Lockdown Part 2 While Homeschooling and Working Full time

Lockdown isn’t totally done yet...

We’re still in lockdown, but at least we are at the point where kids are going back to school. And I think this is the most critical phase, at least for me and working and sanity and our general happiness. I’m not going to say that lockdown has been simple. It was challenging at the best of times, but I did learn a lot while homeschooling and working full time, and I did have a lot of fun with my kids… But as the lockdown is loosening and my kids are going back to school, I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and I have a moment to look back at the things I’ve learned.

lockdown pin

Have a plan

When we were told that the second lockdown was coming and that the kids weren’t going back to school for a while, hubby and I sat down and made a plan. With 3 kids, we needed a plan.  We are planners, so this was right up our alley.

We reviewed our schedules and quickly learned that there were certain times of the day/week when we needed to work, or be in a meeting or meet a deadline. Those times were assigned as our designated work times. And we planned out the whole week based on this concept. Then, we tried to even out the rest of the week with 50% mom time and 50% dad time.

 

homeschooling and working full time plan

During the day of homeschooling and working full time, there was no time to communicate about what had transpired with the other parent. Getting information from our kids was like pulling teeth.  So we also added a list of activities section so that we would always be in the know.

Having a helped with our sanity. At least somewhat.

the world isn’t over if the plan falls through

We had a plan. And it was helpful. But honestly, most days didn’t play out the way we planned. I had a meeting that came up out of the blue, and it couldn’t be moved to fit my “working at home while homeschooling” schedule. And the same happened for hubby.  This was a constant occurrence, but that’s part of life.  We adapted and made changes as we needed to.  

As the lockdown progressed, and the crazier it got with work, and as much as the plan wasn’t working, when there was a moment of calm, having that plan in place helped to pick up the pieces and keep moving forwards.

 

Kids will not become zombies if they spend a few days vegging in-front of electronics

There were days that we were so busy, we weren’t able to occupy our kids when they were on a break from school, or between the hours of work when school hasn’t started or has already finished, but you still have to work.  And we relied on electronics to keep our kids busy.  It was the easiest solution.  We didn’t have time to set them up with crafts or learning activities, or engage in fort making or go outside unattended.  We had to keep them busy and out of our hair so we could focus.  And sadly, as much as we don’t like letting them use electronics mindlessly, we let it happen. 

But I know they won’t turn into zombies from binging on electronics for a few days. 

 

homeschooling and working full time

People who don’t have little kids don’t understand

People who don’t have little kids don’t understand. It’s that simple. They just don’t. The amount of added stress and work and juggling and lack of sleep is incomprehensible to people without kids. Add in homeschooling and working full time, and you are on a different planet. 

If people have never had kids, they have no clue. And people with adult kids don’t remember the struggles of day to day parenting.  Let alone understand what it’s like to parent and home school, and work and be in the middle of a pandemic at the same time.  

It’s not just like having kids at home for the summer break or an extended March break. During those times, there are camps and grandparents, and activities that the kids can do outside of the house. Throwing a pandemic into the mix is pure chaos.

Expecting people without kids to understand is also a waste of energy.  There is no book, no video, and no examples you can give them to help them understand.

Accepting this fact just makes it easier to deal with.  There’s no point dwelling on it or hoping it will change.  

Homeschooling kids is hard

I’ve never wanted to be a teacher. And I have always admired teachers for their ability to deal with (little) kids all day this takes a special kind of person.  I am not that person.  My hubby is not that person. Teaching kids at home, even with the assistance of teachers online it hard work. And little kids need help from mom and dad to figure out activities, getting supplies, and making things work. Homeschooling and working full time is hard.

I love my kids to pieces, but I’m very happy that the schools are opened up again and that the people who love teaching will be doing it in person.

homeschooling and working full time

the kids will be ok if if they miss school

My kids are still young, so missing a day or a week, or even more of school is not the end of the world. All children are in the same boat. Some kids may learn a bit more while at home, while some may learn less.   But when school returns to regular learning, and all of the children are back, I imagine the schooling systems will make sure everyone gets caught up. 

There have been children throughout history who have missed school due to wars, and civil unrest, and illness, and you name it, and they have all managed to catch up at some point.  

