The homework phase of parenting is one that I am 100% positive I will never never never never never never never NEVER
It’s the worst.
Before I was a parent, I was a teacher for twelve years, and all I have to say is
I’M SO SORRY.
You really have no idea what homework is like until you become a parent.
But there is another part of the equation.
The level of homework hell you enter is not only directly related to the homework assignments being given, but also to your child’s personality.
For the kids who could give a flying fuck about following the rules, homework isn’t really that big a deal.
But for the rule followers? The perfectionists?
As a former teacher I know what all teachers say.
I’ve said it myself and I’ve heard it at like more than 30 open houses for my own children.
Spend 20 minutes on an assignment and if you are stuck just stop and write me a note that you really tried for 20 minutes.
All teachers genuinely mean that.
Unfortunately this approach DOES NOT work on the rule-following perfectionist (RFP).
So today one of the kids had a word search for homework. She had started it at school during ELT which is like a study hall period, and she was already struggling.
As soon as she took her binder out of her backpack when she got home, she let me know she had a really hard word search.
I told her to work on it by herself for a little bit and see what she could do.
She got some help from her sister who found a couple words and then gave up.
About 20 minutes later she came downstairs with the (fucking) word search.
I spent fifteen minutes looking at those stupid letters and found four of the words.
I was so tired and my eyes were starting to cross.
You know when you look at something for so long you can’t see anything at all?
Which was when I said, “You’ve spent more than enough time on this. I’ll write a note to your teacher.”
This was not acceptable to my RFP.
Initiate homework meltdown.
I didn’t want to do or say anything I’d regret and I was starting to get really frustrated myself, so I went and hid in my office and went to my go-to distraction.
I shared a post on Facebook.
I didn’t really share it thinking anything other than I’m just gonna give a shout out to any fellow moms who might also be in homework hell right now.
And then something amazing happened.
It was something that truly never crossed my mind.
Like ten or twenty moms said, “take a screenshot and share it!”
So I did.
And in less than five minutes, the four remaining words were found.
Less than five minutes!
So this incredibly frustrating word search ended up being a good thing.
You know why?
Because it was a huge reminder of what women can do when they work together.
It was a huge reminder of the power a village has.
It might sound cliché or cheesy or corny or whatever, but IT’S TRUE.
If we women could stop comparing ourselves to other women and judging and gossiping and one-upping and outdoing each other, we could kick some serious ass.
I caught myself comparing immediately.
I swear to God I looked at that goddamn paper for so long, and multiple other women found those four stupid states and capitals in like one minute.
Then I caught myself.
Sometimes you are too close to a situation to see clearly.
And sometimes other people are just better than you at stuff.
Because everyone brings their own strengths to the table.
We tell our kids this so often, and so quickly we forget it ourselves.
We aren’t in competition.
We are in this together.
This parenting thing.
And this human being thing.
If we could always remember that, boy could we make some amazing things happen.
And it gave me an idea.
I want to have a daily homework forum on the NYAM Facebook page.
I mean, we all struggle with the homework at some point.
And some of the math stuff that Number 3 and 4 come home with takes me a little while to remember how to do now that they are in 8th and 9th grade. This isn’t just limited to elementary school students.
So I’m going to try out a homework thread every weekday afternoon. Have a homework problem that is driving you insane and causing massive meltdowns at home? You can share it. And we can all help each other.
For those of you curious about the word search and in need of a distraction?
Here you go:
We were totally stuck on Augusta, Delaware, Vermont, and New York. How long will it take you to find them?
(And yes, we knew there was a spelling error, but at least it was also misspelled in the word search).
Whether it’s a word search or a free challenge or whatever, on our own we can be pretty tough, but together we can collectively kick some serious ass.