The other day I was talking to a long time friend. As usually happens the conversation bounced around quickly from politics to jobs to physical fights (I’ve never been in one) to relationships and finally landed on kids; And more specifically helping them with homework.
This friend has no kids so he was just in the conversation for entertainment purposes; Not to commiserate.
I confessed that sometimes when I’m helping the kids with their homework, I don’t actually know what I’m doing. I mean, it’s been a LONG time since I had to manually add fractions. Find the common denominator, change the original numerators, add them together and then simplify.
I told him that the worst part isn’t that I have to re-teach myself before I can help with the homework … The worst part is that the kids expect me to know the answers to everything so when I balk, they give me a look which is a combination of shock and disappointment and then it turns into amusement. Ace will tease me about being as old as I am and for not remembering what I’ve learned. “Mom, how long ago were you in the 4th grade? Was it like 100 years ago or something?”
I went on to say that as much as I’d like to say that I take it in stride, the truth is that I usually say something like … “Don’t give me that look. I had to remind you to brush your teeth this morning and you put your shirt on backwards, so, there.”
Real high level parenting happening around these parts.
He was dying laughing at my pettiness.
“The truth is”, I continued, “basically all parents are faking it. None of us know what we’re doing. We’re just trying our best to do as little harm as possible; But you don’t realize that about your own parents until you are one yourself.”
We had a good laugh.
Later, I was relaying that conversation with yet another friend. This one does have children. He agreed with me wholeheartedly and added his own flavour.
Apparently when he’s helping his child with homework, and then he gets stumped, he will suddenly “need to use the bathroom”. Then he will privately use Google or YouTube to help him figure out the question.
“That’s brilliant!” I said. “I’m gonna start doing that.”
“Yeah, it’s great except my son thinks I have chronic diarrhea.”
“Diarrhea or realizing you’re not as smart as they thought? I’ll take diarrhea.”