And it’s also important to remember that children learn while inside and outside of school.  Kids can learn a lot of different skills outside of school.  And many of these skills are required for life in the long run, regardless. 

working evenings and weekends sucks

We all know this, but it’s true. Working evenings and weekends sucks. But sometimes it has to be done. And over the last several weeks, it was our life. But we knew this was going to happen. We knew that to do our jobs and care for the kids, we needed to work on the weekends and evenings. So we mentally prepared ourselves for that.

We didn’t like it, but as an adult, you have the pleasure of doing things you don’t like because you know you have to do them.

it’s ok to cry, be overwhelmed and need a hug

It’s hard to go through all of this, and some days are just a disaster. And it’s ok. 

It was a hard time for everyone.  Some people struggled more than others, but we were all struggling.  And after a lot of long, painful days, it’s ok to be overwhelmed and sad and frustrated and tired and just done with it all. 

It’s ok to need a hug, and it’s ok to cry.   The release of those emotions is essential and can help to carry on.

homeschooling and working full time

Kids need exercise just as much as adults do

We made a point to walk daily. My kids are used to walking because we have a dog, so it wasn’t as hard to get them out, but it was still a challenge, at least for one of the daily walks.

We would do 3 walks a day.  This was the exercise for us adults as much as it was for the kids. We quickly realized that if we didn’t do these 3 walks a day, everyone’s emotions would be overload.  There would be high highs and low lows.  And when the whole house is having a low at the same time, things get chaotic quick.

Keeping everyone active and moving while homeschooling and working full time really did help to make sure we were all staying sane.

Weekly Grocery Shopping is Unnecessary

Before the pandemic, we would go grocery shopping weekly. We would buy food and food and more food. A bunch would get tossed into the freezer and stay there for weeks and weeks. During the first lockdown, we would go grocery shopping once every 2 weeks.  This would supply us with food for 2 weeks or 3 weeks. But we still always had a lot of food in the freezer, enough food to last us several more weeks.

We started to use up all of our frozen food.  Now we have come into a routine where we just need to buy a small number of essentials weekly, like milk and eggs.  Everything else can last for 2-3 weeks from a regular shopping trip.  

We have had to plan our meals a bit more, but that hasn’t really made a difference.  But going to the store only once every 2 weeks has been a nice change, as we have more time for other things instead.

having a mess makes managing stress harder

I’m not a neat freak by any sense of the word, but with all of the stress of surviving, having a messy house just compounded the stress to unbelievable proportions.

With 3 kids and a big dog, our mess built up quickly.  At first, we didn’t pay much attention to it, as we just didn’t really have time to deal with it.  But very quickly, it started to pile up.  Yes, the mess did, but the stress of it was weighing us down.

We started to do small cleanups, making sure all of the crumbs were wiped off the counter, sweeping the floor quickly in high traffic areas,  putting the toys away in between activities, and wiping the bathroom sink. Just a simple cleaning of one area at a time made a huge difference in our mental well-being. It was amazing how much unnecessary stress was being added. And at first, we didn’t even realize.

Keeping things clean, even just a little bit, made a huge difference!

 

homeschooling and working full time

It’s not going to be like this forever

This is far from over, and I’m not holding my breath that this was the last lockdown. But this isn’t going to be forever. There will be a day when this part is over. But we won’t be coming back to the same normal that we had before. Things will be different forever. But aside from all the bad things that have happened, a lot of good has happened also. 

Even in tough times, we can enjoy the simple things

Spending all of this extra time with the kids as a family has been a wonderful experience. This is a time we would not have had otherwise. We would not get to see the kids growing and learning. If they were at school this whole time, we would have missed all of these little things. Watching them play and watching them learn and grow, and bickers and problem solve and be creative.

Going through this has taught me so much about myself.  And I have learned how to manage the different situations in life,  which would otherwise have not been possible. Even though it has been hard and tiring and challenging, I have grown and learned and am better because of it. 

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Kristin

    Very helpful post. I just retired from teaching this year and I can imagine that being home all day with kids and doing home school would need a lot of organization and planning. Hopefully this will all end soon and the kids can go back to having a normal school year.

    1. Katherine

      Thanks for your kind comments! I’m hopeful this will all soon be a distant memory, but I needed to write it down so I don’t forget! I have a sad feeling that this was not the last one…

  2. Kasia

    Even though I don’t have kids (and don’t understand) I can see where you’re coming from. I don’t envy parents that have to homeschool their kids while they work and do all their other chores. So having a plan is definitely essential.

    1. Katherine

      Before I had kids, I never truly understood the demand of having kids. And before the pandemic, I never really grasps the concept of what life would be like in this situation. But being a list person and a routine person, having a plan was a lifesaver.

