Worst End of Summer Mom Ever: A Sequel
by Jen Hatmaker on August 16th, 2013

Oh, don’t even say it. I already know. This Mama is singing a different tune and JUST WHATEVER ABOUT IT. Yes, the girl who bemoaned homework folders and daily school requirements and reading minutes and All The Things is now on her knees, begging the teachers to take these children back.
You understand this, right? We had the fun. We surely did. We did the swimming and the vacations and the sleeping in and the loosey-goosey living, and now ladies and gentlemen, I am very much over it. Back me up: summer is too freaking long. Twelve weeks of this is unreasonable. What does summer think we are? Machines? Excuse me, but I've never done anything well for twelve straight weeks in my life.
I can't help you process why my kids can't make normal faces for pictures.
0 for 5 in this gem.

Sixteen hours a day for infinity days without the helpful scaffolding of school or clubs or teams has pushed me to the point where I recently told my children: “I’m so sorry. I see your mouths moving but all I can hear is BLAH BLAH BLAH. Your needs are probably real, but I am unable to attend to them at this time. If you cannot make a sandwich or solve this particular problem, whatever it is that your moving mouths are trying to assault me with, then you will either starve or bludgeon one another or fight to the death and die, and I want you to know that I will miss you.”
Gentle reader, we traveled with our cherubs for almost a solid month. That’s precious! you say. The family memories and such. How lovely for the childhood experiences and bonding and the darling things. Yes, that, but also, not. There was a moment driving home from Colorado (after driving TO Colorado in one car with five children then spending two weeks together for all the minutes of all the days) when the plan was to fight through the fatigue and just drive all the way back to Austin, but somewhere in Lubbock, we dumped our family in a hotel, because I was afraid for their actual lives. I assessed our driver Brandon and concluded their continued existence was at genuine risk. The good feelings were gone.
This space became God's tool for our sanctification.

Also? There is no stupider place than Texas in August. I.Cannot.Even. We can’t be outside (unless we hate ourselves) and our neighborhood pool feels like a bathtub. The children should be in school already, sitting in air conditioning and learning something, instead of wasting their lives on video games and TV because the outdoors have ceased being an option and their mother has lost the will to live. In the midst of this oppression, the air conditioning in my Suburban went out, so my innards slowly melt every time I drive and ooze out in attractive back and butt sweat. The only adjective to describe the effect on me is homicidal, especially when the youngins are saying things like, “Mom? Why does your arm fat swing like that when you turn?”
My Beginning of Summer Attack Plan has atrophied. We are no longer cooking delicious new recipes together. Caleb had Lays potato chips for breakfast yesterday. At the crack of 11:15. The wheels have come off, dear ones. I did my part: the fun camps, the trips, the pool, the lake, the snow cones, the Good Times, and now it is all dead to me. I’ve reached to the outer limits of my capabilities, and we are now in the black hole of what I call “the screw-its.”
This summer was packed with awesomeness, but we need structure back. We need routine. We need kids to go the freak to bed. Sure, we will soon put them down while the sun is still blazing, but that is what blackout blinds are for. It is time to restore our home to a nurturing environment for children instead of the frat house it currently resembles. Will I struggle to manage the early hours with five uncooperative sloths? Sure, but then they will all leave.
What will I do? I will think my thoughts, which I haven’t heard since June 5th. I miss my thoughts and I look forward to seeing what they’ve been doing. For all I know they could’ve been curing cancer, but they’ve been stamped out by missives like He won’t quit touching my game/remote control/Afro and Could you make me a sandwich/pizza/taco and I am bored/hot/hungry and When are we going to leave/eat/bathe again? My thoughts have done all they can do for these people, and they’ve put in their notice.
So Teachers, I sincerely hope you enjoyed your well-deserved summer. I hope you actually frolicked. I imagine it took exactly this long to recharge after teaching our children for a year, and I've told you how much I love you for that. Here is the good news: you’re about to have a bevy of fresh-faced, chipper, super-charged Mamas in a couple of weeks. We will cheerfully volunteer for Class Moms and parties and Friday Folders. We will sign those daily reading minutes LIKE A BOSS. Our children will be at school on time for tens of days.
Disclosure: This will be our best selves. You will temporarily enjoy the fruits of our highest levels. Exploit it, Teachers, because it will slowly erode. We aren’t as efficient as the vibe we’ll be putting out. But for awhile, when you’ve taken our kids’ brains back into your capable hands and it appears they have the capacity to learn again, our gratitude will manifest as proficiency.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

How did you fare, Mamas and Daddies? Are you finishing summer with a bang, a tear, or whatever sound it is when your awesomeness fizzles?

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displaying most recent 100 comments

