MESS: Make Everything Stop Syndrome

by Lian on April 16, 2012

In a post-Spring Break reflective moment, I’m bringing back a Classic Chaos Column.

 MESS: Make Everything Stop Syndrome

Welcome to that long stretch of the calendar that lies between spring break and the last day of school.  The next few weeks can be tough on the whole family as the academic year grinds to a stop.  We’ve all heard of Senioritis, but what do you know of MESS? Have you noticed any of these symptoms in your household?

Homework Fatigue

  • Test Date Memory Loss
  • Decreased Backpack Organization
  • Increased Desire to Stay in Bed
  • Carpool Tunnel Syndrome
  • Diminished Interest in Brown Bag Lunches

Sound familiar? I’m not talking about your sixth grader; I’m talking about you, Mom. You have all the signs of MESS: Make Everything Stop Syndrome.  What seems like such a fine idea in September—education– can wear down every ounce of patience and discipline you have in May.   The hours of homework supervision, the long waits in the pick-up line, or preparing your kids for tests in subjects you can’t even remember taking in school, like Earth Science. It’s not just kids who drag themselves to the end of the school year.  Parents feel the pain, too.

So here are a few suggestions for combating MESS:

Eyes on the Prize  Someone in the house has to keep their focus on what’s really important: not ending up in summer school! So if Junior is dangerously close to a repeat of Algebra 1, you owe it to both of you to maintain close attention to homework completion, test scores and a fabulous teacher’s gifts.

Relax… a little bit  The longer days in the spring mean that you don’t have to hunker down for the evening at 5:00 o’clock.  Let the kids play a little later outside after school, then bring the hammer down before American Idol starts.

Re-Commit to Not Committing   I know you are a dedicated school volunteer, the go-to mom in your class. But resist your do-good instincts and do not sign up to bring watermelon to every end-of-year activity.   You’ll strain something.  After weeks of art fairs, spring sings, and history project presentations, you’ll be too exhausted to enjoy summer. Pace yourself.

Hang in there, baby. Summer coming!  Remember that inspiration poster with the cat hanging from the wall waiting for Friday? Well, in this case, you’re the cat.  Believe that you can get to the end of the school year with a smile on your face. And then remember what it feels like in the middle of August, when you can’t wait for that big yellow school bus to take them away again!


What’s you strategy for combating MESS at your house?

Embracing my Chaos, Lian

Related Posts:

Your Volunteer Personality

School Project Madness: Are you the Project Mom?




Ann from Huntsville April 19, 2012 at 7:09 PM

This is such a good one to hear every year! As PTA president this year I recommended moving Teacher Appreciation Week at our elementary school to February to coincide with Valentine’s Day (I got the idea from another school). Everybody loved it! It was one less thing to add on to the end of the school year when everybody has so much to do, and with February usually being a very quiet time we felt we could spoil the teachers a little more without being rushed!

CLSD OPEN April 17, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Lian – thanks for bringing back a classic, to which we can all relate! Yes, mid-August we’ll be feeling differently, but right now…really burned out on overseeing the homework, the planned projects, the last-minute projects, the book reports, the current events reports, etc. Yes, even mom enjoyed the spring break of no homework! :) The spring carnival is over—woo hoo!!—and all that remains for over-committing myself on volunteering are the end-of-year picnics and elementary school graduation for my youngest! Chris

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