Fights over homework are about as classic American as apple pie. When it needs to be done. How to do it. Whether or not a video game can be played first, or a TV show watched. These homework battles can be epic, but they're not mine to wage. They're my husband's. That's because my husband handles schoolwork for our first-grade son. When it comes to homework, it's all my husband.
We didn't plan that homework would be my husband's area. It just worked out that way. But my husband takes our son to school every morning while I take our daughter to daycare. He also usually picks our son up after work from after-school care, and I take our daughter home from daycare. It makes sense that he's more familiar with what schoolwork is due and when.
But more than just homework duties, I see my husband's involvement in the day-to-day routine as a side effect of the equality of our marriage.
I'm always a little taken aback when I read blogs written by women who have to beg their partners to do even a small amount of chores or child-rearing.
Both my husband and I work full time. My commute is about 15 minutes longer than my husband, each way. We live just a few hours from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Our lifestyle is fairly progressive, and I realize not everyone has the same reality.
It's a lot. And that's with just one kid for now.
Recently, my husband was out of town all week on a work trip. I took care of both kids myself. It happened to be a week when my son had a sinus infection he couldn't kick, and I had to hire a babysitter to attend an important work event after hours.
I'd run through spelling words, math practice and reading assignments with my son while his younger sister begged for a snack or to be picked up.
Even in the early elementary school grades, there is daily homework, a continuous flood of emails to parents, book orders and flyers to sort through. There are nightly books to read. It's a lot. And that's with just one kid for now.
I often read to my son at bedtime because I enjoy it and want to spend time with him. But it's nice to not be doing it just because I have to.
My husband and I also take turns overseeing bath or shower time for each kid, and he handles the cooking while I do the dishes.
The moral of the story is: We're a team. And if I do say so myself, a successful one. My son, who we once had to a have a special conference with the principal and teacher for in pre-K due to his temper tantrums, is now well-adjusted and reading well above grade level. He hurries to get his homework done so he can play math games on his cell phone.
Learning should be fun for our kids, and that's much more attainable when we're not worn so thin that our patience is shot.
So, I set aside the mommy guilt and desire to control every aspect of my kids' education, and welcome my husband taking an active role in his son's learning. My son is a smartie pants just like his daddy, and I'm happy he has such a positive role model in his father.