Yearly Back-To-School PSA

My OG sisters know my yearly PSA, but it bears repeating every damn year because it never stops being true.

Here on this Friday, at the end of the first week of school, you are forbidden to make a single plan tonight. And really? The whole weekend.

I will tell you why: your children are a full blown mess. They are so exhausted and overstimulated, they cannot even handle a simple question like “how was your day?” These are fighting words. Offer the wrong snack after school? Your tired child will come at you like a small sociopathic ninja. And the little kinder babies are literally in a coma.


Think a celebration dinner tonight might be fun? That is the worst idea you have ever had.

No you will not go to the football game, unless you’d like to drag your screaming kindergartener out at halftime like we did with Sydney Hatmaker in 2005 because she didn’t want that blue Slushee.

No you will not let your kid go to a sleepover — unless you like picking up hysterical children at midnight because they can’t function.

Also, don’t take the bait. They have stored up all their feelings and worries and exhaustion all day, and you get it all. They will pick fights and act bananas. Don’t fall for it. Don’t join them in their crazy.

Just say things like:

  • Mmmmmm. That does sound frustrating.
  • I see. How about a snack?
  • You got a lot going on in that brain, don’t you?
  • Oh okay. How about some chocolate milk?

Order pizza, turn on a movie, and be done.

They need to go to bed. They need a dark room and a cozy blanket and no words. Let them sleep in tomorrow. Don’t make direct eye contact until at least Sunday. Do not poke the bear. The bear is wild with overwhelm and has the capacity to kill you.

If you made plans, you need to cancel them right now. Close the blinds, turn the lights down, feed and water the children if they can stay awake past 5:00pm, and tiptoe silently out of the room.


Please acknowledge your receipt of this information.

Thanks to some of our sisters for posting the enclosed pics of their first week of school. This is how it is. This is how they are. Don’t take these poor babies in public.


(And, teachers, feel free to apply this PSA at will, too. I know it applies to all of you classroom warriors who are out here doing the most for our kids. You are not expected to deal either.)

The Elephant Story.

Some years ago, back in 2017, my girl Nichole Nordeman sent me a photo by David Yarrow and a story. But it’s as relevant now as it was then — if not many times more so.

It’s about female elephants. You know, as all good stories begin.

See, in the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases — under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.

This is what we do, girls.

When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover… we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each others’ backs.

You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck.

And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks.

I have this picture saved in three different places and in a frame.

Photo courtesy of David Yarrow

Maybe you need this too. If you are closing ranks around a vulnerable sister, or if your girls have you surrounded while you are tender, this is how we do it.

There is no community like a community of women.

This story proves that you are never alone; you will always have people around you who are there for you.