Caroline - August 19th, 2013 at 7:49 PM
Oh, my darling. Thank. you. You wrote the very words I would have typed on my blog, had my brain retained one active brain cell post-summer. That God would give you and I the same spiritual gift of sarcasm blesses my very soul. Unfortunately, the number of people with the spiritual gift of INTERPRETATION of sarcasm is growing slim. The Holy Spirit comes in and apparently just sucks out every ounce of their sense of humor. Sad, sad for them. But, ah well... file that into the world of 'screw-its' and move.the.heck.on. In Jesus' Name, of course. :) Much love you dear! (Crazy Caroline :)
Michelle - August 19th, 2013 at 8:14 PM
Thank you! Today I am done. I have 8 days to go and my son broke his arm so no water fun in Southern California with my small apartment and the 4 year old driving us all crazy. School, I love you
RKSanger - August 19th, 2013 at 8:38 PM
I am laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes! Your sense of humor is AMAZING, and all the moms who are not perfect Stepford Wives appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Keep it up, girl!
Kerry - September 16th, 2013 at 10:56 AM
I agree, tears rolling down my face with the reality of this!!!!! Too Funny and yet honest!!! LOVE IT!!!!
Christine - August 19th, 2013 at 8:40 PM
I had a secret calendar where I crossed off the days in countdown fashion so I could make it through summer. This year I was lucky though - I was in school 4 days a week!
Mari - August 19th, 2013 at 9:48 PM
Come live in Australia. Summer holidays are only 5 weeks long. Survival is more likely for parents and kids. There are three other school vacation times scattered reasonably throughout the school year.
Courtney - August 19th, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Amen, and amen! Love my kids with all my heart, but let's be real, they can drive someone Craaazy! So refreshing to read , what a lot of us mom's and dad's are feeling.
Cathy J - August 19th, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Praise the Lord. Let's went back to school August 7th. We're in Arizona and it was way too hot to have them home any longer!
Maggie - August 20th, 2013 at 12:29 AM
God please help these women who can't seem to relate to this and just have a good laugh! There must be something hurting and so broken in their hearts that they feel the need to throw stones and wound another mama. Or perhaps they are blinded by some good ol' "wise in their own eyes" pride and self-righteousness. Either way, I pray you will soften these hardened hearts and bring sight to these blinded eyes. And I pray for Jen, Lord. I pray you protect her heart from the arrows of the enemy... please don't let them slip past your love and protection. We need her God-given gift of humor to find the laughter and joy in the everyday living. Just for the record, this isn't - let's share our opposing views - material. It's just supposed to be FUNNY! Ya know, like when a stand-up comedian monologues on stage? You don't get up at the end of his act and start telling him what YOU feel is incorrect thinking about what he "shared" and pick apart his character. Wouldn't that be weird??? Well that's what these negative comments seem like...it's just kinda weird. You don't go see a comedian if what you're really looking for is a debate or to participate in a "parenting" class. Ladies, please take a moment to reassess your comments and your motives for writing them.
m - August 23rd, 2013 at 5:11 PM
Word and WORD!
Julie - August 20th, 2013 at 2:18 AM
My husband set down the remote, got off the couch and just came in to the bedroom to see what I was laughing so loud at.
Calamity Jane - August 20th, 2013 at 4:52 AM
LOVING ALL THE CHILDREN and uniting children with their mothers making the world a little better love you all ladies. Hope i did not freak you all out too much lorde knows its about time i get buck wild..... Kids have always been my dream too bad it was not my reality was breaking sparrows for all you arrows of misconception shooting me down in fear of the snakes of the united here status nation of fake book i vicariously live thru all of you. Slantos the sleepy guard on the couch is slipping up and sleeeping on my couch lol everybody gets so relaxed here in Ma Mas house.....of Sane
thong tac cong - August 20th, 2013 at 6:03 AM
Slantos the sleepy guard on the couch is slipping up and sleeeping on my couch lol everybody gets so relaxed here in Ma Mas house.....of Sane
momster365 - August 20th, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Love this....and I can totally relate! Our family of 4 children need a change and mama needs some silence!

Steph - August 20th, 2013 at 9:07 AM
Totally relating to that end-of-summer fizzled out feeling! Glad to know I'm not the only one. They've been back in school 5 days and I'm already counting the days until our next holiday....;-)
Lauren - August 20th, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Your post is awesome! It made me laugh out loud. I only have my two grandchildren living with us, and I can still relate. Maybe tolerance dwindles as you get older...

I am disappointed that people can't keep their negativity to themselves. Remember that it's not about you or your post. It's about their shriveled little hearts and their ignorance. Maybe you could "screen" the comments?

