checking in on Covid, mothering, and sweet summertime
Ya'll, this has been on my mind a good bit lately. We are nearly a month into our summer and I'm just wondering is anyone else on the struggle bus? I honestly hate to complain. We are healthy and well and getting settled into our new home, but this working and having kids out of school thing - it's not for the faint of heart.
Now, those of you with younger kids are going to shoot daggers at me when I say this, BUT, working with the kids in school was actually easier for me. Mine are 11 and 12 and for the most part pretty responsible. They are self-directed and while not perfect (I mean, they are kids after all) they got their work done, asked for help when they needed it, and with a few occasional reminders (and one actual miss) got on their classroom calls accordingly.
I could generally get to about 3:00 in the afternoon with little interruption. And then summer hit. No schedules, nothing to preoccupy their minds and all the sudden it was my job to figure out how to entertain them - or let them stay on screens all day which always backfires in every sense imaginable.
In my kid's defense they are spoiled. My hubby has been in education their entire lives so this has always meant that Dad was at least home for 4-5 weeks during the summer. Last year was epic, as he had left his career and they spent their entire summer going to Six Flags, watching through the whole series of Marvel movies and going to the pool on the regular. Then Covid hits and not only are their options limited but Six Flags wouldn't even be on the docket right now with both of us working.
So this brings us back to our reality now. Even today my daughter - who had spent yesterday afternoon with a friend that then turned into dinner and then a sleepover at our house was pouting because I had calls all afternoon. And regardless of whether she means to or not, it makes me feel pretty darn guilty.
Oh, and then there is the ability to juggle all the things. I learned after my first week of no school, no schedule, and too many interruptions to count that a schedule, chores, planned activities and expectations around screen time needed to be outlined. This helped, but I can't tell you how many days I hop on a call looking like I rolled out of bed. Please tell me I'm not the only one. I've given up on whether this is a ding to my professional image because well, parenting and being professional don't always mix (like blacking out my screen and muting my video on a Zoom call just to yell at my kids to quit fighting).
Don't get me wrong, it's not all horrible, but I kind of feel like I'm getting a dose of what all those parents were talking about during school. I CANNOT imagine having to fight with kids to get their work done, trying to teach them something I don't know, getting their snacks, and juice, and naps, and all the things done in the midst of trying to work your full time job.
Ya'll, this is not for the faint of heart, so will you join me in saying - we are going to cut ourselves some slack. I'm going to quit being so hard on myself. I'm going to be realistic about what I can accomplish and if I don't show up all smiley on a zoom call - its not you, it's me (and all the myriad of things I'm trying to juggle while I'm sitting here staring at you thru my screen).
Okay, signing off - sweet summertime!