Much to the chagrin of our heroine…
Well, it’s finally happened, I’ve run out of ways to procrastinate… and returned to school. I had the normal butterflies the day before, the panicked, “Oh crap, am I good enough to do this?” thoughts raced frantically through my head. I’m 30-something years old, I have two kids, three dogs, a full time job… and now I have two classes too!?
Okay fine, if we’re going to be honest, it was really more like the, “Oh crap, now more than ever, I have to practice what I preach!” thoughts that haunted me.
For the record, practicing what you preach is sometimes harder than it looks!
Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to do homework after working a full day and making dinner, and helping with other people’s homework? It takes a lot! (That’s my story, and I’m completely sticking to it!). Time management is a skill I never really thought was one I had to re-learn, but… uh… yeah, I do. Somehow for years I have managed to balance the kids’ bowling league with field trips with science projects with early morning meetings at the office… but suddenly, adding one more item to the list has had me turning in my own homework with literally minutes to spare.
Just to make the school experience that much more realistic, I’ve also been put on restriction about seven times for watching TV while doing homework. I’ve been accused of doing chores to get out of homework (literally the only time the boys have actually fought me to empty the dishwasher). Most disturbing of all was a few nights back when I was greeted at the front door by my two kids, arms crossed, and the phrase, “Mom, we need to talk about your homework habits…” followed by a swift rundown and almost word-for-word recital of every homework lecture I’ve ever given in my parental career.
So, the good news is that they’ve been listening.
The bad news is that they’ve been listening.
Not only have they been listening, but they’re not afraid to prove it. So far, according to the boys, my homework issues have been caused from: too many distractions (“Can you really do homework with the TV on like that?”), not enough vegetables on my plate at dinner (“Brain food, Mom, you need brain food”), distractions galore (“Mom, if you posted less on Facebook, you could get your homework done faster”), and the aforementioned time-management issues (“Now Mom, if you had done your homework earlier, instead of waiting until the last minute, would you be this stressed out?”). For the record, none of these items seem to stop them from asking for rides to friend’s houses or trips across town to visit family.
In the end, though, my little boys have been great men these first few weeks of school. Nick has stepped up, made dinner a few nights a week, and even stolen and hidden the batteries in the remote control to keep me from watching TV (Please note: I did not whine about the world coming to an end like they did when I tried the same stunt…). Justin has picked up the house, fed the animals, and even done laundry without being asked or reminded. Of course, they’ve managed to find time to do their own homework and lecture me about mine.
So my Single Mom Slice of Life lessons these past few weeks have included the welcome acknowledgement that even though their eyes sometimes glaze over, the lectures (or spirited discussions as I like to think of them) are seeping through; the ability to help others is alive and well (even though I will LITERALLY throw the next piece of broccoli that hits my plate when I’m not looking!), and that a support system can come in all shapes and sizes (even in the form of a six-foot tall 16-year-old, and a five-foot tall 12-year-old prepared to check my laptop’s internet search history).
Sigh… of course it’s easy for them to be all high and mighty considering they have about 2 weeks left of school while I’m just getting started. Let’s just hope that they’ll remember this when they start school again in August as I’m finishing up. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll appreciate it quite as much… but I will!
What about you.. can you recall an instance when the words you used on your kids came back to haunt you? What were they and did you regret saying them?
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Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent for 10 years, with two boys ages 11 and 16. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family seven years ago to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and is preparing to go back to college before the end of the year. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler