I find myself waking up each day, thankful that school is still open and praying that it stays that way. Deep in my heart, I don't really believe we are going to get through a year without another shutdown of school and the horror that was schooling from home last Spring.
Sure, there were some high notes from last Spring as we all attempted to work and learn from home, the most important one being family time and a slower pace of life. As sports begin again this fall, I am simultaneously thrilled and panicked trying to remember how we did it with all of these kids on different teams and schedules. Having nowhere to go for a few months was a welcome relief that grew old quickly. Much like how scheduling ALL THE THINGS is a welcome relief right now that will grow old quickly. We can never be content, can we?
Phil and I have talked (and talked and talked) about the difficulties of schooling from home and I shudder just thinking about it. Having nine of us in a small house was hard to find a quiet space for each of us. Not just hard, it was virtually impossible. Phil locked himself in our bedroom at our desk, JP used Maggie's room and desk, Andrew used the upstairs hallway desk, Eamon would use his bedroom, Maggie would use the little boys' bedroom, Xander would sit in the family room, and the two youngest boys did their work in the dining room. I sat at the island in the kitchen and tried to manage the chaos.
I truly feel that the weight of schooling fell on my shoulders. Even though I was working full-time from home, I also had to keep the zoom schedules straight, make sure our too-few-devices were being shared, help with schoolwork, keep the little ones entertained and feed everyone. It's not that Phil wouldn't help, that man is a saint, it's that he couldn't help because he was live-teaching classes. Whenever he would get a break between classes, he would come out into the kitchen, which is when I would run upstairs to print something, or make a call, or escape to focus on work for ten-minute blocks.
But mostly, it was the mental burden of it all. At the risk of sounding sexist, I think moms/women carry the heavier mental burden of family life than dads/men. Phil will openly admit that he can just focus on work while working, and then come home and focus on helping out with the kids. His brain compartmentalizes tasks that way.
Not me. I wish!
I fall asleep thinking about what I can make for dinner the next day. I drive to work running through a todo list in my head. I look at our calendar and text kids who need a reminder of an appointment. I remind kids of school projects and summer work. I worry about each child getting enough attention and love. I send up a prayer at the same time someone is presenting a project at school. I sign everybody up for sports, music lessons, and altar serving. I plan family vacations. I check our bank account daily to make sure bills are paid on time. I meal plan and make grocery lists. I notice when the pillows need to be tossed and the bed sheets need to be washed. I make lists and chore charts and reward charts. I worry about how to use that last bit of leftover ham. I order gym shorts and socks without holes because a kid complained in passing this morning. I schedule workout times for Phil and I. I plan the seasonal mantle decor. I research daycares and babysitters. I schedule physicals and flu shots. I send gifts to the godchildren. And on and on and on.
I know what you feel - some of my kids are back in school (yeah for Catholic schools!) and some are home. And when I think about the possibility that the boys will be stuck at home again I cry. My mental strength is gone - feel like I'm scraping around the bottom of an empty well. I work part time - but I can't stay there and get everything I need to do done - I have to run home after my class and be ready to help my special needs daughter go to virtual school - which is an UTTER waste of time. I am so disappointed in how things are going - there's no activities for the kids, there was no vacation this summer, and my kids are being pretty good but it's just so hard some days. I feel like I'm failing everything - and I even have teenagers and a husband who are pretty good at helping out. However, the primary choices and schedules fall on me. Sigh. I really hope I can find the grace to get through this!ReplyDelete
A friend in similar circumstances passed this along to me earlier today. I hope it helps each of you!Delete
Praying for you, Colleen!ReplyDelete
Have you read the book Fair Play? It really hits on the mental load that mother's carry and attempts to share the load. My husband is also incredible willing and helpful but the book helped so much to relieve the mental burden. When he has a card now I truly give it up to him fully. It may not work for everyone but it has certainly helped us.ReplyDelete
No, but now I want to! I would love to hand over some of the mental load to him, but then I still worry and think about if he's doing it well or at all. Ugh. I probably really need this book to learn how to let it go fully.Delete
After six days of in person, school was closed for two days because 'symptoms' and 'extra cleaning.' Kid 1 went back today, but Kid 2's class apparently got a quarantine and doesn't go back until the 21st. It's kinder for Kid 2 this year and we've so hoped that we would fall into a routine and start a school career in a way that would be positive for our nervous, routine loving kid. Clearly not going to happen. On top of that I'm working full-time from home, with the baby, and unlike in the spring, when I had reserves to draw upon, I'm just tapped out. I can't keep doing this. We can't keep doing this. The kids can't keep doing this. I want to have a massive temper tantrum, but unlike the rioters, I don't have time because I'm too busy trying to keep it together for my family, pay the bills, and apparently homeschool too.ReplyDelete
Yes, "tapped out" I feel you, but you have it even harder with a baby in the mix. Prayers!!Delete
Motherhood is something I will always cherish and appreciate, especially since I didn't become a mother until I was 33. However, my mind is always ON. It's all GOOD though!ReplyDelete
You can appreciate something and still admit it's really, really hard sometimes.Delete
How true this all is—no matter how wonderful/involved/helpful Dad is. Mom is the heart of the home (and she can’t compartmentalize! Her brain is always thinking of 1,000 things at once!). I, like you, pray the schools stay open! Enough already—we need to get back to living normally. (One of my least favorite phrases: “new normal.”). God bless you and yours.ReplyDelete
I hate that phrase too. None of this is normal, and it better never become the norm.Delete
We live in a poorer area with a lot of food insecure kids (our district has actually received extra funding for a free breakfast and lunch for each kid) and a lot of kids with really unstable and cruddy home lives. Our local public school finally opens this upcoming Monday, and I'm honestly breathing a huge sigh of relief just for their sakes'.ReplyDelete
And for mine. My 5 year old has done well on the Zooms, but it's hard also entertaining my 2 year old and helping him. I can't even begin to fathom doing it with multiples...I think I'd take them out of school and do a curriculum at home just to avoid the hassle that is the zoom call marathon. It'd be way less work.
Yes, if I didn't HAVE to work full time, I would absolutely be homeschooling if we went remote again. Keeping kids on my schedule vs. various other schedules would be so much easier!Delete