kiddie Kobbler, she had only tried on the one shoe on her good foot. The day of the wedding, she insisted her toe didn’t hurt, so we let her wear both shoes. She looked adorable! Seven hours later, she was starting to limp, so I insisted she take the shoe off her sore foot. As I took the stiff new shoe off her little foot, I discovered two inches of tissue paper, still stuffed in the toe of the shoe. In the toe of the shoe that she’d never tried on in the store. BECAUSE SHE HAD A BROKEN TOE.

    Not my best moment.

  110. I went online and printed out the supply list two weeks before schools started. After much searching, I found and checked off everything on the list. After the first day of school, my son brought home a different school supply list with our “missing” items highlighted. He also had 4 of those hard-to-find folders in his backpack that were apparently not needed. It turns out that the list posted on line was not THE LIST his classroom was using. It was the grade level list the school district posted, not the one for his campus. I printed the list from his campus website. What? Oh well.

    I do make cutesy lunches for my son based on the books we read together, but I never make them “at” people.

  111. We haven’t started school yet, but yesterday I finally made my 9 year old empty her backpack from last year. One of her folders was growing fur, in her room, all summer. Maybe that’s what she is suddenly allergic to? Her 7 year old twin sisters haven’t emptied theirs yet…I’m afraid. And I totally need alcoholic juice boxes.

  112. My kids are now in middle and high school, but I will never forget the one incident (kindergarten? Grade 1? I don’t know!) it was Christmas break, and we were flying home to see my parents. This meant being at the airport at 5am! So here we are at the airport, the kids have energy, going to see Grammy and Papa, me, not so much. As I sat there with my head in my hands, staring at the floor absently, my son ran back and forth in front of me. I caught a glimpse of his shoes. One had several holes and many sock clad toes were sticking out. Bad enough right? The other the entire front was ripped and his foot was sticking out and HIS TOES WERE ON THE FLOOR IN FRONT OF THE SHOE! I asked him how long his shoe had had holes in it. He shrugged. I said don’t your feet get wet? His response, only when I go outside!

  113. I am a 5th grade teacher and a mother of two grown children so I can relate to this post from two perspectives. First, on the parent front, I’m right there with you. A quick example: at the school where I’d taught since its doors opened several years before (so I should know all the rules and stuff), I actually sent MY OWN SON in the WRONG uniform shorts on the first day of school one year. Mind you, they were ORANGE shorts, and orange wasn’t an “approved” color for uniform shorts. In my defense, they were a really cool rust-like autumn-y orange. But yeah, they were orange and I WORKED there so…Parent of the Year strikes again.

    Then on the teacher side, I must confess that all of you parents CRACK us up. The helicopter sushi-making ones, not so much. In fact, we don’t laugh with you so much as at you…but that’s another story. But the rest of you, MY people, YOU keep us laughing all year long.

    WARNING: Never trust a kid’s teacher who actually expects you to READ all of the stuff our school sends home to you. I mean, seriously. You do have lives, or at least most of you do…unless you’re too busy making freaky sushi lunches for your 8 year old.

  114. All of my friends put up Facebook pictures of their child’s first day of school. I forgot to do that, so tonight I Instagrammed a picture of my dog. Close enough, right?

  115. Facebook parents make me terrified for the day i have children, you lot give me hope that maybe when i choose to do so everything will be ok xxx

  116. Oh, Jenny. Thank you for that. I am so glad I don’t have kids. (I really don’t have kids). I don’t know how all you parents out there are coping so well, what with the mandatory red folders and the electronics and stuff. I salute you.

  117. One time we went on a trip. I am a planner -so we were packed for some time. We get to our destination, check into destination hotel, play, eat, prepare for bed, sleep, get up next day – where are my 6 year old’s pants? Did I not pack pants? DID I SERIOUSLY FORGET TO PACK PANTS FOR HIM?

    The ladies at the local department store had a good chuckle. Only thing in his size were sweatpants.

    I needed some of that boxed adult juice that day.

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