underachieving mother

Over-achiever parents.

boy and ropeTheir existence in this world just shines a spotlight on my underachievingness.

Their child walks into school rolling in a 1/25th scale Taj Mahal made out of toothpicks, gold-leafed with a water feature.   My child walks into school clutching a self-constructed Lego mass that was crushed into pieces by a rolling backpack in the trunk on the way to school.

I would like to write that I am intentionally among the underachieving.   Like it is a moral stand toward child independence.

Kids should do their own work!

But that isn’t the case.   I am underachieving to maintain a shred of my self-respect.

Second grade at my children’s school is when they start creative writing projects.   They are graded on a 100 point rubric.   I have always been a fan of creative writing (shocking, eh?) so helping the boys get their thoughts on paper has been one of the fun parts of homeschooling.

When I say “getting their thoughts on paper”, I mean it figuratively.

The actual writing process of letter making, capital letters and end marks is pure torture for second grade boys.   It takes bribes, threats and a lot of cheerleading to get a sentence written out.

An entire paragraph?


One of Reid’s first creative writing assignments was to write a story.

I like to write stories!

Reid and I sat down and he thought up what he wanted to write about.   I asked him lots of questions and some of them might have been a bit leading.

The afternoon turned to evening and we still didn’t have a written story.

A one paragraph story.

My questions turned from leading to directional and within 15 minutes we had a completed story.

The story may have ended up to be a little bit more mine than Reid’s.

But it was on paper.   Illustrated.   In his backpack.   Ready to turn in.   Whew.

When Reid’s paper was returned a few days later, it came to my attention that the story was definitely more ME than HIM when I uttered…

Your teacher gave US a 68/100 on that story?

I said us.

Yep, we got a 68.


  1. Vanessa B says:

    Just wanted to say I Love your blog and look forward to it every afternoon! Thanks for sharing the tales of everyday life, so real and so funny…and I give you an A+ for that!

  2. Oh, but you are the bestest underachieving mom that I know. 🙂 Glad you are doing your homework assignments, too. Seriously? I think it is great that you are not going the over-the-top look how great my kids’ project is…and he had a LITTLE help mode. If you know what I mean.

    You are doing great!

  3. It’s such a fine line between “letting then do their own work” and “slacker mom.” I try to supervise at least to the point that the teacher isn’t smacking her head wondering if I was sober or even conscious during the assemblage of any said project. But truly, I LOATHE school projects.

  4. PS Writing projects are my downfall, too. I can’t suffer the thought of one of my kids turning in a poorly written paper. So, yeah, there is probably a little more Mom in book reports and creative writing than is *ahem* normal. So sue me….

  5. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    Guiding children to get the assignment done is hard. I bet the story deserved more than a 68.

  6. Your kid is so lucky to have you. I work with college women and you can see the ones who come to school whose parents have done work for them and made decisions for them in everyday life. They HAVE trouble. Your kiddo is ahead already.

  7. I’m laughing so hard because last night Ryan had to write a paper on the Anklyosaurus. Yes, there’s a dinosaur with that name and I made him do the paper himself. He started reading it to me and after the first line, I picked up the book that he used and read the words he was saying verbatim. We had our first lesson on plagiarism last night.

  8. Ok. now I’m super confused… do they homeschool or go to school? I think i missed something… (though, to be quiet honest, I’ve had this question before…)

    those parent made projects drive me crazy!

  9. When I saw the title of your post I thought “why is she blogging about me?”

    Then when I read your post I KNEW you were blogging about me.

    My second grader had a book report this year — about five paragraphs in all.

    I wrote it for him and I am not ashamed.

  10. getting my two 11 year old boys to write anymore than once sentence makes me want to claw my eyes out! Once a year, for our homeschool charter we have to turn in a writing sample- it’s awful, more for me or them, I am not sure!

    This year I stumbled onto Writing With Ease- Susan Wise Baur- and she attacks creative writing and the mechanics of writing as two separate jobs at first, so the lessons are short and sweet, which makes it bearable for my boys.

    Boys, I think they are their own special breed when it comes to school…

  11. Was reading your strawberry post (ahem, jealous) and got diverted by the title of this post. Which I identify with.

    * I have a 2nd grader
    * he is graded on a 100 pt rubric for stories. Only ours have to be several paragraphs. Oy.
    * you nailed it when you said the process of writing letters out for boys? Painful. For them. for us. Lawdy.
    * believe in mostly letting kids do their own work until about 76 minutes have passed and you still have nothing and there’s still work to do, dinner to be made, yada yada.

    I am ROLLING that he got a lower grade with your help. Snort.

  12. This is priceless… love it. My son has a brain the size of a planet, but getting him to put pen to paper was like leading a rabid dog to water. Have to say that he still thanks me for never doing his work for him… he says he learnt more from that than he would have from the assignment.

    I actually have a (serious) blog post about parents ‘helping’ their kids with assignments, if you’re interested- it’s at

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