The last few weeks of school are a time of joy in which your child caps the previous year’s achievements while wringing every last drop of education from the remaining precious minutes of instruction. And then you wake up in a cold sweat, realizing you have slept through your alarm and your child is shaking you awake with the news that school starts in 20 minutes and he/she needs a costume for the language class performance, which you are required to attend at 10:30 AM. Sure, it is expected that kids will coast a bit in the last few weeks. But if your family is anything like mine, that “coasting” is more like “careening.” I picture it a bit like Indiana Jones in the mine car attempting to escape the Temple of Doom while bullets fly past his head and the integrity of the track ahead is questionable at best.
I hope this equation helps. For if you know that you will certainly break down before the end of the school year, you might as well give yourself permission to do it now and get it over with. Or if you realize that your predicament is not, in fact, as dire as it seems, then the knowledge may provide the hope you need to stay strong even through the most dire moving up ceremony.
There are a couple terms that need explanation. First, notice that if the total of your children’s ages is greater than 40, the entire equation returns a nonsensical negative answer. This respects the fact that if the sum of your school-age children is greater than 40, you have already passed an important tipping point of sanity and admitted that you have no control over their actions or schooling. The inverted U-shape of this parabolic curve maximizes the danger to your sanity at combined ages of 20, meaning that if you have, say, two upper-elementary age children you are likely a goner. Younger or older kids have A) less awareness and anticipation or B) the ability to manage these weeks with greater independence.
Then there is the term Bdown’, which you should consider as your current, baseline level of crazy. Combined with Bdown” the equation calculates your “trajectory of crazy” and then adds to your baseline score the level of crazy you should expect to experience on your child’s last day of school. This section of the equation between the central brackets may alone be greater than 100. In that case, consider the educational equivalent of eloping: tuck your child/children under your arm(s) and leave now for the nearest beach where the sound of lapping waves and riffling palm fronds will gently coax you back from the edge of the abyss of insanity.
Presentations and an ever-later bedtime hurt your chances of survival. Unless you offset these things by drinking. For those of you unable to increase D or worried about your ability to increase D enough to offset other factors, consider replacing or augmenting this term with its equivalent in professional massages, increased hours of Netflix binge watching, or other hedonistically therapeutic activities.
The answer to this equation is the percentage chance that you will not cross the finish line of your child’s last day of school with your sanity intact. Note that by subtracting this score from 100, you can determine the chance that you WILL survive. How you choose to act on this information is up to you.