Anyhow, have a great school year ;)
Tara B - August 20th, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Seriously, Jen, this is amazing. I sent my boys to school this week and now I'm home alone with a new daughter from China (home 5 months now). I'm rejoicing. I don't know if you read every comment, but I'm giving this a shot. I am going to hear you speak this weekend at Dawson in Birmingham. If there is any chance I could meet you, I'd so much appreciate it. I'm drowning in the newness and hardness of our adoption. If there's any hope you can give me, beyond all the great stuff you've posted, I would love to hear it.
mushforfuninak - August 20th, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Love the caption under the photo of the kids in the car, "This space became God's tool for our sanctification." We sold our house and moved to 20 acres in the middle of nowhere where we have lived with our two boys in a very tiny 5th wheel all summer. Generator only for electricity, no indoor plumbing, and many other opportunities to practice being content while we try to build and finish our home before winter hits and it is -35 degrees. I was thrilled when school started last week, although I now have to drive kids (we live too far for the bus to come to) and try to find places to store school backpacks and clothes. Every situation gives us the chance to appreciate what we too often take for granted.
Heather - August 20th, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Okay, you are officially my new favorite funny person. This part:
"In the midst of this oppression, the air conditioning in my Suburban went out, so my innards slowly melt every time I drive and ooze out in attractive back and butt sweat. The only adjective to describe the effect on me is homicidal, especially when the youngins are saying things like, %u201CMom? Why does your arm fat swing like that when you turn?%u201D
made me laugh until I snorted. The air conditioning in our house went out last week, and I honestly thought I might die. Keep writing these hilarious blog posts and don't worry about the haters!
Amy - August 20th, 2013 at 3:29 PM
Yes! My only sanity is my three year olds' nap time when my 6 and 10 year old are forced into reading for 30 minutes and then something quiet (ipad, movie, i don't care what) for 2 hours!! I am a teacher and ready for the normality of the school year...and a whole lot less electronics :)
Jackie - August 20th, 2013 at 7:55 PM
This is the first time I have read this blog. I can relate to much of the blog post and many of the comments. Years ago a branch of the U.S. military had as their slogan, "The toughest job you'll ever love". My mom (a mother of six) used to say that the slogan should be for motherhood, not the military! We all get tired and if we're honest, we also get discouraged, disillusioned and sometimes downright mean. That doesn't make us horrible, it makes us human. The difficulty with emails and blogs is that the reader only sees the words and interprets them as they appear to them. Part of the art of communication is being able to see beyond the print and hear the heart. When we do, we usually find that we have more things in common than we thought.
Stacy - August 20th, 2013 at 8:59 PM
Get a sense of humor or stop reading her blog, women with negative comments. I love my children more than life but everyone needs a break. And for those "perfect" moms who are pretending they relish every moment and hate for school to start, you better check yourself. You may be entirely too emotionally and physically in need of your children. Every mom needs a break, especially those that don't have a desk job and work their bits off 24/7 during the summer. Hats off to you, Jen for keeping it real. Thanks for making the rest of us "real" moms feel "normal". Happy end of summer!!
Amy - August 20th, 2013 at 9:11 PM
I rarely comment on blogs, but...wow...I just had to say that I so enjoy your posts, your humor, your transparency. I am a mom of 4...2 adopted from Ukraine...ages 2-18. I homeschool them and I still can completely relate to this post. :) Every parent needs a "sabbath", so to speak, from their children in order to refresh and just think! Whether this happens during the school day, in the evenings, or on weekends, I believe it makes us ALL better parents. I find your posts hi-lar-i-ous and they often give me a much needed laugh. :) Please keep them coming!
Angela - August 20th, 2013 at 9:48 PM
It's as if you're in my head and describing my summer! LOL I was introduced to your blog back in May with the Worst End of School Mom post. I could absolutely identify with you there, too! We've got 4 kids and it's all I can do to get through this last week of summer without someone losing their life! Oh...and the sweat pits....I can identify with those too! I'm convinced it's the kids that cause it.......
Michelle - August 20th, 2013 at 10:46 PM
I am a teacher and a mom. I'm so ready to give my kids back to their teachers and take on yours! Back to school is my favorite time of year, except for when it's the first day of summer and then that's my favorite time! I read your blog as a cheer for the cycle! Love this!
Michele - August 20th, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Oh good Lord, yes! I'm wondering if it is bad parental form to count down to the kids' start of school using a construction paper chain?
Julie - August 21st, 2013 at 12:01 AM
How about the summer of your first born leaving for college after a harried senior year that about did you in??? That's where I am..Did I mention that we have to PAY for the college??? YIKES!!! how are we going to do that??? I am frazzled because the 19 year old is "through being taught" by me and knows all and yet can't seem to pack anything or know what he is going to need in a 10x10 room that will be his home for the next year. sigh...Enjoy, Jen, I know you and I would be good friends, if you lived here. BTW, I am all for moving to CO for the summer...
Sarah - August 21st, 2013 at 7:17 AM
Right. I am using our 4-week trip to China as an excuse to now let my children watch tons of TV and play on the Ipad whenever possible-we are all filled up on cultural experiences! Which is why I didn't notice when my daughter tramp-stamped my son. They were getting along! There was giggling!
aimee - August 21st, 2013 at 7:34 AM
This so reminds me of this past weekend when after a horribly awful day I told my 2 kiddos that I was done mothering for the day...at which my oldest declared through tears "but who is going to make dinner?" and my youngest declared "yeah! she isn't mothering so we can do whatever we want!"
Irregardless of how much we love our children and how much of a blessing they are; we all just need a laugh and a break from it all. Thanks for offering that place of honesty and laughter where we can take just a 5 minute respite from life.
Betsy Quillen - August 21st, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Amen, sister!!!!!
Shay - August 21st, 2013 at 9:51 AM
Some people think that this is a terrible post, but Jen is just speaking the truth. All moms at some point have thought some of these same thoughts, some just think that you're supposed to ACT like a saint all the time. God doesn't expect us to ACT or be perfect! Awesome Jen for taking a stand & speaking what 99% of moms feel! The only ones here doing what God frowns upon is those of you who are JUDGING!
Suzanne - August 21st, 2013 at 10:33 AM
I read all these comments and wonder why everyone isn't getting organized to create year-round school. It's long overdue. We are no longer an agrarian society. It's not good for kids and it's not good for schools. It's time to go year-round!
rachel - August 23rd, 2013 at 12:26 PM
This is a great option for some locations, but for those of us who DO live in agrarian society, year-round is just not viable.
Alice H - August 27th, 2013 at 10:14 AM
As a working mother, I would love year-round school. I would love for my kids to have more time off during the year than 3 whole months in the summer. And we have REALLY REALLY hot summers here in Oklahoma too. I have vacation time and would love to be able to take off more throughout the year and spend it with my children in nicer weather than take off 2 weeks during the summer.

Jenny Hendrix - August 21st, 2013 at 12:05 PM
THANK YOU JEN!!!! I've been feeling guilty that I celebrate the 1st day of school like I do Christmas!! What is up with all these mama's that are crying on the 1st day??? The only reason I'm crying is because only 2 of my 5 kids are in school! lol! I'm at the end of my rope with the whining, the newborn baby sleepless nites, the 3 meals a day prep, the bickering and bordom and the potty trainer in process bringing her poop to me in a plastic kroger bag...SERIOUSLY???...yes, that happened! So, thank you! You don't know me, but we are kindred spirits and I love you, my unmet bff!:) happy school year!
Rhonda - August 21st, 2013 at 1:12 PM
From a mom of now college and married girls- I just want to tell you- I so relate! I used to tell my girls. "I am NOT the cruise director. We will not have activities for your selection through out the day on the Leedo deck." Thanks for your honesty. We all need a good rant about how challenging summer can be. My favorite commercial was Staples a few year ago. Dad pushing the card, clicking his heals, as the kids slump behind him. In the background plays the well known Christmas line, "It's the most wonderful time...of the year." Loved my kids, loved being a mom most moments...but I was always glad to have them go back to structured learning.
Jamie - August 21st, 2013 at 1:27 PM
Add into all this a move every 2-3 years with the military and home schooling and you have MY LIFE. We laugh to keep from crying, but we wouldn't change it for the world. Some of you, though, need to get a sense of humor.
Sarah - August 21st, 2013 at 2:07 PM
My summer refrains (and mine went to camp for most of the summer!):
1) "It hurts my feelings when you say you hate me."
2) "I can't fix your boredom."

