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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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