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Yes, it’s true. These next several days, weeks, months (?) probably aren’t going to reflect your best parenting moments. And you know what? That’s okay. In fact, I expect that. I am hoping my family expects that out of me, too.
Because quite honestly, I can’t give this my everything some days. And what I mean by “some days” is ALL DAYS.
I’m too frazzled. Aren’t you? Every time I turn on the TV, there it is. If I hop on social media, there it is.
IT IS ALWAYS COVID-19.
So here’s the deal: Whatever situation life has thrown at you the last week? Let’s bring that down a notch. Or seven.
If you’re now a stay-at-home parent quickly turned homeschool teacher? You are allowed to just get by. We all have permission to NOT do those Pinterest-worthy crafts or science experiments or amazing outdoor activities. This is hard enough as it is. Let’s avoid stressing ourselves out even more by allowing social media to tell us what we should be doing. I mean, am I really going to use up all of my patience by putting on puppet shows, fancy tea parties, and homemade cookies?
That’s a hard no.
Maybe your office has closed and you’re now a work-from-home parent who is also trying to homeschool. Plus, there’s a good chance you don’t even have a designated workspace at home because, well, it was too hard to get your office desk in the back of your Honda. I see you standing at your kitchen counter with your computer. I see you trying to sort out the dinner routine while you’re on a conference call. There you are, on the floor of your bedroom surrounded by Shrinky Dinks and crushed up Goldfish crackers on your carpet. Or hey, you could be crying in the shower; your first in three days. To you I say, it’s okay if your child has too much iPad time right now. And it’s even perfectly fine if he isn’t playing some educational game.
Life keeps throwing ALL of us the fastest and curviest curveballs ever. We are certainly going to swing and miss some of them. Heck, I’ve missed nearly all of them in the last week. The idea is, however, is to not stop swinging.
Do your best today. Wait, no. Your “best” might just be too exhausting. How about doing what you can today? Then wake up tomorrow and do it again.
Also, can we set the bar a little lower on these activities for these little darlings? Most of us simply can’t keep up. Besides, it’s okay if the kids get bored. We don’t have to fill their every moment with something. We are not Disney World. Yesterday, my two youngest were bored out of their minds just sitting there looking at each other. (We were only on day two of this, at that point, God love ’em.) I finally heard “Let’s go downstairs and growl at each other!!!” And off they went.
So let’s slow our roll on filling their time up. They will figure out something to do, although there’s a good chance that it’s weird. Or messy. Or both.
Each day we are all trying to manage. Just … manage. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to win any parenting awards right now. I’m a former teacher and SAHM to four girls, from four to 17. To tell the flat out truth, it should have been much easier for me to jump into this “homeschool parent” thing. I have a background in education, for crying out loud. But it is SO HARD.
I don’t even like to classify myself as a parent who homeschools, because I’m nowhere near getting things done around here. Which leads me to my next point. I haven’t seen the first post or comment from an actual professional homeschool parent saying anything close to “I told you homeschooling is hard!” In fact, I see quite the opposite. Moms and dads are jumping in feet first to help the newbies. Thank you, thank you for not saying “I told you so” right now. I appreciate your help, but I may need you to just come over here and hold my hand during this.
Finally, can we all remember that the kids are watching? How you handle this worldwide crisis will greatly affect them. Think of this: Every single person in the US (and the world) has been directly changed by this rapidly-moving, scary-as-hell virus, but YOUR reaction to it within your own home will make the biggest impact on your family. Will they see fear? Anxiousness? Panic? Or can we show them helpfulness and optimism? Can we also show them that it’s okay to not have it all together right now, and that we are all trying to do the best we can? Even if the best we can do is … just manage.
Whether you’re a still a SAHM, a long-time homeschooling mom, a working dad who has been forced to work at the kitchen counter or the linen closet, or a suddenly out-of-work parent, IT IS OKAY TO JUST GET BY RIGHT NOW.
This is NOT our finest hour.
And remember this: It’s okay if your child spends too much time on the iPad. (Just don’t give her access to Pinterest, because she might start pinning like mad. And we don’t need that kind of drama in our lives.)