Homework hell

This will come as a surprise to many who know me (but not to those who know me REALLY WELL), but I’ve had to work really hard to gain back my self-esteem. Granted, it’s been a long time since I’ve become my former confident self, once again.

So it really burns me when something happens that takes me back to a place of doubting myself. How is it that a teacher who has known my child less than a month can bring me there, with one short phone call? I know it’s not her intention, but it’s truly where my head goes.

I don’t even want to get into the homework discussion right now, that’s a topic I am determined to write a poignant well-researched and targeted article about. But what’s burning me is that if homework is an issue for my 9 year old, it’s my fault. She doesn’t get it done because I don’t make it our priority. Sure, it’s her work, but how many 9 year olds will choose homework over biking? Homework over playing with the neighborhood kids? Homework over gymnastics club? Homework over Harry Potter? Homework over time with her mom? Homework over… well, anything?

If homework is going to get done, it will be because I, “the parent”, am disciplined enough to ask my child upon walking in the door (at whatever time of day that might be, but that’s another discussion for another day about today’s family obligations) “what’s for homework”? And it will get done because I, “the parent”, establish an expectation of her getting it done over doing anything else.

I’ll save my opinion of what takes priority in my house for another article. This one is about me, and my self-esteem. When my child feels bad about herself for not getting her homework done when the teacher does her rounds, it’s a reflection on me and what a poor mother I am.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not taking this to heart. I don’t hold myself up to some standard set by the teacher of the day (or year, in this case). But I resent the expectation that this is somehow my responsibility. So, if the only real purpose to these exercises are to form “good habits”, if my daughter is too young to form this habit completely independently, then is she really learning anything from it? Well, yes she is. She’s learning that her teacher and her mom are in cahoots and that if she wants to feel good about herself, her mom needs to make her sit down and do pointless repetitive exercises so that she can go to school and say “yes’M I got my homework done!”

Just whose self-esteem are we really talking about here?