The Stages of Grief for a Mom at the End of the School Year

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The chorus “schooooooooooooool’s out for summer!” has been running through my head for the past week. It’s hard to believe summer is upon us already. I, for one, am NOT swimsuit ready. I’m barely even t-shirt ready. If I could just stay covered up in my winter coat for a bit longer, that would be great.

I work in a school three days a week. While I am as eager as all other school employees to enjoy some time off of work; for me, summer vacation is a double edged sword. While it is nice to not have to wake up at dawn and shower every day, I do miss the two days per week when I am just home with my youngest. This year he went to preschool in the mornings, so I had some time to get stuff done around the house, run errands, go to the gym, etc. The afternoons were also fairly peaceful and I enjoyed my time with my little guy.

The peace and quiet that we enjoyed is soon to be dramatically shattered. The older kids are done with school for the year next week. I don’t know what it’s like in other people’s homes, but in my house we have a pretty solid two week period of hell at the start of every summer. The kids fight, they don’t know what to do with so much unstructured time, and I silently grieve the peace and quiet that I previously enjoyed while the kids were in school.

As with all types of grief, there is a process. It happens every year beginning mid-May or so, and it looks like this;


Stage 1: Denial

Wait, what? It’s not May yet! Wasn’t Easter, like, just last weekend? What do you mean there’s only 9 days of school left? I still have Christmas decorations to put away.


Stage 2:  Anger

The brunt of my anger unwittingly goes to my dear husband.  Especially after he comes home from a day at work sitting at his desk in peace and quiet and proceeds to complain about being tired. Uh-uh buddy. I work, too. It is WAY harder to stay home with these kids than to go to work. No sympathy from me.


Stage 3: Bargaining

If we can just have a few more weeks of school, I promise I will do a better job of signing their assignment notebooks! I will pack healthy lunches! I will come back to the PTO. Hell, I’ll even run for president of the PTO! PLEASE, let them have a couple more weeks!!! PLEASE!!!


Stage 4: Depression

A couple days in and I start to feel a bit lethargic. I don’t want to make lunches every day. I haven’t even put the breakfast dishes away yet. I can’t handle the constant whining and fighting. I just want to crawl in my bed and let them sort it out. They don’t need me, do they?


Stage 5: Acceptance

After a couple weeks of summer vacation, we start to get into a routine. The kids get used to being home and having less of a schedule, the bickering simmers down a little, and we can finally start enjoying our time.

And we do. We enjoy our summers immensely. After that first two week adjustment period and the process of grieving my peace and quiet, we have a grand old time!

And then the 4th of July is here before we know it. Everyone knows that summer just flies by after the 4th of July. August goes by in a hot, humid blur. All too soon it’s time for back to school shopping and open house night at school and I silently very vocally grieve the loss of our summer.

I grieve the lazy days spent at the pool. The shorts and t-shirts and ponytails. Flip flops! Going to the gym every day! Backyard barbeques. Baseball games! I grieve the loss of all my favorite summer things.

As with all types of grief, there is a  process. It happens every year beginning mid-August or so.

If your kiddos are starting their summer breaks soon, hang in there! And enjoy your time with them. It does go so fast. Especially after the 4th of July!