This mom has first-day bitters.
A mother in North Carolina shared her hilarious spin on a classic back-to-school trend, turning the camera on herself in a now-viral snapshot that struck a chord with exhausted parents everywhere.
Jeni Bukolt snapped a photo of herself wearing sunglasses, unenthusiastically holding up a black chalkboard sign that noted it was the first day of school.
“Mom’s first day of school,” the decorated sign read, as seen in her Instagram photo.
“I am 42 years tired. I’ll probably miss a school ‘theme’ day.” I really like sleep. Please don’t ask me to volunteer, but I will buy you supplies.”
The satirical post poked fun at the classic back-to-school photos that flood Facebook feeds every fall as students pose with Pinterest-inspired signs listing their age, grade and fun facts about themselves before returning to school.
“Happy ‘Back to School’ season to all the parents,” Bukolt wrote in the caption. “May we not forget a ‘theme’ day or accidentally send our kids to the bus stop on the teacher work days, or forget to pick them up on the randomly scheduled half days. May we have patience and give each other grace for doing our best!”
The mother of two and owner of branding agency HAVEN Creative said the idea came to her last minute as her boys were getting ready for their first day.
“I thought maybe if I can create a lighthearted moment, some other moms will laugh and understand we’re all in this kind of struggle together. Like, let’s have empathy for each other,” Bukolt told “Good Morning America.”
“I also feel like when you look at social media, there’s all these, [picture perfect] worlds. It’s not the true story. And some people think like, ‘Oh, they have it better or they’re perfect,’ and this is an opportunity to say no, we’re all real human beings … we’re all in the struggle together.”
The post attracted a few hateful comments but Bukolt doesn’t mind. She followed her initial post with another photo of the sign with an added sticky note that read: “P.S. I love my boys and teachers. It’s a joke.”
“The whole purpose behind it was just the struggle of myself going, ‘Here comes another year. I hope I don’t forget anything.’ Because trying to be an entrepreneur and a wife and a mom and juggling all the things, I feel like I’m constantly failing in some area of my life,” she explained.
“If other moms can get a good laugh about it, then that makes my heart happy,” Bukolt said.
Parents aren’t the only ones already feeling the exhaustion of the looming school year. Two-thirds of American teachers report feeling burned out, a recent study found.
In fact, parents are a lot more confident than teachers, research from OnePoll found, reporting that 44% of teachers and 55% of parents are feeling less anxious about the upcoming school year compared to last year.