Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Downside of Single Parenting

We've spent weeks, nay months, fighting in the same circle.  It has been an ongoing, consistent battle that has taken place nearly every weekend and sometimes even during the week.

I thought it was LM's homework load, something he's unaccustomed to having.  It's all from his gifted class, the one that meets once a week.  I attributed it to poor planning, lack of focus, no organization.

We fought the battles one by one.  I gave suggestions, I demonstrated.  I helped, I pushed, I even lectured and yelled.  And nothing changed.

Many nights and all these weekends I would wait.  Wait for LM to finish his homework.  Wait for LM to tackle another essay, edit a journal entry, define his vocabulary.  And every weekend I was frustrated. 

Last weekend I quit waiting.  My frustration had reached an all-time high and I was completely out of lectures in my Mom File.  I left the house.  I went out for a few hours in the afternoon and entertained myself, leaving him on his own to finish his work.  I thought maybe if he realized he was missing out and that I wasn't going to wait on him it would matter.

But it doesn't.

This weekend I came to realize the true root of our disagreements.  This week, LM got nearly all of his homework done by late Friday night.  It wasn't even until mid-morning today that I realized how close he was to being completely done.  And so we sat and talked about what we could do.  I was excited, I was eager, I was ready to go do something!!!

We talked about ice skating, bowling, a movie!  Any shopping he had left to do? How about the bookstore?  Maybe we could just play some games?  Monopoly?  Yahtzee?  Poker?  

He nodded and thought and hummed and pondered and I finally said, "You decide!!  I'm going to go take a shower!"

And when I came back, he still had no idea.  So I changed my clothes and dried my hair.  And still, he just wasn't so sure.  And when I had vacuumed the house, finished the dishes and cleaned a cupboard full of ants, I found him in his room reading.  And I asked, "LM?  Isn't there anything you really want to do today now that we finally have some time together?"  And it was his reply that turned the lightbulb on.  "Actually, Mom, I'd really just like to read my book."

And I realized that's been it all along.  He hasn't cracked down and focused hard on getting his work done because he isn't dying to do something else.  He's not wishing for time to play games or go out.  He's not missing out on anything when I go.  The truth of the matter is, he's really quite content just staying put and reading.

The trouble is, his mother isn't.

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