My kids have been home for four weeks, and this week we entered our 2nd official week of virtual school. As I see it, this virtual school we are all now navigating is like us being an extension of the teachers. We are their helpers (at least that’s what I keep trying to tell my kids so they will actually LISTEN to me). They are doing their best to help teach us how to teach our kids. Well, for this Mama, it has been nothing short of EXHAUSTING. This is by NO MEANS a knock to the teachers, schools or system. But it has been brutal at times, and because we’re all in this together, here are my confessions of a stressed-out mama trying to school her kids from home during COVID-19.
This is not home school
Ok, so to elaborate on my opinion of this. Maybe I’m living in some fantasy land of what I think home school looks like, but I am fairly certain that this virtual school scenario isn’t it. I see homeschooling as having the freedom and flexibility to create what your kids learn, to flow with their moods and whims and make learning fun.
When we came back from spring break, there wasn’t much pressure that first week to complete assignments. It was more about getting familiar with the systems we’d be using. I took on creating what our week would look like for school.
That week we:
- had lots of outside time
- did some science projects
- used flashcards
- watched some Jack Hartman videos and some live cams from museums and aquariums
It was pretty awesome and we enjoyed it. To me, that’s what home school would be similar to. There is probably a lot more to it in terms of planning and taking ownership of what it looks like. I know it’s probably not always rainbows and unicorns, though I did actually think to myself after that week, I could totally home school my kids.
Enter virtual school
Annnnnd, my dreams of homeschooling my children were shattered. Once the assignments came through, I was now essentially asking my children to complete things that they were used to their teachers asking them to do (and teaching them to do) and everything changed. It was like a ginormous WTF energy entered the room and they were less than enthusiastic compared to the week before.
Insert the stress to school her kids from home during COVID-19.
My daughter who’s 7 and in 1st grade has been able to flow with it much more easily than my son. He’s 6 and in kindergarten and pretty much leading the WTF brigade each day of what has felt like a miserable existence trying to put on a happy face and create a positive attitude about it all.
After what I think could have been an Emmy-nominee performance of attempting to breathe positivity and light into whatever we were about to do, my son literally said to me, “Mommy, can you please just stop being my teacher now and just be Mommy again?”
And the award does NOT go to me……
Every one of my buttons has been pushed
Holy goodness, every single button I have has been pushed during this madness. Here are a few fan favorites:
- My perfectionist who wants to do everything right has shown up raring to go and run the show (never good)
- My fears over the health and well-being of my family and the people I care about have been triggered (enter way too much googling at times and having to talk myself down off the ledge)
- This pandemic has me confronting the lack of control I have over so many things and reminds me how much I dislike feeling scared and afraid. And it pisses me off.
- I’ve felt lonely and disconnected at times and I don’t love that feeling either. I love to socialize and see my friends and colleagues, to travel, and to work at coffee shops.
I’ve got a business to run, a constantly messy house, a neverending todo list, and I can’t leave my damn house to escape any of it. I know you feel me. I’ve been mean Mommy aka “Dino-Mom” (as we’ve all come to know her) more times than I’m proud to admit. I’ve sat at the kitchen table beside my son, crying, SO frustrated and at max. I have felt so helpless and ill-equipped to do this new “job” that so many of us are struggling to do. It’s a weight and a pressure that sometimes makes me feel like I’m suffocating.
So, how are we getting through this time?
Well, we are bumping along. I’m learning to set down my expectations, or at least notice them more often and how unrealistic they are. Both for me, and for my children. I’ve lit every damn sage stick and Palo Santo I have in this house, busted out my crystals, sat our butts on some cushions and sang some chants. My husband, who is a very patient man will tag in when he can (he works full time) and give this stressed out Mama a break.
Family meetings for the win
We’ve had family meetings to talk about it. This has been super freeing so we’re not all walking around angry and frustrated. Our kids have permission to say whatever they didn’t like about the day or how Dino-Mom acted, and anything else they need to say. We share our frustrations openly too because we’re not trying to act like we’ve got it all handled and we most certainly do not.
We do our best to come back to gratitude each night at the table, each going around and saying something that we are grateful for. I go to bed at night welcoming the next day in hopes that it will be better than the day before. That’s pretty much all I’ve got at this point.
A final note of gratitude
I am grateful for my children’s teachers and how much work they’re putting in to help us. My struggle is my own and doesn’t reflect their commitment and effort at all. I know how much they care about our kiddos and how much they miss them. I’m grateful for our health and well-being and that my babies are well and able to drive me “to the crazy.” Thank you to all of the health care workers, first responders, and essential workers out there keeping things going and putting their lives on the line each day.