Why Do I (as a parent) Have Homework?

“If John Lennon was right that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans, parenting is what happens when everything is flipped over and spilling everywhere and you can’t find a towel or a sponge or your “inside” voice.”

Kelly Currigan author of Lift

You have just gotten home from an exceedingly exhausting day of work after picking up the kids, and now you are doing your best to tackle dinner before you run the kids to music lessons or practice, or whatever new activity they MUST do tonight. That’s when IT happens…….

Your child pulls out homework. It’s a science kit that the entire family should work on together, or an art project that you need to find all of the supplies for, or you have been assigned parent/child reading time. You can’t help yourself- you think “I already graduated- why do I need to do homework?” In my case, I was working on my Master’s degree while my kids were still in school as many educators do. Inside my head, I would scream at the top of my lungs, “I don’t have time to do your homework project!” On the outside, I would plaster a fake smile on my face and do my best to talk my husband into working on the science kit.

He often did help with the science kits. I always tackled the spelling words and sentences. He would also take responsibility for math help for the kids. We survived IT by dividing and conquering the tasks that seemed overwhelming and far too much to ask of parents who are doing their best to get through the tasks of parenting. At the time, we struggled, but we did the science kits, the art projects, and the family interviews or family trees that came home with them in seemingly endless supply.

Our boys are 26 and 22 now. Our parenting duties are greatly changed and severely diminished. I often tell people I am a semi-retired parent as my boys are in the stage of life where they want to figure things out on their own. You know what is surprising? I actually miss the chaos of life at night when we were working so hard to do all that we expected of ourselves to be the best parents we knew how to be. Not too long ago, my older son stopped by to visit. Over dinner, (HEY! He did visit after all!) He talked about his memories of his dad and me working on the crazy dioramas, science projects, and, of course, the last minute run to the store for supplies at 8:00 because they were needed for the next day at school. He said, “Thank you. I know I would not be where I am today if you hadn’t done all of those things for me.”

Yep! It was worth it. The next time you are screaming inside your head about the fact that you are too darn old for homework, remember that this too shall pass. Do your very best. One day, you will also see it was worth all of the effort.

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