With summer coming to a close and school back in session, parents nationwide are gearing up for the forthcoming academic year. One mother in particular, though, won national attention this week after she posted a picture of herself lounging by the pool and celebrating the return of her children to their Alamaba grade school.
Jena Willingham is a mother of three children — 11-year-old Wrangler, 7-year-old Emmy, and 4-year-old Sykes — who headed back to school Monday. She celebrated the occasion with a photo that depicted the Beulah, Alabama mom on a pool floaty clad in Ray-Bans and holding a champagne glass up in a toast. Her children, wearing their school backpacks, could be seen looking on from behind her. According to BuzzFeed News, the photo was staged Sunday and taken by her husband.
“Happy First Day of School everyone!” the caption read. The August 7 post had amassed more than 7,000 “likes” and 17,000 shares by Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s the first time in 11 years I haven’t had a kid at home,” Willingham told BuzzFeed News in an interview. “I was excited to get a break because they’re a lot of work.”
Willingham, a mail carrier, went on to tell BuzzFeed that she was anticipating some alone time after her children returned to school and reportedly even counted down the days.
“They have been fighting over everything all summer…over who’s going to use the charger, who’s going to sit in the front seat,” she said. “So I said, ‘I’m so tired of listening to y’all argue, I’m just going to sit in the pool on the first day of school and let my brain hear the silence.’”
The post received widespread support from Facebook commenters who applauded the Alabama mom of three for her apparent sense of humor.
“I saw this on the news and fell out laughing,” wrote user Evelyn Boyd.
“Too funny!” wrote Wendy Brandon. “I love that you can joke about it and give us all a good laugh! Best back to school pic yet!”
“You are going to break the internet with this photo!” Jessica Yeager said. “Don’t forget me when you are famous.”
Speaking with Scary Mommy, Willingham said, “I have just spent the last eleven years constantly with one of them if I wasn’t at work.”
She continued, “If I get a babysitter, it’s for me to work. I rarely ever do…