Is it any wonder we're up to two shows a day (and can we discuss the heinousness that is Good Luck, Charlie?) on Netflix and somehow The Kid has also inherited my old iPad chock full of games to play, I mean, whine when they don't work right?
Molly Tilman - August 21st, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Thank you, I really needed a laugh today. My son asked me today at the beach, while eating a handful of potato chips, why don't we eat healthy anymore? I just glared at him! Can't wait for schedule, school, and cool weather!
Amber - August 21st, 2013 at 3:43 PM
So funny!
julia - August 21st, 2013 at 7:00 PM
haha, thank you for the encouragement and making me realize I'm not crazy! Last night I put my kiddos to bed at 7 and today I put them to bed at 6:30. I am exhausted! I love summer too, but I agree--12 weeks is too long!
Beth - August 21st, 2013 at 8:43 PM
Dear Jen,
When I read your blog posts, I can BREATHE.

Corie - August 29th, 2013 at 11:34 AM
YES!! Thanks, Beth.
De Jackson - August 22nd, 2013 at 8:59 AM
Ha! I.Love.This. Your writing and parenting both make me infinitely happy.

I'm feeling a little different this year...the older my kids get (now 10 1/2 and almost 12), the more I wish I could hire some magical (free) Homeschool Fairy.

But I wrote this a few years ago:

Reading, Writing & Relieving My Tic

Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!
When all the moms come out to play.
First Day of School, and there%u2019s no doubt
As the kids go in, our smiles come out.
At last, freedom is here to stay!

We love our kids, it may sound clich
Just don%u2019t want them 24 hours, per se.
So we dance about, we scream and shout:
Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!

As the teachers look the other way
We spin, we twirl, we may even pli.
Sanity is what it%u2019s all about
So while the kids fret and fuss and pout,
We clap our hands and gleefully bray:
Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!

De Jackson - August 22nd, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Ha! Wow. Weird little gadget glitchies, there.

Let's try this again:

Reading, Writing & Relieving My Tic

Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!
When all the moms come out to play.
First Day of School, and there%u2019s no doubt
as the kids go in, our smiles come out.
At last, freedom is here to stay!

We love our kids, it may sound clich,
just don%u2019t want them 24 hours, per se.
So we dance about, we scream and shout:
Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!

As the teachers look the other way
we spin, we twirl, we may even plie.
Sanity is what it%u2019s all about
so while the kids fret and fuss and pout,
we clap our hands and gleefully bray:
Hooray, hooray! Today%u2019s the day!

De Jackson - August 22nd, 2013 at 10:49 AM
Still can't get it to work. Apparently cut and paste is not an option.
Retyping...(Please feel free to delete earlier post.)

Reading, Writing & Relieving My Tic

Hooray, hooray! Today's the day!
When all the moms come out to play.
First Day of School, and there's no doubt
as the kids go in, our smiles come out.
At last, freedom is here to stay!

We love our kids, it may sound cliche,
just don't want them 24 hours, per se.
So we dance about, we scream and shout:
Hooray, hooray! Today's the day!

As the teachers look the other way
we spin, we twirl, we may even pile.
Sanity is what it's all about
so while the kids fret and fuss and pout,
we clap our hands and gleefully bray:
Hooray, hooray! Today's the day!

PS: It is currently 106 in Southern Nevada. We are hibernating.

Betsy - August 22nd, 2013 at 9:27 AM
First and last time reader...Sounds like more of the same of what the world offers (found your post on MSN.com). I would never have guessed you were a Christian, had a speaking ministry or actually loved your children. I get the "tongue-in-cheek humor" and "ministry through sarcasm" rationalization...I had those tendencies myself until I realized just how much they were really unintentionally hurting those I truly love in ways I couldn't imagine. Hope you won't have those same experiences with your children or spouse.

Sorry to be a bother...won't happen again.

De Jackson - August 22nd, 2013 at 3:25 PM
This comment makes me sad. I'm so sorry you had a bad experience, but if we mamas can't laugh together for a few brief moments before we go back to giving Everything.We.Have. to these beautiful, crazy creatures we've spawned, we're in big trouble.
Jeanene - August 22nd, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Really? That just seemed so unnecessary. If it's not your cup of tea...you can just move on...no need to throw stones.

I love my kids passionately...as do other women I know in my community who TOTALLY GET Jen...and love that she gets US! Sometimes I think she is reading my mind! I appreciate her willingness to be SO real about it all.
Jeanene - August 22nd, 2013 at 9:47 AM
Oh...I hear you! I SO hear you. And, ditto on the "no stupider place"...except...there might be...cause I am in Washington and we can't get out in the heat either(especially since "we" includes two 2-year olds and mama don't want em to get heat stroke! SO, we are stuck inside...

So, do you think if the school year were shortened...and summer were shortened(to their optimum lengths) that we could figure out how to dispose of the remaining days in the year? Hmmm....
Heidi White - August 22nd, 2013 at 12:02 PM
I am crying laughing. I have so lost it that I have worn my pants/shorts inside out TWICE in the past week. Both in public. Tuesday was the topper wearing those running shorts with the panty side out. My kids just looked at me funny. I'd already been to the grocery store and to pick them up from their kids club. My words no longer register with them - what mom? what? what? Our dog has already eaten their new lunchbox/shoes because they left them out and we have four days of summer left. Good times
Mariah - August 22nd, 2013 at 2:01 PM
I'm a homeschooling mom to 4 and may I add...I dread summer as well! Well, I dread the END of summer.
I miss the structure we have during the school year and I know it's time to start school again when I begin to dislike my own kids. lol.

Just know that even "super moms" who homeschool can feel your angst. ;)

Sheila - August 22nd, 2013 at 2:29 PM
I LOVE THIS!!! I am a mother of 6 biological and 2 inherited children, and 4 (15 1/2 down to 1 year) actually live with my husband and me. And I am soooo with you! The older children went back with a forceful bang! No more complaints of boredom 24/7 or 16-hour hunger pangs, which were continuous regardless of what they ate. We also do not have to deal with the "I didn't do it" creature who caused all kinds of mishaps. Did we really give our parents the blues????
Kris - August 22nd, 2013 at 2:59 PM
Nothing you said, Jen, is unchristian or indicates you do not love your children. I'm not really sure where it says in the Bible Thou shall not have a sense of humor. My goodness. Laugh a little, don't take yourself or your kids so seriously, and if you can't do those things don't read a blog that you find "offensive" and then preach to the rest of us.

