Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hand me my slippers and housecoat. I'm going for a walk.

Most days, in my happy, independent adult world, I feel pretty smart.  Pretty on top of my game.

I can multi-task with the best of them.  I can run a household and a successful photography business.  I pay bills, handle finances, and perform minor home repairs.  I also hold down a leadership position in my church, and do a pretty dang good job of it all, thankyouverymuch.

All while catching movies, lunching with friends, keeping my house clean, and reading a good book.

Sure, sometimes we eat at the McDonalds.  And maybe the laundry sits unfolded for a day here and there.

Nobody's perfect.

But I like to think that I do a pretty good job of it all.

Until that horrible moment comes along which knocks me off my high horse with brutal humility.

Last night was one of those moments.

I was helping a child with homework, and quite honestly had no clue what to do.

I would like to say that this child was my freshman son, who is incredibly smart.

Or even my seventh grader, who is taking all challenge classes and doing so well.

But no.

It was the homework of the girl child in the fifth grade.

The four-lettered M-A-T-H homework.

I was completely dumbstruck (literally) and could not figure out how to help her.  Feeling helpless, I grabbed the laptop, ran to the bathroom, pretended to be otherwise engaged, and searched frantically for a Khan Academy video that would restore my credibility and put order once again in the universe.

Tragically, the little girl stood impatiently outside of the bathroom door and figured out pretty quickly that her mama ain't so good with the smarts.

(Lucky for me, Chase took charge of the situation and taught us both what to do.  Though, I won't lie.  I've already forgotten it and will probably be unable to help her tonight.)

It's unnerving.  For both them and for me.  The look of disillusionment in a child's eye is one that goes straight through the heart like a knife.  When they realize they're smarter than you, it's all over.  You might as well hand them the proverbial keys to your life, because they will forever more question your good judgement.  They will second guess you on the way to the grocery store with, "Are you sure this is the right way, Mom?"

You know, the store you've been driving to all your life.  Or at least the last six years.

Or they get frustrated and say, "Hand me the directions.  I'll do it." as they hastily (and correctly) begin assembling their own bike.  You suddenly become a slow-witted, delicate, old lady in their eyes who is ready for the Home.   They cannot imagine you as a functioning member of society and fully expect to find you wandering the neighborhood in your slippers and housecoat.  

And you're not even forty yet!

Am I the only one here?  Tell me you are all a bunch of dummies, too.

Or just lie.

Either way.  Pleez mayk mee feel beter about mye dum selph?!".


Unknown said...

As a young adult, I know that I have hit those moments many times before however, there are still plenty of times where my mom's sage advice reaffirms to me that she does know what she is talking about (which happens quite a bit these days as I trudge through adult life.)

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I know that despite all the college education I'm receiving, nothing compares to the things that others can teach us. It may not be math, science, or how to write a paper properly but certainly there are many things I can teach to others and that others can teach me.

Thelma said...

It's not just you! The worst is when one of my kids pats me gently on the shoulder and tells me it's going to be OK. As in, "Don't hurt yourself, Mom."

They doubt my every move and have for years. The downside of homeschooling? I've spent a lot of time with them and the secret's out. I'm an idiot.

Amanda D said...

So last year I had this exact moment. But. It was my 1st grader that I was helping with math. (They teach so strangely now!) A few minutes after said moment, my then 3rd grader asked me for help with her math and the 1st grader said: If she can't help me with mine, there's no way she can help you with yours.


I'm with you on your walk, Christie. :)

Stefani said...

Oh yes! It happens to the best of us. It really does shatter the self-esteem, but I've learned to still feel good about myself despite what my kids think or say about me ;)

Lauren in GA said...

My kids think I am a blithering idiot...

...and when the math homework comes out~ I am inclined to agree.

...but, I told my 15 year old the other day that I helped CREATE his *so much smarter than mine brain* (because he was telling me how much smarter he is than I am) And then I snorted and said, "You are welcome."

You are hilarious by the way...I could just envision my little Stie wandering around the neighborhood in her housecoat.

Rochelleht said...

Hmmm... That's interesting. So, you've been trying to make your kids believe you're smart all along? See, there's no bubble to burst around here, as I have never been able to fake them out for even a second. They know I'm a blithering idiot. Hard to hide it, when it's so glaring.

joyce said...

I still struggle with those dang story problems with both my 4th and 5th grade boys' math. It kills me! I have to read it very slllooooowwwllllyyyy several times. While my child just stares at me and blinks. And there's the geometry. Kill me now! I do NOT know what a quadrilateral is. Or the difference between a trapezoid and an isosceles trapezoid. Rhombus vs. square. Hate it!

Juli said...

I will help her with her math homework, if you help my fifth grader with his writing.

Seriously, I'm losing my mind over here...

Annemarie said...

Oh, I'm an idiot and they all know it. They are so used to me saying "Dad will be home soon...he can help you." Now my 1st grader has Chinese homework...not so helpful there, either. It's great for the self esteem.

Kimmy said...

I love your blog so much, your posts make my day :) I'm sixteen and have only just dropped maths and I've already forgotten 96% of what I've learnt. What's worse is both my younger brother (13) and younger sister (8) are better at maths than I ever was or will be.
Kimmy x

calibosmom said...

I'm a total moron and somehow they still love me. It's all OK!

Tracy said...

It's not your fault! I think they teach math differently now than they used to! I've resorted to paying my high schooler to help my middle schooler. It's cheaper than a tutor (or the counseling we'll both need if I help her). Plus, once your kids reach about 3rd grade "mommy brain" sets in and you forget 95% of everything you learned in school.

Paige said...

This is awesome! But I had no idea we were supposed to convince our kids we are smart. I find the MORE helpless I am, the more they step up and take over- win/win. We are teaching them to take care of us which is why we had them.

I just had no idea I'd have to do all the grades again, with each kid. I already went to fifth grade and learned and forgot the states and capitals! Now I know them again. But I'm sure I'll forget and be useless when the last kid arrives in fifth grade. Good for you for even trying! You win the mom prize.

Your housecoat and slippers are going to be adorable. If only I could embrace that look now. Friggin' skinny jeans.

Lala said...

I know what you mean. But I've got this great math teacher husband who writes notes on the homework to the teacher explaining how the questions are poorly worded and how it would be easier for the students (& parents) to understand if they changed this... Yes he does. But I'm the one they see at pick-up/drop-off!!! I HATE HOMEWORK!!! And I taught for 8 years. It's crazy.

brooke said...

I am right there with ya sista! One of my big requirements in men I date is that they have to be good at math. I need to marry a man who can take on the math homework and leave me with my good tv. Fractions have put me over the top..and Luke is in fourth grade!

danandcindy said...

You should watch more Glenn Beck, and less dancing with the stars if you don't want the brain to turn to mush.

Dalene said...

Yesterday Zoey explained to me the process of making apple cider. When she asked if I had done it before, I lied through my teeth. She's already smarter than I am. Sigh

jessica said...

I love Rochelle!!! Seventh grade math is killing took Aric 20 minutes to explain adding and subtracting negative numbers. You are not alone sista.

Jennifer said...

Oh I remember the begin of my downfall!!! It actually gets a little better because you eventually will get to MY age and then you forget stuff and so you have no memory of your mental demise!! This is why you should just go to lunch and the movies with the girlfriends because WE are the ones who will never judge each other as we pass each other the polident and dentures after lunch.