Parents it’s ok if you’re struggling. Look, I am right there with you. This is hard and no one is discounting that. For those of us that are truly taking social distancing seriously and have been keeping those kids home in isolation, while trying to work from home ourselves and parent-school (cause y’all this isn’t homeschooling), while dealing with the emotional trauma, constant barrage of updates from our governments, scoping out the local TP stocks and just keeping up with everyday household stuff. It’s a lot.
I am a teacher. Like my whole job is teach kids and to work with them, so when I found out I would be teaching remotely and that I would also be homeschooling my kids, I initially was like “I got this”. I figured that I teach high school so a 1st grader and a 4th grader are going to be easy. Combine this with the fact that I have been putting everything I do online and running a tech centered classroom for 5 years, I felt real confident.
I was wrong. We are just 3 weeks into remote learning and I am learning that this trauma is affecting each of us differently. That zoom meetings can sometimes cause my kids more sadness than happiness because they miss their friends. I am not really effective at working from home because I spend most of my day making sure that my own children’s needs are met while periodically checking in on my clases. Teaching from home while parenting your own children is not working from home, we are just surviving with activities.
It is not working, in fact as the main caretaker in our family, it is enormous and exhausting and I want to cry half the time and every time I try to get something done, someone needs me for something else. Trying to teach my own children and 180 others is hard. 90% of the time, it is just me at home with the kids as my husband is an essential employee and as a work out of the home mom, this is not something I am set up for. It is not something our family is set up for and no amount of experience teaching or working for home prepared us for social distance work at home with kids who literally cannot go anywhere and are slowly losing it right there with us.
Everyday blends and I wake up with a general list of goals to get accomplished but also a heavy awareness that this is our new normal for a while and that no matter how much I am bored and wanting to just go all the places, that WE have to do this to save others and so sacrifices are made. However, those sacrifices suck and it is ok for you to feel that way.
My kids are feeling it. They want to play with other kids, they want to see them in person, play tag, and cars and barbies and they are dying to be back in their classroom with their teachers back to their routine. I have yet to break it to my own children that they will not be returning to school this year (their district hasn’t officially called it) and honestly I am terrified and sad all in one. It is not going to be easy to tell them that yes we still need to do the work because even if you are learning nothing and I am a terrible math teacher, we still need some semblance of normalcy in our lives. I am not ready to tell them that there is no field day, no move up day, no last hugs and desk clean out and end of the year parties with their teachers who we adore.
My kids are acting out. No amount of indoor games, movies, screentime, backyard play, social distance walks or craft time can make up for the energy and happiness they are able to exert with their friends and teachers. It is a lot and although I joke about trading them in, I know that my place is to read those children of mine, to allow those breakdowns to happen and to acknowledge their feelings and emotions. Some days it takes everything I have to not lose my everlovin’ mind and I am not even going to lie, I have for sure had to lock myself in a room and enjoy a cold beverage because this is hard. However, I always am able to come out and remind myself and those little people that this is hard for everyone but that what we are doing is very important for everyone.
It is ok to hate this. It is ok to struggle through this. It is ok to want to trade off your children (obvious joke), and it is ok to lock yourself in a room, cry and maybe indulge in your kids Easter candy while drinking that 3 year old bottle of wine you found in the back of your pantry and wiping your tears away with cheap toilet paper. Do you, love those babies, and survive. It’s all any of us are capable of right now.