Jen, I find your blog honest, funny, and gives me encouragement. I'd pay to hear you speak for sure! I think we cripple our children by not allowing them in the world. How are these poor children going to function in society. Christ ate with and lived among the sinners, which serves as an example to us. Please ladies, just be honest with yourself and admit your children drive you insane and at least once in their lives you've wanted to commit yourself to the funny farm.
Pidg - August 22nd, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Holy crazy...after reading this all I can manage to say is "Amen sister....let the good school bus speed." I am so spent. I didn't even have the energy to write a post that said enough...but through you, 'nuff said! Oh how I relate. I was the "good mom" at the beginning of the summer. I have become the "I don't even care if you shower mom". Monday... a celebratory day of all that is good. School.
Lavinia - August 22nd, 2013 at 8:26 PM
Lets see her children read this and find the humor in it. Please Jenn, read this aloud to your children and record their expressions and post it for all of us to see so we can laugh out loud with them.
Jeanene - August 22nd, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Lavinia...this was not written for children. It was written for *real mothers*...period. And, my guess is that if her kids read it, they would hear it in their mothers voice and know this is the same mom who loves on them...they would read it through the lens of all they have experienced in the arms of this wonderful and REAL mom. They would not be sad. They might not get it...because they are NOT parents yet! Someday...they will read it and laugh...and say "I get it now, mom...sorry about that!" This is just life...relax! Every time *I* read Jen's stuff, I wish it were possible to actually know her...cause we would get each other. And, I have read other ladies saying the same exact thing...
Kris - August 23rd, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Lavinia, I find your comment a little immature like as a mother you don't understand that there are "kid" appropriate activities, etc and then adult only things. There are plenty of things I do that my children can not, but it doesn't mean those things are bad or inappropriate. Oh, BTW I tell my kids they drive me insane all the time and I have some awesome kids (if I do say so myself) and they never question my love or devotion to them. I am thankful God gave me a sense of humor. Makes life fun and if you can't laugh at yourself or your children, then when do you laugh?
Pat - August 23rd, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Jeanene -- don't be such a Jen sympathizer. It's okay if an occasional post out of hundreds in this thread points out that they don't like Jenn's approach or expose some of the realities of life that she and readers like yourself don't want to accept.

Kris -- Your self-centered nature is exposed in every word of your post ... and I'm laughing at your dumb comment.

Kris - August 24th, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Pat, wow. I appreciate your assessment of me and plan to change right this second. On the other hand, I plan not read any more of your comments, which clearly proves I'm dealing with an unintelligent person! You don't know me, so don't presume to know my motives. And now I'm laughing at you.
Nancy - August 22nd, 2013 at 8:45 PM
I. Am. Done. Today was my first day of freedom -er - kids first day of school. They made it. WE made it, all the way through another summer. I love my 4 kids. About the first of August, I was wishing we lived in GA, as those kids go back to school the first week. One thing is guaranteed for a few weeks. No one will come to me and say they're bored. Ahhh, to have a schedule again. And a bedtime. Love you, Jen, it's like you can read my mind.
Dana - August 23rd, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Hilarious Jen!!!!!!!! You go girl!
Kris - August 23rd, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Lavinia, I find your comment a little immature like as a mother you don't understand that there are "kid" appropriate activities, etc and then adult only things. There are plenty of things I do that my children can not, but it doesn't mean those things are bad or inappropriate. Oh, BTW I tell my kids they drive me insane all the time and I have some awesome kids (if I do say so myself) and they never question my love or devotion to them. I am thankful God gave me a sense of humor. Makes life fun and if you can't laugh at yourself or your children, then when do you laugh?
Grace - August 23rd, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Jenn, your posts always lead to such great questions across your community of readers. Please point them here for more conversations to be had beyond your great sense of humor and hilarious self deprecation. -- www.exploregod.com
Heidi White - August 23rd, 2013 at 11:49 AM
I am crying laughing. I have so lost it that I have worn my pants/shorts inside out TWICE in the past week. Both in public. Tuesday was the topper wearing those running shorts with the panty side out. My kids just looked at me funny. I'd already been to the grocery store and to pick them up from their kids club. My words no longer register with them - what mom? what? what? Our dog has already eaten their new lunchbox/shoes because they left them out and we have four days of summer left. Good times
Robin - August 23rd, 2013 at 12:57 PM
LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ANd you read my mind! thank you!!
Kelley - August 23rd, 2013 at 5:59 PM
Yes! Agreed. However after this first week of school, I'm already like: when can we sleep in?!?
Grass is always greener, right?

So, I also have a question about healthy eating-- I just finished 7 and Im really thinking on it all. It's alot to process and pray about. My question is this: you talked about how Pollan recommends food with 5 or less ingredients: what if it is a box of say, organic cereal? If all ingredients are organic, is it "okay"? This is really new to me, but I definitely want to make a change to organics.
Thanks so much!

Oh, BTW, please enjoy my hometown of Bham, AL this month, I'm SO SAD I wont be there to hear you, but my Mama MAfia will be there with bells on.
Eddie Valverde - August 24th, 2013 at 1:50 PM
I think she is witty and that there is some truth to many of her perspectives and comments BUT, and her is the BUT. These are YOUR kids not the school's so waiting on school to start because you can't or won't deal with your kids is shallow at best. People complain about having to deal with their kids all summer instead of being thankful to have time with them, that they are healthy, that you live in a country where they have access to education. Then there is the whole " Texas is hot ". Really, you didn't know this when you moved here? Oh and the pool is like a hot tub. Poor little you. Shallow is all I have to say.

