Dear Elementary School

Dear Elementary School,

I know we’ve only known each other for 7 weeks, but already you have been quite an addition to our family. I so want to be like you! Energetic, organized, themed, so cute and all color coordinated. I thought preschool provided a lot, but wow Elementary School, our relationship is so new and yet, the amount of mom guilt you’ve given me has caused my pretty full mom guilt plate to now runneth over.

For the love. All the theme days, Elementary School. Just today, “Brown Day” plus “Hat Day” before 7:45 am on the SAME day just about caused me to pour some Bailey’s (hey it’s brown and starts with a B!) in my coffee this morning. 

So I’d like to go ahead and apologize. We nailed blue day and red day, but it’s been getting rougher since our honeymoon period. We got into the car today wearing neither brown nor a hat. 

But bless! You gave me another opportunity to get it partially right because color theme days also have a show and tell component! Of course! Wear brown AND bring a brown item for Show and Tell that begins with the letter “B.”

So I sort of get Brown Day, but where’d the hat day come from and why do I have to pay $1.00 for my kindergartner to wear a hat? School spirit day? Or class spirit day or teacher’s spirit is dropping day and they need to avoid eye contact day? Or buy the teacher a Snicker’s bar day? (By the way, teacher’s y’all amaze me, I’d be soooooo happy to send you a Snicker’s or an apple every day especially if we could strike a deal about these theme days.) 

Back to the issue. I’ll tell you a secret, there is hidden treasure stuffed under the seats in my car. Whenever I need the car to look clean, I stuff whatever’s on the floor under the seats. Here’s looking at you school carline–love y’all opening the door so the kids can get out and get into the building and so I can wear my pjs to schools dropoff, but I don’t love the judgement I imagine the Car Door Opener Helper making when the floor of the car looks like an episode Hoarders. Amazing how much will fit under the front seats of a Prius. Little tip, it’s not the cell phone that are slowing down carline, it’s all of us shoving baby dolls and french fries and water bottles and Legos under the seats.

I digress again, so I managed to find a brown-ish stuffed cheetah for show and tell in the car AND a baseball hat that sorta fits him. (No one tells you that when you become a mom, you also become a Moving Vehicle Object Retrieval Ninja-”Go Go Gadget Arm!”). I’m sure in some language “cheetah” starts with a “B.” Let’s call it enrichment. Plus how many brown bear stuffed animals can one class look at during Show and Tell?

Of course my son is not happy about this at all, because as I’m sure you know as an expert of kindergartener development, a stuffed animal is not as “manly” to a five year old boy who is hyper self-conscious of gender “norms”  as his preferred Show and Tell item of choice made as we were squealing around the corner to school, Chewbacca (to a 5 year old Chewbacca is two words Chew Baca–so it totally counts as starting with the letter B and being brown). But I’m not turning this car around to go get it. Ain’t no one happy this morning. 

Plus, he doesn’t even realize yet that everyone else in class is wearing brown today except for him. So let’s just go ahead and set him up with a weekly school counselor visit. This is starting to look like it may be tough relationship on all of us. I may not plan or prioritize my time or money enough to go buy him a brown shirt to wear once on Brown Shirt Day, but I do plan and prioritize for his mental health.

And yes, I know we need to talk about Wednesday’s Walk-to-School day too. I will take full responsibility for screwing that one up too. Honestly I forgot, but also it just seemed goofy to drive to the parking lot down the hill from school to let him hop out to walk the ⅛ of a mile to school. That’s what my type moms were doing. Maybe there were some other moms who strapped on their hiking boots and woke up their families at 4:30 am to make the usually unwalkable trip to school through 5 miles of neighborhoods without sidewalks and then through the shopping center full of people driving like dementia patients since they hadn’t had their coffee yet. But my brain took care of that by just shoving the whole walk to school thing into my overly full “best intentions” box and closing the lid tightly.

So, here is my late effort to be a good sport and get our relationship back off on the right foot. Please accept this $1 I found in odd change under the floor mats so that my son is allowed to wear a hat to school today. (I brushed off most of the french fry crumbs for you and you totally needed some pennies right?) 

Also, I wanted to let you know ahead of time that I will be unable to buy the suggested leather jacket or saddle shoes for Friday’s 50th Day of School 50’s themed celebration. Hope that’s not a deal breaker. 

With anxiety and drowning in #momguilt I am respectfully yours,


PS-please go ahead and add a counseling visit for him on the 50th Day of School ‘50’s day. Does the counselor see moms by chance? Better pencil me in too. My theme day avoidance and inability is going to take some work. So if you need to break up with me, that’s fine. It’s me, not you. I promise.

Katie Roach Dudley is a first generation Southerner and a mediocre aficionado of beer, bbq, cornhole, bad parenting, yoga and greenish living. She dreams of starting a commune with interiors by Darryl Carter, activities planned by Club Med and food by Momofuku. Until then, she’ll be doing public relations for the school she loves, reading self help books, and competitively eating chocolate chip cookies while squeezing her two beloved kids in a giant bear hug.


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