The Five Stages of Getting Through the Last Month of School

You may have noticed recently that your emotional wellbeing is a bit tumultuous. You’re ready to change the locks while the kids are outside one minute, and get weepy while watching them eating cereal the next. Simply look at the calendar and you’re understand why this is completely normal behavior: it’s the last month of school. It’s the beginning of the next step in your kids’ lives and also a period of overwhelming amounts of permission slips to sign, homework to review, and summer camps to book. There are five stages to pass through this month before summer vacation kicks in, so brace yourself and know that you’re not the only one going through this ride. We all are, and many of us are screaming, white-knuckled, along the way. Here are the five stages of getting through the last month of school:


Stage One: Denial

Despite the kids’ countdown being shouted each morning and the stone of dread dropping in your stomach, you firmly believe you have plenty of time to get things sorted out before summer. There’s oh-so-many days left of school, right? The kids and teachers and academic calendars are all misinformed? There’s no way there’s only a little time left before you need to figure out what to do with your offspring underfoot (especially if you work from home) for the approximately eighty-eight days of summer, RIGHT???

Stage Two: Anger

You’re mad at teachers for giving homework your kids need help with that neither of you understand. You’re beside yourself at how daft your kids have suddenly become, now that the promise of summer sunshine on the horizon has begun melting their brains. You’re enraged by the piles of permission slips and order forms and paperwork about the next school year arriving daily that require your attention. You’re out of your head over trying to stay on top of all the final sports practices, games, tournaments, and team parties, as well as the other extracurricular activities meetings, classes, shows/concerts, and parties. You’re apoplectic over the constant stream of themed days to dress up your kids for and field days/field trips to extra-sunscreen your kids for and concerts to rush home for and daytime school visits you need to take time off of work for. You find yourself shouting, “Why do I feel like I live at school when I graduated over twenty years ago?” to an empty car as you attempt to parallel park between two minivans whose drivers clearly have no consideration for anyone else who needs to use the street the school is on that day.

Stage Three: Bargaining

You will do literally anything if only your kids won’t ask for another piece of posterboard before next September and the school district would kindly add just one more week to the year so you can get your sh*t together. A N Y T H I N G.

Stage Four: Depression

You are one sad puppy commercial away from ugly-cry tears at all times because you’re both completely overwhelmed by how disorganized and unprepared you are, and every time you turn around your babies are another inch taller, another day closer to moving into their next grade. You’re so behind as they continue to zip forward. When did they get so grown-up looking? How are they able to do so much without your help now? And why is the song “Landslide” always on the radio now wherever you go?

Stage Five: Acceptance

Your hands are tied, and that’s okay. Time works how it works (and no amount of begging persuaded the Superintendent to extend the school year or your kids to stop getting so darn big), so you let go of how overwhelmed you have been, and laugh at how there is no catching up with the school year or slowing down of your kids’ growing up. Your energy and standards have been spent, so you just face the last day of school as it comes rushing at you, shrugging with your hands up in the air while saying, “It is what it is.” Summer is coming. You’ll all survive not being prepared for it.

Most likely.

I mean, you did stock up on sunscreen, so is there really anything else you need?

NAH. You’re fine. Everything’s fine. It’ll be juuuuust fine.

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