I know many of you are saying simmer down and chill out, it's just a funny little vignette from a stay at home mom. You're right it is but she put it out there for all to read and comment. Just like she feels her children should better use their time more wisely while on vacation, I think she should use her time and pulpit in a more constructive way. Quit complaining, you live better than an estimated 85% of you fellow human beings.
Kathy - September 2nd, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Get a sense of humor! My sis-in-law has been a Texan all her life, and she still makes cracks about the heat. You made the comment that "she should use her time and pulpit in a more constructive way", yet you have no idea of the impact she is making with women who won't darken a church's doorway because of the hypocrisy that they see in "Christians" they know. When they see/hear/read Jen's stuff, they see a fallible, authentic Christian who is navigating through life on the strength of Christ. They relate to her, so they listen to her. So many people have the walls of hate towards anything Christian broken down when humor is used. Rather than belittle and criticize the ministry that she has, why don't you instead pray that she is able to reach the women who aren't being reached by ANYONE right now? Christ chose a whole wide range of guys to be his disciples, and they reached a whole slew of people based on their gifts. Don't make assumptions as to the validity of her ministry. Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do." She is doing what Christ has called her to do, in the manner He created her to do it! Focus on your own ministry rather than trying to belittle hers.
Lucy - August 24th, 2013 at 5:07 PM
My tip, Jen? Move to the UK...we only have a 6 week summer break here :) My kids are just 3 and 1 but I sure as heck can't wait for preschool to start back up again...
Your blog is HILARIOUS.
That is all.
Cathy - August 24th, 2013 at 7:34 PM
OH. My. Goodness. Absolutely true, hilarious, and well said. Here is one of my fav. back to school poems/sayings...

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.

E. W. Howe

Cathy, mom of 5

Ruthie - August 24th, 2013 at 9:03 PM
Oh, my goodness... you're so funny. You said just about everything I'd like to say. We were getting up at the crack of 9:30. Now it's like 6! Who the H*** makes up these school hours?! FARMERS??!!! As I say on my blog, every a.m. I just need a cup of coffee. That's what gets me through. Each and every single traffic light on the way to school, that is. ;) Thanks for the chuckles!
Stacey - August 24th, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Who knew there was so much controversy over "back to school"? Ironically, I only heard of Jen when school started back this week. She was speaking in my city last night so there were lots of posts and pics on Facebook. Decided I should read her next post to see what all the fuss was about. I'll admit it, I laughed out loud. A tattoo wouldn't have been any closer to me than my 6 year old was this summer. I actually thought I was the worst Mother in the world for my private countdown.. Now, I see there's stiff competition ;) I realized this week that it was not so much time away from my kids that I wanted, but time to myself that I NEEDED. I have been watching the clock by midday to see if it was time to get them and hear every word of their day, I've been able to sit and listen intently because my work was done and I could give my undivided attention. I see them as the miracles they are in the way they relay their world to me, the facial expressions and more and can't wait to go to school for lunch and field trips and Teacher Timeouts to see how they interact and are not only enriched by the tireless devotion of their teachers but also enrich others by sharing tiny pieces of themselves. Taking care of me helps me do a better job of taking care of them. So sue me, I'm happy to share my little blessings. Thanks for the post.
Kyra - August 25th, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Wow! You just described my summer! Thanks for making me feel "normal"!!!!
Pam - August 26th, 2013 at 7:30 AM
YOU, once again, have read my mind and put it down in writing. You are a goddess. Thanks for the giggles and affirmations!
A Fan - August 26th, 2013 at 4:29 PM
I'm dating myself but does anyone remember Erma Bombeck?
Haven't laughed so much on this kind of topic since!!!
Thank you!
Carissa - August 26th, 2013 at 5:00 PM
I was home with my 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old. And I laughed so hard at this. Now I am going to read it again before I forward it to the ladies that will be participating in 7 with me in September ; )
Jeff - August 26th, 2013 at 5:05 PM
My wife (SAHM with 5 kids) just sent this to me at work. She%u2019s been begging me to come home since lunch. I%u2019m just heading out the door to keep her from checking into the local nuthouse. Hang in there sweetheart- reinforcements are on the way!
Laura - September 22nd, 2013 at 9:26 AM
Glad you are supportive of your wife. You understand her.
Missy - August 26th, 2013 at 9:38 PM
I am a mom of 4... And I think you and I are actually sisters.
Michelle Yeager - August 27th, 2013 at 8:47 AM
Oh glory. You are too funny. I co-host a morning show on the Christian radio station in Boise Idaho and you give me the best show prep. Thanks for that!!! I relate to you way too much. :)
paula - August 27th, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Jen Hatmaker. We don't know each other. We have never met. And, yet, you make me cry until I weep. I sit at my desk and weep and snort and try to suppress a guffaw so that no one at work notices the tears rolling. I so remember those days of bringing up my own kids...your writing brings it all back. How I treasure that phase of life. You have a gift and I pray you will never stop writing, ever. Even when it hurts. Godspeed.
Lani - August 27th, 2013 at 1:52 PM
My youngest is 33 and I can still read AND RELATE to your blog. Survival is possible!
Stephanie - August 27th, 2013 at 2:32 PM
Love, love, love this post - you are my new favorite blog writer! It's taught me a lot about myself too as I've read the critical comments. It's hard to understand why some people feel it so necessary to be that divisive, and just how often it's used as tools from the enemy to pit Christian against Christian in a legalistic battle (it reminds me again and again why Jesus was so distraught by the Pharisees teaching). But, let me end this by focusing on the positive. Based on the numbers only of those who commented, Jen, it sure appears to me that you've been used to do a lot of "uniting" among the body of Christ, certainly among those moms who absolutely adore their children, but know their limits. I have no doubt if I'd read this aloud to my kids, (11 and 14), they'd not only get the humor, but recognize just how much that mom loves her kids - and probably say "that sounds a lot like us". Thank you Jen for making me smile and laugh out loud when I read your humor, and touching my heart when I read the posts aimed at ministry.
Maret - August 27th, 2013 at 5:11 PM
Tell it like it is Mama! I've got your back and then some! On the first day back to school I had coffee with another mom. Came home, sat on the sofa and fell asleep! Awoke to phone alarm saying it's noon! On day two back in school, at lunchtime I once again sat on the sofa. Woke up 45 minutes later. Here's the REAL truth, I didn't sit on that sofa or watch anything I wanted all summer!!!!! On day three into the school year, I started working in the big city again and left the "leftover mess" of summer that hasn't been put away. Guess I know what I'll be doing for Labor Day! This mama is already preaching the awesomeness of doing your homework as soon as you walk in the door, we're 1 for 5 on that!
Wendie - August 27th, 2013 at 8:25 PM
Jen, I love your blog and I can relate, as many of us can, on so many levels. What I can't stand is reading some of these negative and rude comments. Didn't these women ever see Bambi? Honestly, it's what keeps me from blogging. So hats off to you Hatmaker! This girl has got your back.
Elizabeth - August 28th, 2013 at 8:10 AM
Thank you for your honesty - you made me laugh...and feel better about myself. I have a little boy who just started kindergarten. I was a wreck about it at the beginning of the summer but when school started on Monday - I WAS READY! (So was he!) We too packed our summer with fun and "enriching" activies but when he was asked to tell his class about ONE fun thing he did over the summer he said, you guessed it, "I can't remember."

