Lynne Polvino was smack dab in the middle of school night stress: it was her turn to pick her children up from school, and her husband, Jesse, was still on his way to their home in Queens, New York, from work.
Like so many parents, she found herself simultaneously cooking dinner, helping her 6-year-old daughter, Hazel, with her homework, and responding as patiently as possible to an “endless stream of questions and demands” from her 4-year-old son, Jasper, when she read her daughter’s homework worksheet and stopped dead in her tracks.
“I was already feeling pretty frazzled, and when I read the assignment, I almost lost it,” Polvino told TODAY Parents.
Lynne Polvino’s 6-year-old daughter, Hazel, brought home an assignment from school that she found insulting both to working mothers and to dads.
The worksheet, which featured a story called “Back to Work,” asked Polvino’s first grade daughter to choose words from word banks to complete the narrative, which began, “Lisa was not happy. Her mother was back at work.”
The story went on explain that Lisa, the protagonist, was upset because her mother was going back to work after being home with her. “The morning was terrible,” the story read. “Lisa had to get to school on time. Her father had to get to work on time. And now, her mother was in a rush, too.”
The story in Hazel’s homework also mentioned that the main character’s father had to make her breakfast, and it was “not too good.” But the tale ended on a happier note — only because it turned out that Lisa’s mother’s new job allowed her to get home in time to be there when she returned home from school.
“It just pushed so many buttons for me, and with each sentence it managed to get worse!” said Polvino, who works as a children’s books editor at a publishing house in Manhattan. “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?”
Read the full story and Polvino’s rewrite HERE