Thursday, April 24, 2014

Epic Homework Battle of 2014 (Round 375)

"Well, say good-bye to your birthday party!," I yelled to my almost 8-year-old son.  "That's right mister, no party!"

I yelled that because I am a horrible mother.  I yelled that because he was officially, how does the old saying go... he was on my last nerve.  
The homework stare-down.

My older children do their homework without much intervention or reminding on my part.  But JT, my almost 8-year-old son?  He is so much me it's crazy.  I mean we both kind of agree, without saying it, that home is not really a place for work.  We both have trouble concentrating and would rather be dancing or playing or doing anything but work.

But it is my job as a responsible, caring mother to make sure he does his homework.  Right?  I need to make sure he doesn't fall behind.   I need to teach him about responsibility and doing all the have-tos in life. 

It started out fairly peacefully.  "Honey, finish up your homework and then go outside and enjoy the sunshine," I told him as I gave him his after school snack.  I smiled like an idiot thinking it would go smoothly.

JT wasn't interested.  

I bribed him with leftover Easter candy.   I bargained, "do half the problems now and half after dinner."  I begged.  I counted, "1, 2...if I get to 3 mister and you haven't started your homework, well, well, I'll...."

Ultimately, I threatened.  I threatened to take away his birthday party.  A party we haven't even planned yet.  He stared at me, his beady little eyes saying "you wouldn't dare cancel a party for someone as cute as me."  But his cuteness had no effect on me.  It was hour two of the epic homework battle of 2014 and I'd had enough, he was on my last nerve.  I stared right back and that's when I said "If you don't start your homework right now, I will cancel your birthday party for sure."  Not swayed, that stubborn kid put his pencil down and crossed his arms.  

And well, you know what happened next--me yelling and canceling, JT crying and going to his room.

I stayed in the kitchen making dinner, muttering to myself and feeling like the most horrible mother ever.  A few minutes later, Lucy came in and said "I just talked to him, I think he needed to cry.  I helped him start his homework."

Needing a good cry? Um, I told you he was so me.  I understand the whole not focusing and not wanting to do math and needing to cry.  I get it!!!!!!

I also get the whole idea of doing something when you are ready.  I get the idea of fighting against something.  I get the idea of pushing buttons and testing people.  I get the idea of wanting to know that there are people that will love you know matter what kind of meltdown you have.  I get the idea of loving that there are people (like amazing big sister people) that reach out when you need them.  I get it.

Before bedtime I laid down next to JT and we talked about homework, change, what scares us, what reading comprehension means, what the best kind of Easter candy in the world is, how we need to get mad sometimes and cry sometimes and do work at home sometimes. 

"Do I get a birthday party?," he asked.

"Yeah, okay," I said because I am a horrible mother who is the queen of empty threats.

Are there any winners of the epic homework battle of 2014?  Oh, I don't know.  It's just another night around here, I can't really over analyze it.  Besides, I have a party to plan.


  1. Yep. We all need a good cry sometimes. So sweet that his big sis helped encourage him.

  2. All so very familiar. Surely we've all done it. I have, and then have said, "Look, yes I'm the mom and yes I'm right, like... 99% of the time. But sometimes I'm wrong. I'm not perfect. And I'm sorry." And sometimes I just knock the homework out for them. Truth.
    Plan that party, momma!


  3. I hate homework too. They do so much stuff at school all day. Shouldn't home be the place to decompress. I don't bring my work home with me.

  4. Joanna VanRaaphorstApril 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Brought back many repressed memories!

  5. Yup. Been there. I think kids remember most that we get them, that we really understand, much more than we caved yet again.

  6. Ugh with the homework. NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO with the math homework. I think it's so normal for us to feel like we're doing the wrong thing. But as long as we're doing the best we can (or the best we can think of in that moment), we're fine. Our kids are fine. I totally want to write THIS IS STUPID across my kids' math homework sheets.

  7. Lucy is such a good sister. And you're not a horrible mother.
    I am not there yet with homework stuff, but oh boy, I do not look forward to it.