We’re in the final stretch, friends.

The school year is winding down and I know you’re tired. It’s been a memorable year to say the least, and I don’t think many people will be sorry to see it go so we can hit the reset button, enjoy the summer, and start over fresh in September.

If you’re a working parent, you’re exhausted the entire month of June, I know. You probably have one of those big calendars on your fridge to write down all your commitments, and if you’re like me, it’s probably chock-full right about now. Lots of entries about recitals, baking for class parties, banquets, awards nights, formals, and end-of-year assignments due. It can also include reminders about which day the cafeteria closes and which day is the last full day of class. We remember things suddenly, like the midnight epiphany that we forgot to pick up a gift card for our kid’s teacher.

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Somewhere in the distance is the faint sound of the theme from St. Elmo’s Fire.

For parents of graduates, it’s extra whirlwind-y. On top of everything else, you’ve got grad tickets to pick up, outfits to shop for, photography to arrange, life savings to burn through. It’s like your wedding day, only less about you and, somehow, more work.

There is so much to celebrate that it’s hard to be too cranky about it. It is, after all, a mark of success that we’re reached another year’s end with happy-ish, healthy, functioning children. They may have reached varying degrees of academic success, but hopefully between their report cards and their athletic, musical, artistic, and social endeavours, they have achieved promising personal growth.

It’s actually bittersweet to reach the end of June, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, I love a good summer of baseball and who doesn’t count down the days to when we don’t have to make lunches, am I right? But for someone whose house functions best with the routine that the school year provides, I will be somewhat sad to see it go.

Here are a few tips to get you through, from one beat-tired parent to another.

Don’t beat yourself up these next few weeks. If you couldn’t get time off to make it to the regional championship game or to chaperone the field trip, or if you just didn’t have it in you to make up treat bags or cupcakes for the party on the last day, no one will notice or care, and your kids will forgive you. They’ll probably have forgotten by that afternoon.

Have your child get his friends’ numbers before classes are dismissed. If you don’t know the parents and the family only has cell phones, you won’t be able to get in touch with them over the summer.

Throw the school stuff out. Do it, throw it out. I know it’s hard, but you must, unless you want to end up one of those ladies on TLC who can’t find their stove because of the wall of papers. Have the kids empty their backpacks and organize a sample of their best work into a single folder for safe keeping. It will require some tough decisions and hard cuts, but you don’t need to save everything, and if you don’t sort it out now, everything will still be sitting in a bag next Christmas waiting for you to go through it.

If you haven’t made any plans for this summer, stay calm. Vacations are overrated. Port Hawkesbury has an awesome park and splash pad, Nova Scotia has some of the most amazing outdoor adventures you’ll find anywhere in the world, going to the beach is free, and Whitty is still putting on his sports camp – they’ll be fine.

If your teen hasn’t found work yet, don’t panic. There are people looking for babysitters and stores hiring students, and lots of valuable volunteer opportunities.

Talk to other parents and help each other out. Maybe there’s an opportunity to carpool, or maybe one of the moms will take your kid to soccer while you’re at work in exchange for a play date during their work hours that evening. Routines are disrupted during the summer, so it’s nice to have friends who can lean on each other for support.

Here’s to a great summer!