20 Signs That You Have an Elementary School Kid

(This post originally ran on Huffington Post Parents)

The days of bottles, potty training, snotty noses and sippy cups are far behind me. I now have two kids in elementary school and, like so many parents of similar-aged kids, find myself pondering about how much my life has altered as I cruise around the grocery store at 9 p.m. on a Saturday evening. One on the one hand, my kids are more independent: they can read, they can write, they can tie their shoelaces (well, almost) and I’ve even been paying them to sort, fold and put away their laundry! But on the other hand, the sheer volume of school/PTO requests, homework and social activities threaten to overwhelm and quite frankly, erode any chance of quality me-time (other than grocery shopping late at night). Does any of this sound familiar?

Here are many ways to know when you, too, are the parent of elementary school kids:

  1. You find out about a school project/permission slip/photo day at 8 a.m. the day they are due.
  2. Play dates and parties are drop off… and you are thrilled.
  3. You proudly wear rainbow loom bracelets (while muttering under your breath about the chaos of rubber bands littering your house).
  4. Math homework makes you quake with fear.
  5. You manage to squeeze your lower half into those tiny seats during parent-teacher conferences.
  6. The days of the week take on new meaning: Monday is “you have PE, don’t forget your sneakers day!”, Thursday is “return library book day”, Friday is “pizza day!”
  7. Minecraft.
  8. You are scared to put your hand inside their backpacks.
  9. Your second job is peddling wrapping paper, raffle tickets and other fundraisers (and your friends and family deftly avoid you).
  10. Ninety percent of the morning mayhem in your house is created in the last 10 minutes before school drop off.
  11. Your iPad/laptop is no longer your own.
  12. You have to explain why Miley Cyrus is really not that cool.
  13. You are adept at stealthily throwing away the latest ‘art project’ in the trash can outside, making sure to hide it underneath other stuff.
  14. You find yourself singing along to Kidz Bop (even when there are no kids around…).
  15. Gloves and hats and socks get lost with uncanny frequency.
  16. Pokemon.
  17. Your toddler knows to yell “BUS” as it approaches the end of your driveway.
  18. Your weekends are a complex logistical challenge — full of parties, play dates, sports and errands.
  19. You are not beneath drying papier maché volcanoes in the microwave.
  20. You know that the day when you’ll have to explain the birds and the bees is inching closer and it terrifies you.

Are Dads the New Moms?

This morning, I read a blog post that suggested that parenting magazines are making a mistake by catering so much to Moms and leaving Dads out. On the one hand, I agree – Dads these days play a large role in parenting and should be represented as such within parenting magazines. On the other hand, I’m not so sure that Dads turn to glossy magazines for parenting advice. I’m fairly sure they either speak with other Dads, follow a couple of Dad bloggers or wing it, the best they can.

I consider myself to be one lucky Mom as my husband has not only been a very participant Dad from the moment number one child popped out (actually, he didn’t just pop out but that’s another story) but he also makes me a better Mom. I observe the same in many of my friend’s husbands, as well as my brother and brothers-in-law, and it’s really heart-warming. These are the ways that my kids’ Dad is as good as (and often better than) their Mom:

  • He folds the laundry (is there anything sexier, I ask.)
  • He shares the school drop-offs and pickups.
  • He cooks, shops, cleans, mends.
  • He has cleaned up his fair share of poop and puke (though I always seem to be on the receiving end of the puke.)
  • He encourages me to go out with my girlfriends at least once a month.
  • He takes care of both kids one evening a week so I can work late.
  • He shares taking the kids to their dentist/doctor appointments/playdates/birthday parties.
  • He is a more-than-equal enforcer of discipline.
  • He attends parent/teacher conferences with me.
  • He does it all when I have to travel for work.
  • He is super silly (which is the secret to our happy marriage.)

So yes, if the above tasks comprise what was once considered motherhood, then Dad is the new Mom and I see nothing wrong with that. The fact is that parenthood is wonderful and tough and incredible and exhausting and uplifting and messy and expensive and complicated and a lot of hard work. Having an equal partner makes it manageable and way more fun.

Hooray for Dads!

(Did I mention that my hubby is in the wine business – triple bonus for me!!!)

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