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Dear Teachers of my Children:

Thank you for choosing teaching as an occupation. Because there are people like you willing to take on this profession, I don’t have to teach my kids math or reading or history.

Thanks for taking them 5 of 7 days out of the week for this school year. I seriously thought I was going to lose my $#!+ this summer. (Maybe I did a couple times.) How do you do it? You can’t yell or spank or even glare at the kid.

Not only are you taking my “little angels,” you’re taking on the town’s kids. OK, there are a few parents out there who can (somehow) teach their own children to read and do math and know their histories. I’m limited to the ABC song and counting to ten. And third grade math? I wasn’t doing that stuff until junior high! Do you KNOW how long ago that was for me?

 I know people like to complain about school shopping. “Why do I have to buy this? Why that?” I was one of them—until I came to the realization that you are taking my kids away. Those loving, caring little people who fight with siblings all summer, argue over the remote, whine about how hot it is outside, and complain “I’m bored. I’m hungry.” every five minutes. You are giving me a break. You are giving me some moments of sanity. And, you are way cheaper than paying for daycare (and I send my kids to a parochial school, not a public one!).

So what do you need—or want?

A box of tissues? OK, I’ll buy you 2 boxes. I know how much snot comes out of my kids’ noses. When they were toddlers, I was covered in it.

Sanitizing wipes? You bet. Don’t let my kids get sick. That means they have to stay home, and me with them!

Markers? Crayons? Sure, in exchange for teaching my kid to write, and about perspective in art.

A binder? What color? How big? Teach my kid to organize their life and papers. Their parents sure aren’t, as evidenced by the piles of crap all over our house.

Paper? You mean, kids write and do homework at school? OK, here’s a ream. Try to not let work come home. I don’t understand 3rd grade math.

Sports equipment? Please, get them off their butts. They just want to watch TV at home, no matter how much I harass them to go outside.

A volunteer? Well, this is stretching it a bit. But sure, I can give you some hours here-and-there if you promise it’ll be fun or we’ll learn a lot. Maybe even a day trip.

Can I send a fru-fru coffee gift card? I mean, I know how much energy just my kids take. How do you handle 15?

Maybe your favorite candy bar? I mean, teachers need sugar, too. I’ve seen what those kindergarteners can do…

How about lunch? Do you eat? I mean, during the day? Do you have time?

A bathroom break? Maybe we could arrange people to arrive for a daily story (for the littles) or monitoring (those who can read to themselves) and you could go to the bathroom?

A little wine? This one could be tricky but I’m up to the challenge. I know whining–I mean, wining—helps me after a long day with my kids. Geez, neither of those read well, do they? So if there’s a coffee mug full of pink liquid on your desk with a Christmas card from me, feel free to drink it and toss the mug (I can only imagine you have hundreds of those).

Seriously, parents, think about it. These people we call teachers are taking on your kids. They protect them. They put Band-Aids on ouchies. They dry their tears, and give high-fives. They teach math, reading, history, art, music, etc. When your kid won’t obey, they can’t spank them. They can barely raise their voices without worrying about a lawsuit. Do your kid(s) a favor. Spoil your teachers a bit. Give them a hug. Give them a gift they can USE (not another coffee mug). Buy a few supplies for the whole classroom.

Stop whining about all the money you spend on school supplies. Seriously, don’t your kids whine enough? Enjoy the peace and quiet while they are at school, learning and driving someone else batty.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a mom who is working outside the home part-time and who is learning to cope with the ever-changing daily challenges of full-time parenthood. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005, and works with a diverse mental health population. Jessica resides in Central Nebraska with her husband and four children on the family ranch.

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