For the record, everything in this piece is true. Every single thing. So help me God.
FUN-bruary! It’s that time of year when many schools shift into fun mode and each day of the month has a different theme. Yes, five days a week for four weeks, your kids are telling you at [9:00] at night (or 6 am, even better!) that they need blue hair gel, or clothes that represent your family’s culture, or a freaking tuxedo.
Now, full disclosure, there are moms (and Dads) that rock this kind of thing and their daily photos on Facebook are proof of that. I am not one of them. While they likely have the FUN-bruary calendar posted on the fridge or saved in their phone and have each day planned out in advance, I do not even know where a copy of that demonic calendar is let alone what we need to make it all happen. These fun moms and dads may have even gone shopping (or at least dug through the attic, basement, or closets) for all that their child may need during the month of fun.
But I am one of those moms who doesn’t know where anything is. Ever. Sure, maybe we have a bandana somewhere in the house but I don’t know where it is right this second. Yes, I think we do have some socks and wrist bands with the breast cancer awareness symbol on them—dress for a cause day— but after I searched and by some miracle found them, the dog chewed them to shreds. Of course she did.
And culture day. This is such a fun and even special day for lots of families. But not for us. Neither my husband nor I are deeply connected to our heritage. He didn’t grow up doing the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve and I didn’t grow up singing Irish tunes and eating corned beef and cabbage. My Mom is English, My Dad is half Irish, my husband is Italian (but not the kind of Italian that has Italia soccer jerseys, makes pasta from scratch or actually knows how to speak ANY Italian). And neither of us likes soccer. Truth be told, we are culturally boring people. I mean, culture day for us is a football jersey or a baseball hat or an Under Armour t-shirt that happens to have a red, white, and blue logo. Lame, I know.
My youngest is 9 and he is the most into FUN-bruary. But it was my 11 year old who informed me last night on the way to his basketball practice that we needed to go out and buy a tuxedo because “tomorrow is formal day.” What in the fresh hell? First of all, my kids aren’t kids who tend to dress up. Ever. And when I do buy them a nice pair of khaki pants, they are inevitably too small the one time I want them to wear them. I can barely handle picture day and that is an “only from the waist up” thing so formal day is kind of a nightmare for us. I obviously clarified for my middle son that we would not be going out to buy a tuxedo—or any other item of clothing AFTER his practice that ends at [8:30]. Like a total sucker—I mean, like a good mother—I did look for some fancy (by our standards) clothes when I got home and—jackpot!— I found a pair of nice dress pants that were his older brother’s, a nice button down shirt, and a tie. I laid it out at the foot of his bed and was sure he’d get home and say, “Mommy, you are the best. Thank You!”
Surprise, surprise, THAT didn’t happen. Instead, he reminded me that his daily elective is “fit for life” and said that he couldn’t “do the workout” in the clothes I had provided. (I’m sure a tuxedo would have been much better). Plus, he didn’t like those pants. Someone please shoot me now. After getting dressed in a regular PE uniform this morning, ready to skip formal day (hallelujah), he apparently had a change of heart and decided to search for something semi-formal. And alas, he found the perfect thing! A pair of pants three sizes too small and a collared shirt. I tried to fight the battle and point out all the different ways the pants were WAY TOO SMALL but he didn’t care. Fine. Wear floods to school. It is supposed snow/sleet/rain today so good on you.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is so much about this month that is fun for kids and staff and there are days when we (okay, I) actually don’t suck. Sports jersey day is my chance to shine since we definitely have that one covered. I mean, my kids have lots of choices on THAT day. Pajama day is pretty easy…except the youngest will undoubtedly want his Celtics pajamas and his mama, yours truly, will have no idea if they are clean or dirty and will inevitably end up dumping 6 laundry baskets upside down at 7 am to figure it out.
My husband will of course be in the background repeating his favorite mantra with a face full of shaving cream: “why don’t you do all of this the night before?” as if he hasn’t known me for 16 years and isn’t painfully aware that I don’t do anything the night before that can be done with lots of yelling and screaming the next morning. And yes, the boys should be the ones doing it all the night before but they have watched me long enough to know that it’s more entertaining this way. My husband also might throw in a quick “FUN-bruary is the worst” which is of course HILARIOUS considering that he doesn’t actually do anything to make it all happen. I think he just gets, understandably, exhausted by the stress created by me and the boys when it’s Accessory Day and my son is mad and can’t understand how I could have thrown out the Mardi Gras beads our friends gave him on New Years Eve. Last year.
So to any and all last minute and/or distracted Moms out there pulling your hair out for FUN-bruary or Spirit Week, you are not alone. I am over here yelling, cursing, and turning my house into more of a disaster than it already is searching for that one thing we “need” (I could have sworn I bought a glitter hair gel last year!) to make it to the finish line.
Next year, I’m definitely going to take my husband’s advice and get everything ready the night before. Ok, now that’s funny.