It’s 6:06am as I sit here and write this. The littles are still sleeping and it’s eerily quiet in my house. Don’t take that as a complaint. It’s not. It’s just rare. Well, I guess it used to be rare. These days it seems this is the new norm.
Get a workout in.
Open the laptop.
While I’d love for the rest of the day to be more scheduled, the truth is it is not.
As most of us parents are working from home at least partially now, we have gotten into a whole new routine. As a working parent I never imagined my days to look like this. Sure, prior to the pandemic our mornings were chaos and usually rushed. There were messes made, tantrums thrown and very little silence. I take that back – NO silence. Then all of a sudden things halted.
While a part of me misses the chaos and our old routine, a big part of me is so thankful for the time that I’ve been able to spend with my children. It’s time I never would have spent with them since I work full-time. Kind of sad when you think about it. And don’t get me wrong here, I LOVE my job and am thankful to enjoy going to work and to love what I do. But I think just about every parent would love a little more time with their kids. I mean, I would most definitely choose a different environment for that quality time. One with less restrictions. One without masks. But nonetheless, here we are.
Yet even with the restrictions we have set forth to make this the best summer ever. It looks a lot different from past summers since we come from a huge family and have a large group of friends. The biggest difference has been the lack of social engagements. No big cookouts. Very few birthday parties. No concerts. Side note: We took our daughters to 3 concerts last year (our youngest was 4) and it was the BEST decision. Especially now that we’re in this environment. To watch their excitement as they experienced live music was an absolute joy! Our fingers are crossed for #concerts2021!!
Despite having to avoid large crowds and gatherings, I’d say we’re having a pretty epic summer. Even with two full-time working parents our littles are living their best life outdoors. Lots of crafting, nature, and bike rides. It’s the way summer should be. Simple.
But as August progresses and there is so much chatter about BTS (back to school) I started to have lots of feelings. Sadness and anxiety were immediate. Then came excitement and eagerness (is that a word??). Now the anxiety is absolutely still there. It will continue to be there. Our schools are rolling out the hybrid model with two days in school and three days remote. So, as working parents, we now need to figure out:
- Afterschool care on the two days they will be in school.
- Childcare on days they will be home.
- Tutor/Teacher on days they will be learning remotely.
We experienced the spring where I worked remotely while also being mom, teacher, chef, housekeeper, and eventually crazy person. The one thing we’re sure of is that situation needs to, and will be, avoided.
So then came the feelings of excitement and eagerness. I can assure you that we still have no idea what our game plan is. The uncertainty is real. And a bit unnerving. But I know we’re not alone and it will all work out.
I have spent many nights awake thinking about our current environment and mainly from the perspective of our 5- and 7-year old’s. Imagine what is going through their minds. At least as adults we know how to process and deal with our emotions a bit better and to also find solutions. So that’s what I did. I asked myself how I could make this school year the best it could possibly be. I mean, our littlest is going into Kindergarten and that’s kind of a big deal!! It’s a huge year for her (and for us) and we’re sure as heck not going to let Covid ruin it. I see so many articles and blogs and posts on my social media about how this school year is going to be awful for the kids and super depressing and blah blah blah. Hey parents – DON’T LET IT!
Our kids look to us for reactions to events and situations. They watch our emotions and most often times feed off of them. So, it’s really quite simple – be positive. I get it, much easier said than done. And of course, you’re not expected to believe it’s going to be a perfect environment or that the world isn’t a crazy place right now. And you’re certainly not expected to lie to your kids. They are smart and absolutely feel the state of the world right now.
What I’m saying is to put a positive spin on it. Let them pick out some cool masks that help their personality shine through. Take the opportunity to set up some study sessions with a few close friends. It’s a mix of socialization and learning in a small tight-knit group. Go back-to-school shopping and let them choose some new clothes. And one thing that we’re super excited about is designing our own home classroom. We picked out supplies and décor together and are completely redoing my home office into a space for them. Their own special learning environment. I mean, it’s still going to have shiplap but they like that too.
I’ve noticed that since we started planning and prepping for the school year, they seem happier. They’ve picked out some fun masks (I found some adorable organic ones on Etsy), and we’ve picked out paint colors and supplies for their new classroom. It’s amazing what our positive vibes can do for our kiddos.
We can’t change the current environment. We have to adapt to it. And we can do so in a negative way or a positive way. I’ll always choose positive and urge you to as well. Because the smiles you’ll see on their faces are truly worth it!