Jewish Journal

Summer Rules are not meant to be followed, at least in my house…

by Julia Bendis

July 6, 2011 | 12:01 pm

I am just not as Tiger-esque as I had hoped to be this summer, in fact I am the very opposite of the Tiger Mother!  But, I did have big plans to become one over the summer break…  And even bigger plans to grow a pair when it comes to my children NOT sitting around watching TV, playing the Wii, DSI, Ipod, Shmi-Pod, PSP, STD, GameBoy, PlayBoy, alright you get the point…

As much as I had planned on having a very strict regimen for my kids this summer, I have already failed.  The kids have been out of school for three weeks now, but had only read once and done a single sheet of Math.  However, I do have very neatly piled worksheets of Math, Reading, Science and History sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be touched!  And every morning as I enter the kitchen, I am reminded of what a pathetic enforcer of rules that I am…  I keep thinking why can’t I be more tough and strong when it comes to my kids’ summer education?  I know I am no Amy Chua or some of my Mom friends by any means, but this is absolutely ridiculous.

Every single time I tell my kids to start reading or doing worksheets, I crumble and give in to their every excuse (do this in a very whiny voice of a 6 and 11-year-old):

-Mom, I am hungry.  Can I do it after I eat, again?

- Of course baby!  Let me make you some food, because I had just put away your breakfast an hour ago, and you clearly need to eat again.


- Mom, I am just so tired.  I played outside with the neighbor kid for a long time.  Can’t I just rest for a little bit and then do it?

- Sure baby!  Let me make you all cozy on the couch here.  Can I whip up some fresh squeezed lemonade for you since I have nothing better to do?


- Mom, my brother woke me up so early this morning, I can’t do any work now.  My brain is not up.  Can’t I just take a short nap and then do it?

- Of course!  Why don’t you go and lay on MY freshly-made bed while I make some cookies for when you wake up!


- Mom, I sat on the toilet for so long this morning, my butt really hurts and I can’t sit and do any work right now.  Can I do it later?

- You poor baby!  Let me rub your beautiful toches!


You get the pattern here?  I know its pathetic, but I am not a Tiger Mother.  I am a Yiddishe Mother.  That unfortunately comes with a great gift of smothering, over-bearing, over-feeding, over-nurturing, over-touching, over-everything.  That is why I enrolled them in summer camp so someone else can do what I can’t, make them Read and do their Math!  And when they come home and tell me they did neither one of those things, but play and eat, I will still go to bed happy!  Who needs Reading and Math anyway…  They will be artists and comedians when they grow up, so who cares!

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I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia which is on the Baltic Sea.  My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, right before the...

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