Is Motherhood All About "I'll Never...?"
Parenting must be about breaking almost all of my "I'll never" statements. I've broken all the the following: My kids will never have all-plastic toys. I'll never let my kids watch TV. I'll never use TV as a babysitter. I'll never cut the crust off my kids' sandwich bread. I'll never let my kids play inside on a sunny day.
All those "I nevers" seem pretty benign compared to a line I accidentally crossed last night:
At bedtime, my second grade daughter became mentally paralyzed with stress, admitting that when I was gone at my class earlier in the evening, she had not done her homework. All she had to do was read part of a book and write about it, but she claimed she didn't like any books we had at the house, that she had read one but didn't understand it, that she was actually hungry, and that she was too tired to do it. One excuse after another, accompanied by a grating moan and full body writhing.
Earlier in the evening, I'd stepped out to take a class and had told both my husband and the sitter to make sure my daughter wrote her two pages. It didn't happen. I'll leave my reaction out of this post, but suffice it to say that I was surprised that the small responsibility of having a child do her homework was now a big, ugly time-consuming disciplinary one. I was now stuck with it and all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep.
A half hour went by with me and my daughter going back and forth: I suggested ways to start, helped her see the interesting parts of the book, and just plain cajoled her to start or go to school without the assignment. We were nowhere and it was way past her bedtime.
Then, once again, I found myself doing something I said I'd "never" do as a mom. I would never do my kids' homework. So, I read a book to her about elephants doing yoga and then I wrote out two pages for her to copy onto her school paper! I was so relieved she'd stopped complaining and moaning, and so relieved that I could finally go to bed soon, that I was actually pleased with myself. I mean, she was finally quiet and there she was doing her assignment, or at least it would look like she'd done it. I knew I'd be in bed within 20 minutes. All the near-term goals were accomplished.Continued on the next page