I’m Not Really An Idiot, I Just Play One For My Children


My kids think I’m stupid. One would think that this fact would bother me, but it does not. In fact, I encourage it.

I feel very fortunate to have married a guy who can do advanced math problems in his head and recite the periodic table of elements from memory at any given moment. Here’s why: Because when my third grader comes home with math homework that she doesn’t understand, I can simply say, “Go ask Daddy.”

Sure, he can pass as a complete ignoramus any day of the week, but that’s just his cover.  A couple weekends ago, he transformed our kitchen into a scientific experiment “for the kids.”  He was like a kid in a candy store sailing paper airplanes across our house with nothing more than fishing line and a balloon. There was no assignment, he was just bored and being a good dad.

Science fair projects? Off the hook. Pre-calc, algebra, trigonometry, physics…”Daddy will be home soon. Do you want to watch Mommy juggle in the meantime?” Here’s the biggest joke of all: I have a Master of Science degree and he does not. It’s funny how life works.

If Daddy’s not available, I resort to the next best thing…the internet. “Great question child… you should look that one up on the computer!”

I once read a book to my kids about the sun; you know, the big shiny thing in the sky. I thought I was doing a good thing by selecting a non-fiction book from the library to encourage my children’s learning. Instead, I had to spend days thereafter trying to answer such questions as, “So Mom, if the sun is going to burn out some day, what is going to happen to the world?  Don’t people need the sun to live?  When is the sun going to burn out Mom?  Tomorrow?”  They are terrified, and now so am I. Why? Because I don’t know when the fucking sun is going to burn out and I wish I wouldn’t have read this stupid children’s book because then I wouldn’t have been the wiser.

That is why all such questions from this point forward will be directed towards their father.  If they want to know what time school starts or where their shoes are or when to use “seen” versus “saw” in a sentence, they can come find me.

Ignorance is bliss. More wine, please.

About the writer


Jill Veldhouse currently assumes the role of full-time mom to her three awesome kids. Her work has been featured on ScaryMommy, Club Mid, BLUNTmoms, and humorwriters.org. She blogs at jillveldhouse.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter.


Nora Nasto 2 years ago

I don’t want to know about the sun burning out either!! Ignorance IS bliss!

Jenelle 2 years ago

I say you take a step farther! Mom, where are my shoes? That’s a great question for Dad! Mom, what’s for dinner? Good question, I bet Dad knows! Think it will work in my house? 😉

Cindi Patton 2 years ago

I’m aware that this is a little tongue-in-cheek, but I hope you make sure your kids really know that you’re NOT stupid. We need our kids–boys and girls alike–to know that women CAN be smart in math and science! I may not be the brightest when it comes to math (and my husband, a fellow college grad in communications, actually refuses to help because he’s not good in math, either!), but I DO try to help and will often look things up on the internet. Thank God for Khan Academy! I’ve also hired a tutor–a FEMALE tutor–for my youngest son after my oldest one went off to school.

I actually thought this story was about teenagers who think their parents are dumb. When my kids argue with me, as they often do, I tell them that I’m obviously not young enough to know everything! I’m still waiting for my intelligence to come back. My oldest is a college freshman, so I think I’ll have to wait a few more years. 😉

Veronica Edwards 2 years ago

I wish that I hadn’t told them about how smart I was in school. I think that I messed up…

Marisa Rodriguez Byers 2 years ago

You and me both!

Grown and Flown 2 years ago

My teen knows that I know nothing. But the refreshing thing is that my college kids have come full circle and actually ask my advice. Mark Twain was right…”“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Guillermina Prada Blanco 2 years ago

Love this one!

Catherine Kamweru-Kimotho 2 years ago

My kids ask me if I ever went to school …

Amy Nicole Beaudoin 2 years ago

I may have to try this technique :)

Michelle Lea Musslewhite 2 years ago

Fellow idiot here lol

Rose Martin 2 years ago

Obviously why I love reading Scary Mommy!

Sabrina 2 years ago

I totally get why you’re doing this and I do it sometimes too. Like the sun question, I genuinely have no idea when that would happen, but my husband reads about stuff like that so he probably knows. But (I figured that you would know that was coming), I tend to disagree with it happening often. I was an “idiot” in high school because I wanted boys to like me (didn’t work). It’s one of my biggest regrets. I want to influence my daughter to work at her full potential and let her know that being smart is a good thing. If I play dumb, then she may think that’s how women are supposed to act. Math is my worst subject, but I’ve tricked her into thinking it’s really awesome and fun so when she gets to higher level math she won’t need too much help. This may be a pipe dream because I don’t know how well she’ll do at math as she gets older, but hopefully she’ll have the confidence to work at it.

Lori Strand 2 years ago

Love this!!!

Mikki 2 years ago

Your husband sounds like a great dad 😀 Unfortunately, neither my husband nor myself are math and science people, if they want to know about politics, history or english, we’ve got them covered, but advanced calculus? We’ll be hiring a tutor, lol.


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