Welcome school, welcome.
Laura - August 28th, 2013 at 9:02 AM
I have enjoyed reading your colorful blog posts since late spring. Thank you for your honesty and humor. You find the laughter in the seemingly difficult circumstances and have been an encouragement to me to look at everything differently; a little lighter. We live in New England and enjoyed an eight week summer vacation, and we were ready to head back to school at week seven. So I totally hear you and agree that twelve weeks is a bit long for summer vacation. But you did it and now they are back in school. Today was our first day back to school, and I have one in first, second, and fourth. Now to get my house in order and clean. :)
Denise - August 28th, 2013 at 5:44 PM
It took me forever to quit laughing in order to finish the rest of your blog post! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. :) Love it!
Julia - August 29th, 2013 at 9:27 AM
I've been gritting my teeth and thinking, "The next mom who tells me she can't wait for school to start is going to get it in the chops." Luckily, it was you, and no one puts things as well as you. I did not read every comment, but I will be a tiny sad voice calling from the other side of the room. I'm a working single mother, and I wish so much that I had spent enough time with my children this summer to be ready to send them to boarding school for the next nine months. Rather, I left them each morning with a kiss and a list of chores designed to keep them from mutual homicide. When they went to camp, I sent letters and did some desultory housecleaning. We didn't go swimming once - they did that with their dad on his family's fabulous annual vacation. Summer is my favorite time of year, and also one of melancholy, as I remember the long lazy, boring, argument-filled days spent with my mother, who was probably sick of the sight of us. Thanks for giving me a moment to share. Well, vent.
Heather - August 29th, 2013 at 10:31 AM
The joy of being able to work out again and have trains of thought that actually arrive somewhere lasted exactly 2.5 days. That's when the kids' activities started rolling and they haven't stopped yet. The hardest part is that every activity is a 'good' activity -- relationship builder, creativity enhancer, musical genius track, whatever. But they are killing me. Between my two oldest children, I now have a grand total of 6 activities spread over 4 nights. And a 7th activity looming in the wings that will take up yet another night. And I've been to a parent meeting where they said "This will be a lot of work. But really great! But also a lot of work..." And I totally lied and told the 7 year old baby that there aren't any activities until you're 8. Or possibly 9. Or one of the other ones graduates. If one more person asks me to buy a t-shirt/bring treats for 40/supervise a mock trial practice/create a phone and email list/drive anybody anywhere I will crack.

Jenny Layton - August 29th, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Jen, no one can say it better than you! Thank you for expressing and validating my precise experience with five children this summer. You'll have to read my blog post about traveling with kids this summer. http://thehappygal.com/hope/ The hard times outnumber the good ones, but fortunately the good times OUTWEIGH the hard ones. As for school starting, I am celebrating right along with you!
Kelly - August 29th, 2013 at 9:10 PM
My kids are surviving on a diet consisting of pizza rolls. I can't think beyond that at this point. School starts Tuesday!!!
Daisy - August 30th, 2013 at 8:13 PM
LOVE it! Your writing is hilarious. I didn't think this could top the end of the year post but it was equally as awesome. 4 more DAYSSS!! haha
staci - August 31st, 2013 at 5:58 PM
I must say right back at ya sister!!! I had my 3 kids all summer by myself and kept wondering why I couldn't motivate towards then end to do anything. I'm pretty sure I caught %u201Cthe screw-its.%u201D
keri - August 31st, 2013 at 8:21 PM
A million thanks, Jen. As always, you just say it right and make me LOL. You da BOSS!
much love from Connecticut
photochic - September 1st, 2013 at 12:07 PM
this was great! I'm a single mom (18, 14, and 6-college, high school and elementary). I could not wait for school to start. I love my kids. I don't have a husband to 'help' although many married women don't either! lol! I can't tell you how relate able this is. haha. oh and the arm jiggle thing-yea I just experienced that comment from my 6 yo for the first time-in front if a friend. I thought I'd die of embarrassment! the structure of school and evening routines commence! yes! early bedtimes! yes!!!
Nancy Plasschaert - September 1st, 2013 at 8:47 PM
You are a successful blogger because you are not afraid to say what many of us think and feel. Thank you for doing that. I am married and the mother of a 10-yr-old girl and four boys (ages 17, 15, 11, 7). We only did two road trips this summer so we still love each other. When my oldest two were little, I used to feel guilty if I had them watch two Veggie Tales videos in a row without doing something with them. Now I can say with a clear conscience to my 7-yr-old chatterbug, "Go play on Daddy's ipad for an hour and don't talk to me, please."

