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“Oh baby, you know I may be a fool, I’m wastin’ my time by goin’ to school, The way you got me holdin’ your door, I can’t do my homework anymore…”

It’s almost February, and the days are long. And the hours from 3:00-7:00 are even longer. I’ve hit that time of year when I can’t get warm no matter what I wear and Wes is not happy about me setting the thermostat to 75. I’m tired of making soups and chili. Give me flip-flops or give me death.

There is something that I feel I need to confess. A friend was being very sweet and said this to me- “I don’t know how you keep up with three kids!”  We were talking about school projects and paperwork, and I laughed really hard and ruined her image of me.

I don’t.

I mean, I try. I have a system, y’all! Several systems. Multiple systems for when my systems don’t work. And a few back up systems. But I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t find a paper this morning that I was supposed to have signed. In November.  But even keeping up with forms is not as hard as this other thorn in my side.  Homework.

It’s called homework because it makes your house feel like those old factories from the 1920s where you ate a crust of bread for lunch and lost fingers in machines and wore pinafores. I don’t really know what a pinafore is, but it sounds dreadful. It wasn’t supposed to be this way…

The mom in my head is one who greets her children at the door with a smile and hug. They have a snack waiting on the table for them, something with protein and carbs to bless their little bodies with energy and strength. Then all three sit at the table while she rotates, helping each one achieve academic greatness with their homework. When it’s done, she kisses them on their cherubic heads and papers are neatly filed into folders, placed back into backpacks and backpacks are gently placed into their own special cubby, ready to be used on the morrow. The children, their minds sharp from learning and their bodies nourished from the snack she lovingly prepared, go outside to ride their bikes and spread cheer to the neighbors.

But I have to, HAVE TO, be honest with you. I have my strengths as a mother and wife, but this is typically how after school goes…

Kids fly in through the door and I am in the kitchen, trying to get prep work done on dinner…



Josiah- “-Some sentences about who did what wrong on the way home-”

Me- “Guys, hold- hold on. Guys. I can’t. Guys. Guys. GUYS.” (while dodging the flurry of papers that they are throwing at me)

Malachi- “Can I have a snack?”

Me- “yep. In a minute”

Selah- “Did you write me any letters today?”

Me- “Nope. Do you all have homework?”

Chorus of yes and various complaints of the overwhelming responsibility of being in school…

Me- “okay, well…Josiah, why don’t you go up to your room and Malachi, you sit here near me and Selah…Selah…SELAH. WHERE ARE YOU?”

Selah emerges from the playroom wearing a wedding dress and clown wig.

Me- “Selah. It’s not dress up time yet. You have to do homework first. You sit on that side of the table.”

Selah- “but that’s not my side.”

Malachi- “it doesn’t matter Selah. Don’t make a foolish argument”


Josiah- “it doesn’t matter. You didn’t even buy this table. You don’t have a side.”


Me- “guys. It doesn’t matter. Selah, just sit and get your homework out. Boys, you too.”

I hate homework. I hate it like a fat kid hates gluten-free cake. Hate it more than Uggs with shorts. I hate it more than Rainbow Doom Loom, which is saying a lot. I mean, I could just try to blame my kids and say that they are too rowdy, but the truth is, I am just terrible at helping them. I have no patience. I want it to be oooooooover. And Lord help us if the directions aren’t clear. It takes me approximately 4 seconds of staring at something I don’t understand to say “Uh…I think you are supposed to uh…write some numbers or stuff”

Sitting with the kids at the table while they get out their homework…

Child –  “I don’t know what to do”

Me- “it says write a sentence with the word “have” in it.”

Child- “What do you mean?”

Me(Oh Lord…what do you mean, what do I mean?? A sentence. With have.)– “A sentence. What is something you could talk about, using the word have?”

Child- “What does “have” mean?”

Me- (Oh. My. Word.  I HAVE a pencil that I will perhaps shove in my eye.)– “Have is…like…you are in possession…I mean…it belongs to you”

Child- “what belongs to me?”

Me- (shoot me. Just write a sentence. ANY SENTENCE WILL DO.) “Nothing. Just use it in a sentence”

Child very sloooooooooowly writes the word H-A-V-E

Me-(I. can. not.)– “honey (gritting teeth), that’s not a sentence. Okay, let me give you a hint. I blank a favorite book.”

Child- “Why are you putting your book in a blanket?”

Me- (I am going to actually perish right now) “No, not blanket. I (hum) a favorite book. Fill in with the woooooooord?” (Come on. You can do this. Say have)

Child- “pizza”

Child 2- “Can you help? Jennifer has eight flowers and John gives her four flowers and she gives three flowers to Chris, how many flowers does Jennifer have?”

Me- (please. ask me anything but a word problem. Ask me how babies are made. Ask me about periods. Please don’t ask me about Jennifer and her ever-loving flowers) “Well, how many does she start off with?”

Child 2- “Are they boyfriend and girlfriend?”

Me- “that’s not important to the problem”

Child 2- “but why is he giving her flowers?”

Me- (deep breaths, Brandy. Be thankful for curiosity)– “I don’t know honey. Maybe it was her birthday”

Child 2- “Why is she giving away the flowers? That’s not nice.”

Me- (I don’t know. Jennifer sounds sketch)– “Sweetie, it’s not real. We just need to figure out the problem”

Child 2- “What kind of flowers are they?”

Me- (I hate Jennifer and her whole family and everything she stands for.)

And I am just going to be honest and tell you that the other child doesn’t like help with his homework and that does not make me sad. So there you go- this is my confession. I’m so sorry, teachers. I am that parent that you wonder if they ever look at the folder. I do look at the folder. Most of the time.

Maria Homework

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3 responses »

  1. This made me belly laugh. I love all 3 of your kids, I love Wes and I love you.


  2. This is awesome! I have 3 too, but one is 18 months so my afternoons are a little different… First, forget any great dinner. I’m talking noodles with canned spaghetti sauce or grilled cheese. I have even let them have cereal for dinner. I’ll throw in couple carrots and an apple they can eat whole to keep it slightly healthier… Otherwise after school we get a snack and pull out homework. Baby hanging on legs crying for attention as I use goldfish to help with kindergarten addition. Count out 16 goldfish, turn to baby and shove a few in his mouth, turn back around to see 5 year old chewing half of her math goldfish. Count again, tell her not to eat them, pick up screaming and apparently still starving baby, who starts grabbing at the girls’ pencils and crayons and markers. When he’s finally willing to get off me and quietly entertaining himself I start to think, “OK can do this…” Only to find him coloring on the walls or his body. Sometimes I don’t even care, and I let him continue without acknowledging him, thankful he’s not screaming on my leg. It’s about this time 7 year old is having a complete meltdown over her math, crying, throwing her pencil and is unrecognizable to me as my sweet, happy child. Hubby calls to ask how I am, after I have clearly forbid him to call during the hours of 3:30 and 8pm unless he’s dying. “Text me when you’ll be home and if you are picking up dinner or otherwise planning on helping out. But no chit-chatting aloud.” And God help him if he walks in the door right after I put the last kid to bed… I’m not even a nice wife. Sigh… Glad to know I’m not the only one who might choose death over homework :). Sorry for the long rant. I may need to see someone, ha!!


  3. This made me laugh so much! I remember your opinion of math word problems in high school. I can see that has not mellowed over time.



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