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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mother's May mayhem

The month of May can be hell on working mothers. Not a day goes by that another request (financial, signatory, donation, etc.) from school arrives home in the backpacks. It’s one thing when you have one child’s end-of-the-school-year activities to track. But multiply it times three and it can put any relatively sane, organized woman into the loony bin.

Isn’t there a better way to handle such needs? Can’t I sign a blanket permission slip at the beginning of the school year when I’m fresh and uber-organized? If we know we’re always taking the fifth grade to Greenfield Village and the first grade to Lake Farmpark and the seventh grade to the West Side Market at the end of the school year, what’s to stop us from signing those permission slips at year’s start?

Maybe it’s just me, but those pesky little $1 and $3 fees for things are really bothersome. In this era of debit cards, I rarely have cash in such small bills available. Frankly, if I do they tend to vanish from my wallet and I’m quite certain get deposited at the local Walgreen’s in exchange for PowerAde’s, Snickers Marathon Bars and LeBron Bubble Gum. Maybe the answer is to have a school slush fund payable at the start of each semester for all those little fees.

One of my most embarrassing moments as a mother came in May 2002. We were in the midst of a lengthy kitchen remodeling project. Having the hub of all family activity disassembled for any length of time is highly stressful.

My kitchen had been torn up since March and I was downright psychotic when my kids told me they needed a quarter each for the Relay for Life Popsicle fundraiser earlier in the week. My reaction was something like this:

“What?! Are you kidding me? Are they seriously going to deny you a 25-cent Popsicle because you turned your money in today instead of Tuesday!!!!!”

“I swear to God they have NO concept of how inconsiderate and ridiculous these pesky little requests weigh on working mothers. Why don’t those busy-bodies trying to tell me what charity to support get a FREAKING JOB!!!”

Yes, there you have it. It was ugly. Downright ugly. I was shaking and panting in front of my horrified family who stood silently, mouths agape. I sent them off to school with their delinquent quarters, refrained from writing a tirade to the principal and then excused myself to go up to my shower and cry.

Fortunately, THAT was my low point.

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