Spicy in San Jose, CA
CaroleAnnie - September 1st, 2013 at 9:20 PM
I ADORE your writing. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for putting up with the inevitable "holier than thou'er's", who are going to comment, and who think mothering is a sport in the frigging Olympics and they are going for a gold medal. I have four kids, the oldest is 38, the youngest is 9 (it's okay to laugh, everyone does). I would take a bullet for my kids but, for the love of all that is righteous and holy, I NEED A MOMENT TO THINK and breathe and read and clean something without having it IMMEDIATELY "uncleaned". I need to miss my youngest so I can look forward to seeing his sweet face at 3pm, and walk him home from school and hear all his news with a fresh brain and unscathed ears. Bless you, honey, and keep writing. You, my dear, are a gem!
Kristi - September 2nd, 2013 at 7:39 AM
Found your blog this morning. I'm your new blog stalker! hehe.
C.K. Bradley - September 4th, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Such a great post! Love summer & love back to school!
Lisa - September 5th, 2013 at 11:26 AM
I just posted this on Facebook with this comment..."It's been awhile since I read something that had me laughing so hard that I had to pause to wipe the tears out of my eyes several times just so that I could keep reading..." And I think the previous time was the precursor to this "Worst Mom Ever" post. THANK YOU!
Sara W - September 6th, 2013 at 7:23 AM
Oh man, I loved this article. Thank you!
Sandy S - September 6th, 2013 at 10:46 PM
I loved this whole post and was laughing out loud, for real, at most of it! I'm even a homeschool mom, but have many of the same feelings for our school year to start up since it also means schedule, structure, clubs, and sports have begun again!
Lynda - September 7th, 2013 at 9:10 AM
After a very busy first week in the classroom, this made me laugh. Thank you!
Ginger - September 16th, 2013 at 7:41 AM
Laughing out loud as I read this. I'm not a mom, but it still makes me laugh! My family used to travel to Colorado every summer for vacation and I can relate to the long drive back home. It's death. Now I know what we did to my poor mother! I can also relate to summers in Austin. We moved to San Marcos when I was in 4th grade, and I can remember that prior to my 9th birthday I enjoyed playing outside. Then we found out what Central Texas heat and humidity really is and my days of being tan and blonde were over. In the middle of summer....pale as snow. Who really wants to go out in that? I salute all of you mom's out there! Especially if you live in a place that demands your children be inside all day!
Audrey - September 16th, 2013 at 9:49 PM
I have just discovered your blog and I am wondering how you know what my house has become in the summer? This made me laugh and I thank you for that. I am looking forward to solitude of back to school. I admit it, I began to think it was time to go back by July 4th! Here is to our school teachers!

Ginny - September 17th, 2013 at 11:37 AM
I homeschooled my kids which probably means i lived even more on the edge than you do, but I observe that you are an enthusiastic person at the beginning of a project, but probably take on too much. I have a daughter that has four children who are NOT home schooled and probably because she was homeschooled, she realizes that it is a ridiculous amount of work. Every year we would sit down before we ordered curriculum and figure out what worked and what didn't. I do know a little secret about home schooling. after awhile they GET SICK OF YOU because you are always trying to make every moment educational, trying to teach them something that they are not interested in but they must learn, or you are making them socialize with kids that they don't necessarily like, or with other mommas that they don't necessarily like. So the upside of that is that my kids withdrew inside themselves into their rooms (i only had three kids). So i did have some downtime between being a military wife and active member of my church family and regular Throne Room occupier!
Dor - September 18th, 2013 at 7:53 PM
YES YES YES! This sums up my summer as well. Like the kids, I look forward to summer soooo eagerly ...no homework, no packing lunches, no rushing around to after school activities....it sounds so wonderful, and it is, at first. But after a while, I cannot STAND the bodies laying around the house ALL THE TIME. We do "fun" things; things to which I have to drive them from morning til night ... but it is exhausting and becomes UN fun. Soooo relieved to have my life/routine/house back. Can't even describe the peace I feel!
Bob Ben - September 22nd, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Awesome blog. I loved reading it. I was laughing so hard I was shaking the bed. :D
Tania - September 23rd, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Towards the end of a summer road trip with our kids & my 8yr old son's stream-of-consciousness chatter in the back;
Husband - "Jacob try not to say everything that comes into your head"
Jacob - "I'm not saying everything that comes into my head"
Husband - "Try not to say ANY of it."
Karin - September 27th, 2013 at 3:28 PM
This is my first visit to your blog and I currently have tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard. I needed this today. I felt every single bit of what you were feeling. You are hysterical and amazing at putting your thoughts down on paper. I should print this and stuff it in my journal because it is exactly my life. Substitute California for Colorado and Utah for Texas and we are kindred spirits. Thanks again for a great laugh. It has given me the energy I need to make dinner tonight!
Annie - September 27th, 2013 at 11:40 PM
My husband always said that the braves should never outnumber the chiefs ... but the time he came up with those wise words we were outnumbered. It has been a while since I had to mother my kids but your words, Jen, brought back all those thoughts and feelings that were in agreement. On the first day of school, it was no surprise that you would find all sorts of moms with bits of hair left on their heads, stains on their stretched out t-shirts and sandals revealing long overdue, badly needed pedicures taking up all the booths at the local diner, looking dazed and grateful all at the same time. We knew not only where to find comfort, but also some sanity in groups. Even if no one had the capability to utter words but to look wistfully into their coffee cups. The first day of school was the best day of the year, hands down!
Marcy - March 3rd, 2014 at 3:44 PM
just discovered your blog. how have I missed you all this time? love you, jen hatmaker. MY new best friend.
Stephanie - March 26th, 2014 at 1:39 PM
I have read this blog tens of thousands of times out loud to my kids and to my husband. Every time I read this, everyone stops what they are doing and gathers around me and my computer to listen and see at what I am laughing so hard. I love this. And another summer is upon us in just a few weeks. How will we survive? :)
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