Mom celebrates back-to-school day in style — at her kids’ expense

When Jena Willingham’s kids headed back to school earlier this week, the Alabama mother was overcome with emotion.

The feeling? Freedom.

“I was like, I’m going to celebrate, because they’ve been arguing all summer and I need a break,” Willingham told CTV News Channel on Thursday.

To capture the moment, Willingham snapped a photo of her lounging in a swimming pool, a champagne flute of orange juice in hand, as her children sulked behind her with backpacks on.

The photo was posted to Facebook on Monday with the caption “Happy first day of school everyone!” It has since been shared more than 19,000 times.

The picture was meant as a joke. But the first day of school marked a major milestone for the Willingham, who works as a mail carrier.

“With my four-year-old starting school this year, this’ll be the first time in 11 year that I haven’t had a child at home on my off days,” she said.

Some of that newfound free time will be spent lounging poolside. Other days, she’ll soak up some well-deserved solitude.

“I’ll probably go to the bathroom alone and go grocery shopping alone and do stuff that I normally have to do with them,” she said.

The post’s big splash online quickly spawned interviews with People, US Weekly and the Today show.

Willingham said all the attention has been “crazy,” but that her kids are taking it in stride, more or less.

“My eleven-year-old thinks he’s famous. He’s like, will you please come eat lunch with me before everybody forgets who you are?” she said.

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