If you’re the parent of a school-age child, you’ve undoubtedly sat at the kitchen table for at least an hour trying to tackle homework until either you and/or your child is in tears. It’s almost a right of passage. You threaten, you yell and you travel through the stages of grief; it’s shit for the birds all around. Let’s face it; nobody’s ever liked homework. You didn’t like it as a kid and you certainly don’t like it as a parent.
Every night it’s the same thing. We’re fortunate that homework is optional at our school, but having a kid who demonstrated difficulties with reading early on, we try to work on things at least a few days a week. Whether it’s reading, spelling words, or just her talking to me about what’s she learned and explaining processes to me … well, we try our best. But with that comes the begging. And crying. And bad fucking attitude – on her part and mine.
But I’ve figured out how to stop little Linda Blair’s head from spinning and spitting split pea soup every night. Yes, I am a fucking rock star and determined, after much deliberation, the magical fix to get my daughter to do her homework, read, and learn her spelling words enough to go from getting 20s to earning 100s.
I’m sure that you want to hear this one magical tip that will totally change your world, so listen up.
Are you ready?
I DON’T WORK WITH HER ANYMORE.
I learned the walk away.
In my house, I was always the parent that did the stuff with the kid. Even when I worked full-time, I went to dance practices and sat there for hours, I showed up to the school events, I took her to classes, I bought the supplies for projects and various arts and crafts, I sign the report cards and so naturally, I always did her homework with her.
My daughter and I are like – well, not quite oil and water. Those are two substances that just don’t mix. We’re more like ingredients in a really shitty green smoothie. Like – spinach and banana. Initially, we’re very different and don’t seem to belong in the same blender but in the end, we mesh just fine. Once you shake us up and blend us, we’ll both kill another motherfucker that comes at the other. So I was sure that we’d eventually be fine when it came to homework.
But week after week, I learned that this was not the case. There are some things that just are not meant to be.
It went on from Kindergarten until almost halfway through the second grade when we discovered that this was a job for my husband.
And it’s like night and friggin’ day.
She runs upstairs and they whiteboard spelling words like it’s nothing. There’s no crying and screaming. My husband feels like he’s contributing to the child-rearing, even though he doesn’t know what size she wears and where he could possibly locate her social security number. I don’t lose my shit (for the fifth time that day) and I don’t have to fuck with second grade homework. All three of us are happier.
My advice to you? Learn to walk away. And screw what you’ve heard! If something isn’t working for you as a mother, don’t try harder. Just quit; it’s good for the soul.