If you’re noticing that all the parents (including you) in the school drop-off line are starting to look a little more haggard and hollow-eyed than usual, it’s not your imagination. These last few weeks of school are the hardest. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to walk barefoot over a field of Legos to get to it.
We start off the school year with such high hopes and anticipation, but all those early mornings, busy afternoons, science projects and bake sales have a way of wearing us down until we’re just mere shells of our former selves, crawling on our hands and yoga pant-clad knees to the last-day-of-school finish line. Here are some sure signs that the end is near:
1. Those school lunches are getting pretty basic.
Back in September you stayed up until 2 a.m. cutting sandwiches into the shapes of all of the characters from "Frozen." Now, your kid is lucky to get a slice of bread and a napkin.
2. Your morning routine is getting out of hand.
Remember giving the kids a good breakfast and then even having time to make yourself a cup of coffee? You still get your coffee—because PRIORITIES—but now they’re eating ketchup packets you found on the bottom of your purse.
3. You’re not sure what your kid is wearing to school.
Those adorable coordinated outfits are but a memory now. One quick check to make sure they’re not going to school in just their underwear and you’re good.
As long as you’re dressed from the waist up and don’t get out of the car, anyone who sees you through the car window will be none the wiser. (This is a true story.)
5. You’d rather put needles in your eyes than volunteer for another event.
That first PTA meeting found you offering to head up the carnival, run the book fair and feng shui the auditorium. The last PTA meeting? You volunteered to turn on the lights.
6. You’ve stopped making eye contact with the other parents.
Eyes to the ground, people. Once May rolls around, you know that anyone too eager to talk to you in the morning is just trying to get you to volunteer for that book fair.
7. Homework is starting to slide just a little. Maybe a lot.
Let’s face it—you probably don’t recall them having any homework after February.
8. You are no longer interested in "educational activities."
Museums, aquariums and libraries were all really great activities for your kids back in the fall. Now that all of that enthusiasm has been drained out of you, "Star Wars" marathons on Netflix count as science.
9. Your kids’ friends are starting to get really, really irritating.
It’s funny how those little sweeties who were hanging out at your house at the beginning of the school year now have you wanting to move and leave no forwarding address.
10. Healthy after-school snacks are a thing of the past.
The good news is, your kids are actually relieved that those carrot sticks, edamame and quinoa wraps have been replaced by Hot Pockets and Cheetos.
11. Your absence excuse notes are leaving something to be desired.
Your last one read, “Mikey missed school on Friday. Sorry, but these things happen."
12. There are strange smells coming from your kid’s backpack.
You stopped fishing homework and report cards out of there months ago. Get ready to excavate pools of banana, chewed gum and some other kid’s socks.
13. You’ve stopped trying to have meaningful conversations in the car.
A weary silence is perfectly acceptable in these last few weeks of school. That, and sobbing (yours.)
14. You know that booze is the only appropriate end-of-year teacher gift.
Don’t act surprised.
15. When everyone’s status on Facebook is “ONLY THREE MORE WEEKS!!!” with a bunch of happy-face emojis and you know exactly what they're talking about.