This Sexist Homework Assignment Got Sent Home To The Wrong Working Mom
It’s well-established that helping your kids with their homework is an awful, thankless task. After a long day of working, the last thing a parent wants to do is argue with their kids over math or verb conjugations. One mom was especially enraged after looking over her six-year-old’s sexist homework assignment — and it’s not hard to see why.
Lynne Polvino of Queens, NY, was having an especially hectic evening when she read her daughter’s homework. She was frazzled after racing home from work to pick up her kids, then rushing to make dinner while helping her daughter with her assignment and tending to the needs of her four-year-old. “When I read the assignment, I almost lost it,” Polvino told TODAY Parents.
Polvino snapped a picture of the assignment and posted it on Facebook:
Gotta love a homework assignment that’s heavy on the mom guilt and gender stereotypes!
“It just pushed so many buttons for me, and with each sentence it managed to get worse!” Polvino said. “My shock and dismay quickly turned to outrage. I mean, what decade are we in, anyway? In this day and age, we’re going to tell kids that mothers working outside the home makes their children and families unhappy? That fathers don’t normally do things like cook and wash the dishes?”
Polvino pointed out that her daughter didn’t seem affected by the assignment, but that didn’t sit well with her. She shouldn’t help but think about the kids whose parents who have working moms. “What message was this sending to them? What message was it sending to little girls who dream of having careers and families? And what about all the other working moms — did they feel, as I did, like they’d been punched in the gut when they read this?”
That’s when Polvino, who works as a children’s books editor at a publishing house in Manhattan, decided to do something about it. She rewrote the worksheet “to reflect the kind of world I want to live in, the kind of world I want my kids to live in when they’re old enough to have jobs and families.” The new worksheet emphasized that the parents in the story were equals, and that the girl was happy her mother was back at work.
“Lisa feels fine now.” You’re damn right she does!
Polvino emailed her daughter’s teacher with her concerns about the original worksheet, and the teacher agreed with Polvino and apologized. Polvino hopes this will be a tiny step towards making things easier for working parents. “I have so much respect for all the working moms of past generations who had to deal with this type of crap on a regular basis!” she said. “I’m so grateful to them for paving the way.”