Me: Argh!!!!!!! *head in hands*
My son: What?! *worry face* (possibly concerned he’s done something to upset me)
Me: It’s not you! I’m just having a moment – let me have it!!! *I almost cry*
(Whoops and Ugh)
I just said this 5 minutes ago as the ever-evolving information about school starting plows through my head at 86 MPH, again. This is so hard, so confusing, and so nuanced that I find I’m either in hyper planning mode OR, more likely, in a shut down and ignore everything, mode. I’m not hollering anything new here, but as a single parent, the struggle is real and I’ll just say it, harder in some ways. I am not drawing a line in the sand here as though single parents are the only ones having a hard time – I am more supportive of all home life situations than I have ever been, regardless of how many parents or caregivers you have! SO this is just my version of “hard” that I describe.
The system we had in place for the emergency home schooling was, at best, mildly functional. When I had time to focus on school work, he wasn’t having it and it was not productive. When he was ready to learn, something seemed to always come up and I was unable to help him or I’d try to ignore the “something” and I wouldn’t be present enough to truly help and support him. A lovely cycle. So I sit here and think “If that’s my roadmap for this school year, we are screwed”. Thankfully, we will have a professional, solidified learning plan in place and that will help tremendously (Don’t ask me what that looks like because we haven’t been told yet -HA!).
His school schedule will be a hybrid one – one week in the building and one week home with virtual instruction. I have too much to say about the pros and cons on this! Answers to everything are on a rolling basis, because there can’t be solid answers until a, b, or c are addressed by person 1, 2, or 3 in the school system. And not knowing is sending my anxiety about school through the roof and my son is not far behind me. “I hate math, I’m not good at it… (wait for it) I don’t even know what 2+2 is!” [long pause] We look at each other and laugh at the silliness of that statement. But the truth is, while his statement is over-the-top, that’s how he feels! I keep trying to remind him that every single kid is behind a bit in school, in one way or another. And this is just where we are all at and we will all be OK (but what does that actually mean? And AM I OK?).
Mom guilt is a real thing. As I go over logistics on getting him to and from school according to certain guidelines, deciding which mask is best for him (and what mask-wearing practice at home looks like), and attempting to get him into the same cohort as his bestie, my son gently asks me something and I snipped at him and said “I can’t parent you right now.” Oh….my…gosh. The things that are coming out of my mouth feel awful. In my mind, I am failing him consistently. I can’t even nail down the basics. Reading 20 minutes every day? Not happening. Practicing his math worksheets daily? Nope, that’s not a thing. Intellectually, I know I need to let all of that go, but I am not able to. He’s already a year behind and that’s PRE pandemic. In an effort to feel I’ve done him a solid for school, I DID buy him a desk and swivel chair to DO that work even though it’s not getting done. Does that count??
I am waiting to hear from his special ed teacher about specifics and how it will all be, but she doesn’t know more than I do. She’s getting info at the same time, however vague it is, and trying to figure out school for HER two kids AND mine. I can’t even imagine that (A quick and sincere shoutout to our teachers and staff!!).
I am feeling good with the safety precautions they have in place but what does the actual learning look like???? And what will be the social-emotional toll be on my son and ALL the kids. What will the school hours be? Will the technology for virtual week fail us? …
Yet another “BAHH!” was heard by my son and he asked from upstairs “Are you ok, Mama?” Here is a note I left for him in his bedroom:
I wanted to write you a note and share some things that have been going on in my head. I AM ok, but you are probably wondering why I am so irritated all the time. You can sense my stress level about school starting again. I won’t pretend that this is easy. This is the first, and hopefully last, pandemic we will live through. So with that, comes a lot of confusion and uncertainty. I want you to know that when I burst out in tears, or you hear an “Arghhhhh!” from me, or I hurry to the outdoor couch to lay down for a minute and play my word game, that it is never about you – not ever. In life, we all go through times that are harder than others, and this is one of those times. Pandemic life is like nothing we have ever experienced. I’m telling you this because you are my smart 9 yr old and you deserve to hear honest explanations about why parents feel icky sometimes. I AM ok. Just know that I love you, and appreciate all the hugs, sweet favors, and “are you ok, mama?’s”- It helps so much! I am always here for you to answer any questions you have. And I will always remember to breathe (best parroted advice you give me)!!
I swear I could journal – eh hem – I MEAN write blogs about this nonstop. But I’ll stop here…for now. Stay well, my fellow parents and caregivers! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t see it…but I know it is there. Don’t forget to breathe!