If you were to tell me in January that the month of April would see me quarantined at home with no free time to myself, homeschooling my two kids, among other things (like taking care of my parents recovering from a car wreck, my husband being gone to work for more than 48 hours straight, babysitting my friend’s son every so often), I might laugh in your face. If you were to tell me to imagine it, the picture in my head would be of a very frazzled woman, losing her temper on her kids, being miserable in all of it.
Well here we are, early May, April is behind us, and I’m sure you can guess that the above scenario is what has come to pass. Except for the frazzled woman losing her mind on her kids. The first day of official distance learning DID send me into an emotional tailspin. Stress does that to people. But that negative, overwhelming feeling left later that first day. My support group of other parents going through the same thing lit a positive fire within me. No more “woe is me” will come forth. We are all going through this, so many people have it worse, and this is an investment in my children’s development.
As the days turned into weeks, we found a routine; and I am one who believes wholeheartedly in the power of routine for kids (And me). That routine started with waking up at a certain time, starting our work at a certain time, taking a break somewhere in there, and working together as a team. The surprising thing I learned from all of this was that the part I expected to be the hardest: patience, came organically. Patience in keeping my 7-year-old hyperactive boy on track, patience when my 10-year-old daughter needs me to help her in the other room, patience in explaining the concept of division, patience moving back and forth between the two kids, and patience for when things just don’t go according to plan.
We are now 5 weeks into this journey and I have this to say:
What I want to impart to someone reading this is that for some people, this whole situation may not be all negative. For some people, like myself, what I imagined this to be and what it has turned out to be is very different. I find myself looking forward to having that one-on-one time with my kids. Being able to see when they are struggling with a concept in a singular moment and then taking a little side adventure to break that concept down and watch the light bulb in their head turn on feels like ultimate victory! I can understand the gratification that some teachers get out of what they do. I have a great opportunity here that school teachers don’t necessarily get when they are surrounded by 20+ kids; keeping the kids in their chairs is a major accomplishment in that setting, and the fact that they manage to teach anything to a group of kids is astounding. But I know that some kids fall through the cracks, not for a lack of trying, but for a sheer lack of being able to nurture each and every individual child in each lesson for a myriad of reasons. This is my time to seize this opportunity of tending to my own little garden by seeing what each individual plant needs to thrive.
I know this isn’t the truth for every person in the same situation. My heart goes out to the parents who are struggling and who are legitimately giving up because it’s just not working. To them I say “do what you need to do to stay afloat. No two situations are the same. I support your choice.” But if this can reach someone that has a preconceived notion that this will be torture and you’re embracing the torture element because its what you expected…..maybe you could switch up that mindset and embrace the challenge in a positive way? It’s not easy, but it’s worth a try. Perhaps you will find, like me, that you have a surprising amount of patience when you put your mind to it. What a great lesson for our children, that despite the circumstances, and despite what we think something will be like, we choose to try it anyway, and we may even THRIVE.
Previously published on Medium.com.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.