Posts Tagged ‘homework’

Parenting is Like Your Senior Year in High School

Do you remember suffering from senioritis as a student: those final weeks when you couldn’t wait for high school/college/grad school to end so you could get on with the rest of your life?

I think I’m suffering from the parenting equivalent.

I know that unlike high school/college/grad school, the parenting gig doesn’t end (as my cousin once said to me “once you have kids you always have kids”) but the apathy that I have been feeling towards my parental duties is highly reminiscent of those days when I could not bring myself to finish another study guide or research paper.

Sure, eventually I would slog through the notes and the reviews and the essays in school, but I remember doing so with no enthusiasm and wondering when the drudgery would end.

Kinda how I feel about parenting right now.

I swear if I have to pack another lunch/drive another carpool/sign another form, I’ll lose my mind.

Which is why I have not been able to write a single blog about how I’ve sucked as a parent, because everything I’ve done kinda sucks.

The other day my 13-year-old’s dinner consisted of a Frappuccino from Starbucks, some Oreos and a large bag of Sun Chips (at least it was the veggie kind). He may have had a cheese stick, too, but I don’t remember…I was too busy reading People magazine.

I couldn’t even bring myself to yell at my 17-year-old for slacking off on his finals! He and his girlfriend were “studying” for physics and I heard a great deal of laughing. Laughing! Physics is not something to laugh about – unless you are on a roller coaster – and yet they were giggling and I knew that nothing was getting done. I could not muster up one “Have you learned anything yet??!!” because I was catching up on episodes of Lost.

The good news is, in school, if you succumb to the effects of senioritis there could be real consequences. A recent New York Times post listed the potential pitfalls of slacking off as a senior in high school: losing your spot, having to explain yourself to the administration or worse, losing a scholarship.

Thankfully, for me, the consequences of my slacking off are far less dire. First, my children are old enough so they really can fend for themselves. Eventually even my carb-loving youngest child would scramble an egg or eat some yogurt. Heck, he might even be motivated enough to get his brother to take him out to eat! And my oldest would eventually suck it up and do his homework, probably even more so because I’m not nagging him.

I also have a husband who helps pick up my slack, as long as it has nothing to do with talking to our kids about sex or telling our 17-year-old that he can’t have his girlfriend in his bedroom – at which point he will run away and is no help at all.

I assume this monotony will eventually end and be replaced with exciting parenting duties like driving to-and-from camp and planning college visits. Until then I will stock the fridge with heat-and-serve dinners and take the lock off my older son’s door. And, finish watching Lost. I only have four more seasons to go…

Give it 20 Minutes

Give it 20 Minutes

I have just returned from a two-week vacation and I feel like a new person. So much so, that I can’t think of a single inferior mother moment – or maybe it’s the jet lag since I can’t remember much about anything or maybe, just maybe, I’m becoming a better parent.

To be safe I asked my kids what they thought was a recent bad mom moment. My 11-year-old was quick to list all of my past mistakes but I told him that those didn’t count. When I made him narrow it down to the last few weeks he had nothing. Nothing!

I thought that my oldest would have at least a handful of incidences but he too was a stumped…

For a beat.

“Well, it’s not really a fair question,” he said. “We’ve been on vacation with Grandma and Yiayia (Grandmother in Greek) and you’re never really mean in front of them.” He paused. “Give it 20 minutes,” he added. And both of my boys laughed.

Now, normally that kind of sass would make me mad – just because. But not today. No, today I laughed too. It must be the new not Inferior me.

As I went about making dinner I politely asked my 15-year-old to please start his summer reading (“It’s only 300 pages, Mom, and I have 6 days!”)

From behind me I heard my youngest mutter, “I give it 10 minutes.”

Yes, normally, I would be demanding that he start reading THIS INSTANT and if he didn’t start right away I would begin listing all of the things that I would eventually take away from him (but never do) and he would dig in his heels and refuse and I would stomp off angry and he would read but get nothing out of it.

Not today! Today, he read 30 pages, which he annotated, and he even brought up the motif that is emerging in the book. I could be on to something – not yelling seems to work!

About 10 minutes later my husband walked up behind me as I was sending an email and started to comment on what I was writing. For the record – I hate, hate, hate that. I hate having someone looking over my shoulder while I’m writing, reading, breathing. Clearly it’s a holdover from my childhood and I should probably see someone about it, but today after my initial, “Do you mind?” And, “You know how much I hate that,” as I felt myself gearing up to spew the laundry list of times that I have asked him not to do that I stopped.  I just didn’t have it in me. I simply turned away.

In the midst of this I hear my oldest son in the other room say to his little brother: “Here it comes.”

So now they’re gunning for me. They are convinced, even with all evidence to the contrary, that I am not a new person. In case you are wondering, I wasn’t at an ashram, I wasn’t hanging with the Dalai Lama or cultivating inner peace, I was just on a long overseas vacation with my family, my mother-in-law and my mom (just writing that sentence is making me wonder why I’m not more crazed but something about it worked).

Hours pass and still no eruption, but now it’s bedtime—a true test of my strength. Bedtime has been a little unpredictable as of late. Between summer activities, summer camp and vacation there has been very little structure in our home but with school right around the corner I think that sleep before 11:00 pm is in order.

And so the whining begins. First my youngest starts with the “I’m not tired” excuse, then it’s the “I haven’t had my dessert yet,” line, followed by the always popular “Actually, I don’t want dessert I’m just really hungry.” And on it goes for a good five minutes.

“GET TO BED!” I finally scream. “NOW!” And that was followed by a long, drawn out mommy rant about he never listens and if he doesn’t get to sleep then I can’t get to sleep, and school is coming and his sleep has been so disrupted and on and on and on.

When I finally come up for air and look up at my family they’re smiling. “I told you I could make her crack,” my youngest proclaims as he bounds up the stairs. I almost expect them to exchange money – as if the three of them were taking bets about how long it would take for me to lose it.

But I showed them. “Give it 20 minutes?” Ha! It took hours.

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