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Tired mom puts a hilarious and relatable spin on the traditional 'back to school' photo

'We're all real human beings … we're all in the struggle together,' the mother-of-two said.

Tired mom puts a hilarious and relatable spin on the traditional 'back to school' photo
Cover Image Source: Instagram/mavenjeni

A North Carolina mom flipped the back-to-school photo trend on its head this year by turning the camera on herself instead of her kids. Jeni Bukolt, a mom of two and the owner of branding agency HAVEN Creative, recently took to social media to share her take on the popular trend and posted a selfie of herself wearing sunglasses and holding up a black sign mimicking the chalkboards that are often seen in kids' back-to-school pictures. While the chalkboard typically displays a child's age, grade and teacher, and favorite things, Bukolt's sign read: "Mom's First Day of School."

It also featured a number of statements that fellow parents would find all too relatable. "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," Bukolt's sign states. Captioning the photo on Instagram, she wrote: "Happy 'Back to School' season to all the parents. 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!"


Speaking to Good Morning America, Bukolt—who lives in Waxhaw, North Carolina, with her husband and two sons—explained that she was inspired by her desire to connect with other parents and share a snippet of what parenting is really like. "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," she said. "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."


According to Bukolt, her hilarious back-to-school photoshoot was a spur-of-the-moment decision. "It really was a last-minute thing," she said. "I did it right after my boys were getting ready to go to school and 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." 


Bukolt revealed that she's heard from many fellow parents since posting the photo online. "Most of the comments have been positive and funny, which I feel makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only parent that struggles with trying to be the best parent," she said. As for those who've criticized her for the post, Bukolt said at the end of the day, it was all in good fun.

"If other moms can get a good laugh about it, then that makes my heart happy," she said. Bukolt's post resonated deeply with fellow parents, many of whom took to the comments section to flood her post with words of appreciation. "Oh my! I feel the same. I am NOT perfect. Though, I guilt myself every day over my kids. I needed this!! Thank you," wrote debtartaglia. "This is AWESOME! Great sense of humor! Much appreciated and applauded. A little light-heartedness goes a long way in making the days go by so much easier," commented lovemysportygirl.

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