in which i am complaining (and need you)

filed under: I Am Mommy on September 29, 2014

So.  Turns out having kids in school is just as hard as homeschooling.


I have three kids in school right now, a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and 1st grader.  Tonight, like many nights, they each had homework.  By the time I was able to work with each child individually, 2 1/2 hours had passed.  (The kids are at an age that they need a parent or adult to do the work with them as most of it is reading together and checking work and memorization.)

As a result of that, dinner was late on the table.  The kids were late to bath, and then late to bed.  Baby was grumpy and in need of her own bedtime ritual, which was also sorely behind schedule.


And then, as if writing and reciting Bible verses and spelling words and reading about Ruff the dog wasn’t enough, now it is time to read with little Eddie before bed.

I am tuckered out.

Basically, my kids enjoy school (a lot) and don’t mind homework.  (I am absolutely fine with the amount of homework each child is given, and in no way find it excessive.  I would actually like to be able to devote more time to each child one-on-one, but cannot conceive of a way to do that.)  It’s me.  It’s all me.  I don’t know if I can handle that much homework at night and be expected to still do everything else the family needs!

Truthfully, the transition to the kids being in school has been harder than I imagined.  But not in the normal way, in a weird i-am-mommy-but-not-homeschooler-anymore-but-work-fulltime-but-stay-at-home-mom kind of way.

I just sort of assumed that I would be the mom who was helping out in class and ever present in the kids’ learning and social development.  It was a given that I would know who they are hanging with and who is influencing them and that they would be the brightest most well behaved kids in the class and that Audrey would have perfectly perfect styled hair every single day.


That I would have had the kids’ teachers over for dinner, or at the very least, met with them so that I know more about them.

The truth is, I have not helped out in class.  Not one time.  Granted, I have been at home with a 3 year old and 1 year old, but you’d think I would find a way to be there for all my kids.  I am just now, very slowly, starting to figure out who the people are who have such a huge influence in my kids life.

I am lucky if Audrey’s hair gets combed in the morning.

Audrey riding bike

Lets just call this look… “messy pony”.  We dominate the messy pony. (I also just discovered that one of my children has been wearing dirty underwear to school because I mentioned that it is ok to wear pants more than once between washings. They just assumed that also applied to underwear. AND socks. I am mortified. And laughing because I often laugh at inappropriate times.)

I have not talked one-on-one with either of my kids’ teachers (Parker and Audrey have the same teacher as 1st and 2nd grades are combined) nor figured out a date when they can come to dinner. It’s already looking like mid-November.

None of this is going as planned and I didn’t even know I had a plan. So I sit here exhausted and a bit defeated and a lot hopeful that someone can shed some light.

Tell me please, if you would be willing… how do you do it? How do you manage school work with the kids and still manage the home? (As well as the needs of the children not in school?) What kind of relationships do you have with teachers and what should I be doing differently? What does your after-school schedule look like?

And thank you in advance for any insight you can give this weary mom. 🙂

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  • Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says:

    I don’t have kids yet, so I can’t give you any advice, other than to say WOW I can’t even image how you get through the day, you’re one strong woman! Sending lots of prayers and well wishes your way!

  • Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says:

    Slow cooker. Homework as soon as they walk in the door (well, after a snack and a drink) and THEN they play while you get dinner ready. Ideally, they’d cycle through you with undivided attention, while the older ones cycle through playing with Eddie and Olivia so you can do it. It won’t go perfectly, but if they know they’re getting more one-on-one for homework, maybe it’ll go better. And give yourself a lot of grace. Don’t think YOU have to do it all. Let the older ones help you, they’re fully capable. And for the record, my parents never once had my teachers over for dinner, or I think even met with them beyond parent-teacher night. I graduated with a 4.75 GPA, and a love of reading and learning. I never took drugs, or got into trouble. They’ll be just fine.

    • Amanda says:

      Well, my dear, I think YOU may be exceptional. 😉 (in general, you know) Thanks sweety!

    • Kerry @ Kerry Cooks says:

      Great advice Amber!

  • Cara Parker says:

    We are both teachers and each have second jobs, plus we are Scout Leaders and about a million other volunteer positions. We teach all day, then come home to battle our kids with homework.

    You can’t do it all.

    I’ve tried.

    I think that the key is to have a set time where everyone is working on homework, chores, and other tasks. Even the little ones can be drawing, coloring, using playdoh, or building with legos close by. You can rotate and help, and if a child is waiting for your help, they can move on (to reading, to math facts practice, to laundry, to cleaning the bathroom) and come back when you are ready.

    This post may help. It’s written for households with older children, but you may be able to use some of the ideas.

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Cara! I will definitely have to read that! 🙂

  • amy says:

    Amanda, straight-up, the house is a pit. I stopped caring. It hasn’t gotten easier in middle school. I re-prioritized some stuff. Last night my middle school kid had a band audition, and homework after we got back. He was up ’til 10:30. I have also decided to be OK with dinner being REALLY late a lot. I’m a single parent who works for money outside the house. I couldn’t make dinner at 6 if I tried.

    Do not beat yourself up. Everyone is making their own carefully constructed house of cards work as best they can.

  • Laura says:

    I just wanted to chime in and say I feel your pain! I have six kiddos age 10 and under and it’s so busy. I also used to home school… and your post was uncanny because I can relate to every detail. It’s so hard to balance it all (I have 3 in school this year too and I’m homeschooling two more) My days center around carpooling and school, school, school. I agree with the person who mentioned slow cooker meals! I need to do more of those because it really helps to not be balancing dinner at the same time as 3 people’s homework at the same time as the little ones needing us. I’m not much help, just wanted to send you hugs!

    • Amanda says:

      Hugs back to you mama! 🙂

  • Tawnya Collard says:

    Hi. I have one in 1st and one in pre-K as well as a 2yo. I want to volunteer and be a classroom mom, but childcare is hard during the days and so I’ve accepted that I might not be the involved mom I’d like to be at the school. One day things will adjust and maybe I’ll be more involved in the ‘optional’ activities but for now, I try to make balanced meals together and quick homework completion my goals. Mine are still really young, though, so I’m not quite to your phase of having many more balls to juggle. Good luck! I really enjoy your blog!!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Tawnya!

  • Stephanie says:

    I have 4 in school from 10th grade down to 2nd. I can relate to many of the struggles that you wrote about in this post. I certainly don’t have it all figured out but I will say- don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledge the things you DO and be careful not to fall into the trap of focusing too much attention on all of the things you would LIKE do. When we expect too much of ourselves, we set ourselves up to fail. And then we get discouraged. And discouragement is a tool that Satan uses to keep us from doing all what we CAN do. Hang in there!

    • Amanda says:

      Wise words. 🙂 Thank you for sharing about you and thank you for sharing some of what you have learned along the way!

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