  3. Nancy

    Thank you for sharing this very honest and eye opening post. I don’t have kids but I have been watching my sister juggle her career and homeschooling two young kids and it is A LOT! I spent one day doing the online courses with my nephew and it is not easy work. There is homework and prep and follow-up and more than I realized. Kudos to all the moms out there juggling all of this…you guys are amazing!

    1. Katherine

      Thanks! I know everyone is in a different situation at times like these, and not everyone fully understands the other’s situation. And even though everyone’s kids are different, parents are all sort of in a similar situation.

  4. Debbie Esplin

    This is a good article. I love the forgiveness in it because in tough times forgiveness, flexibility and understanding are so important.

  5. Eva

    Thank you for sharing, this is really interesting. We are still in the second lockdown here in Germany with kids not back in school, and it is great to read what helped others through it…

    1. Katherine

      I needed to write it down as I feel the third wave will be upon us before we know it 🙁
      This will help me remember how to manage as well.
      Thanks for reading!

  6. Anna

    Very well said: “People without kids, don’t understand”. I don’t have kids and I don’t know 100% what parents are going through now, but I can imagine, and from what I hear you guys deserve a big parenting award! Hopefully, it will be over soon. Also, I agree that mess in the house makes us anxious and stressed. There was actually a study showing how our cortisol levels increase when we are in cluttered rooms. I am working on it right now too and created the 30 Day Spring Decluttering Challenge ( https://homewithanna.com/30-day-decluttering-challenge/ ). It is less overwhelming than trying to declutter the whole house in 3 days.

    1. Katherine

      As we enter the third lockdown on our third wave, I hope that people without kids will get more of a glimpse of a parent’s reality. But if not, I’ll hope I can show some of them the world that parents live in now.
      And cleaning, even simple does help. Thanks for sharing your challenge! I may have to sign my kids up 😉

  7. Oh my Goodness – this article spoke to my soul. I have teens but it was still a juggling act and at the end of the day, talking my sister in law off the ledge with her littles was part of the routine. This has not been easy and you made some great points and ideas. We are in the states and haven’t had a second lock down – however, we really do limit going out and getting together with people. I am quite grateful for school for the socialization that my kids so desperately need. AND my sanity.

    1. Katherine

      I’m not going to lie, as we are currently in our third wave, I’m jealous that you never made it to the second, but I have a feeling your first wave may have been a doozy. I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who has lived this. I know we are all living this pandemic, but as someone has said, we are not in the same boat, but we are in the same storm.

  8. Subarna

    Happy to read that kids are going back to school there,In our country its second wave of corona is there and schools are still going online. Your article is quite motivating, trying to follow all these things but sometimes I feel not to do anything but then these posts help me to stay motivated. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Katherine

      We are currently on our third wave… so we get to restart this battle again. I’m hoping this will get better soon, but I wrote this last time to help me remember now to survive it next time… and honestly, it’s a good thing I did, because I have already forgotten some of the things I learned.

  9. Lauren

    These are some great ideas! I feel so bad for all the families who are having to Pandemicschool. As a homeschooling mom I can’t imagine not having the time to prepare myself and my family to take on that role. It’s awesome that both of you are able to do some of the teaching. One thing my kids really enjoy doing while we are on our family walks is to add in some nature study. Sometimes after they will nature journal, sometimes it’s just observing what is around us and how things are changing with the seasons.

    1. Katherine

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to write it down! We are just entering out third wave, and we get to do this all again,… so I’m mentally preparing myself, as well a physically preparing things to do and learn that are educational, fun, and stress-free for a full time working mom. Thanks for your kind comments and support!

  10. Britt K

    I love everything that you said here in terms of making the best of the current situation. We are all struggling with some aspect of this – even those who have been working outside the home like usual (my husband in essential manufacturing). It’s okay to take a moment and acknowledge that we are missing ‘normal’. In fact, it’s healthy to acknowledge our emotions and the stress that we are feeling dealing with different things. However, we don’t have to stay trapped in that thinking. As you pointed out, we can look at the silver lining and recognize the positives of this time, like more time spent with family.

  11. Lisa

    Our 4 daughters are all grown up but I still remember what it is like. We have 1 daughter and a 4-year-old granddaughter living with us and we were all trying to work and entertain her at the same time. It is a very hard thing to do but as you say you survive and know that it’s not forever. You did an amazing job well done!

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