It’s finally summer vacation (amen and hallelujah)! After surviving the past year of school, parents are completely wiped.
It’s customary to get a gift for educators at the end of the school year, and I think that’s great.
But after this highly unusual year, I think parents deserve a gift too.
Here’s a list of suggestions for the mom or dad in your life that just survived the complete sh*tshow that was school this year.
1. A week of highly regimented, unchanging activities.
You know what parents could count on this school year? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
It was like a sick and twisted carnival ride and everyone wants off.
Even if you were lucky enough to have your kids in school in person, there was no telling when the shoe would drop and the district would announce a last-minute closure.
So this summer, get the mom or dad in your life an iron-clad, unchanging schedule. If you make any plans, set them in stone and follow through come hell or high water.
The family calendar (and parental sanity) can’t handle even one more change.
2. A question-free day
You know how when you were little, you would make coupons for your parents for birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc.?
“Good for One Free Hug”
“Good for One Car Wash”
You get the idea.
Well, parents want a coupon for one day FREE of all questions.
We’ve spent the last year hearing, “What’s the wifi password? Do we have school today? Is today an all-virtual day? Wait, it’s Monday – is this a holiday, a Teacher Work Day, or an asynchronous work day? Where’s my iPad?”
“Question, question, question, QUESTION?!”
Our beloved offspring used up their entire lifetime allotment of questions between March 2020 and June 2021.
We, their parents, now respectfully request they refrain from their incessant interrogating for just one single day.
3. A Freaking Break
Parenting has always been hard. Every generation of parents has faced challenges.
But it’s also fair to say that the previous year’s been exceptionally difficult for parents.
Every fiber of society that supports parents (and it’s not like our society’s exactly great at this in the first place) suddenly disappeared.
Working parents found themselves without child care but still needing to do their jobs.
They had to carry on and produce as if tiny humans weren’t stalking them all day begging for snacks and help with school.
Professional meetings were interrupted to wipe butts and fix lunches.
Stay at home parents struggled as all the support systems that usually help them survive the constant demands of all-day-and-night parenting were pulled out from under them.
No more clubs or activities, no more playdates or teenage babysitters, no more school at actual schools. Just you and your kids, 24-7-365.
Everyone who weathered this pandemic deserves a break. But right behind health care workers, first responders, and frontline workers, parents should probably be next.
And don’t even get me started on parents who ARE health care workers, first responders, or front-line workers.
I hope someone hands them a lifetime supply of babysitters and margaritas STAT!
4. No More Tech Support.
Our kids have been fully wired for an entire year. Desktops, Laptops, iPads, Laptops AND iPads…
Whatever it took to get school done (whether that was at home or at school – or both), we did it.
And now we’re done. Like done-done. Stick-a-fork-in-us done with all the technology.
But as I mentioned already, parents now really want (umm, NEED) a break and some question-free time.
Maybe things work differently in your house, but in MY house, the nonstop questioning only stops when something’s on the tube.
So… I really need An Early 1990s TV/VCR Combo
I want one of those antiquated two-in-one, TV/VCR Combos from Zenith or Panasonic.
(By the way, do those companies even exist anymore?)
No more complicated apps, HDMI connections, touch-screens, or internet-dependent streaming today, friends. Your tech support is taking a personal day!
My kids can watch a good old fashioned VHS tape from the DISNEY VAULT.
They can get up to change the channel.
They can manually adjust the tracking AND BE GRATEFUL FOR IT.
Of course, these “gifts” won’t fix everything, but we don’t need it to.
Will these “gifts” completely cure the burnout parents are feeling?
That would require a long, solo tropical vacation (or at least an extended stay in a silent, dark room).
BUT they will certainly help take the edge off – and at this point, that’s all parents are really asking for.
At this point, we’re just looking for a little relief after running a year-and-a-half gauntlet.
So if you’re looking to mark a birthday, anniversary, or just a day that ends in “y” – give this list a try!
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