Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn
- The pandemic that caused a worldwide lockdown
- Why I’m writing this post
- The truth about being a stay at home parent during the lockdown
- Becoming a homeschooling Mama
- The adjustment period we will all face
- Side effect a lot of us may experience
- What we need to do to get through this
It was December last year in 2019, I overheard vaguely there was a virus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I heard it on the news here and there, but the severity of it all was still unknown. At the time, it was just another issue a country was dealing with and I wasn’t worried about it. Then, just a few short weeks ago we were issued a worldwide lockdown protocol for a massive pandemic. A virus they call COVID-19. (Side note: They came up with a killer name – no pun intended) 😉 They have advised everyone that is non-essential to stay in our homes, keep our distance and to do as much as we could to flatline the infection curve. Our schools were closed for a few weeks, which was perfect timing for March Break, but then the unthinkable happened. Everything else started closing too. Restaurants, stores, parks, play centres, you name it and the closure of schools became indefinite.
Sounds like a pandemic movie, right?
Why Am I Writing This Post?
So here is the kicker. When this all started a few weeks ago it came as a shock, but at the same time, I felt it was a huge blessing. There was a time when so many of us wanted to stay home with our kids and spend more quality time with each other and we were finally given this amazing opportunity. Right? So I started a blog post…. I started back in early March writing about how the pandemic started, what it has done to society and all our restrictions, and how we are now all forcibly staying in our homes surrounded by our loved ones. Such a great time to take advantage of all those crafts we wanted to do with our kids, all the meals we will get to make together, all the walks we will get to do and all the places we could sightsee. (as long as we stay in the car). However, that day I never got to finish the post as my 1-year-old was trying to climb all over me and it was just about time to start supper. So I figured I would come back to it another day…and that day…is today….
Here Is The Problem…
Things have changed. They have gone from bad to worse and there is no light at the end of this tunnel…yet. They have gone from a few weeks of lockdown to months….could be 6 to 18 months. This has caused a HUGE mental shift in my thinking and I’m sure for others. What was once a blessing is now something I almost can’t even describe. So I erased my entire post and restarted….with this one.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a blessing in the ability to stay home with all my kids 24/7, but at the same time…let’s be realistic. Staying home ALL DAY, EVERY DAY is HARD!!! Now let’s add on becoming a homeschooling mama with an infant running around AND I’m PREGNANT? Plus, we have such a limited ability to take the kids out and do much of anything.
Becoming A Homeschool Mama
So, it’s was only about two weeks ago I received an email saying the schools were looking into Online Learning options for the kids. They were not sure about the methods of delivery or how it would work, but they would let us know when they came to a decision. Then we got the notice that this last Monday would start a new journey of Online Learning with Google Classroom. I have to say, the first week was a success! I managed to help Kierra and Lexi with their individual assignments and get them all completed.
However, it was the most stressful and busy week I have had yet. Between waking up and getting breakfast on the table, managing to find the time to eat for myself, cleaning up and getting first assignments done, putting Rylan down for a nap and continuing the assignments, followed by lunchtime, play outside, more school studies, more play outside, another nap for Rylan, getting supper on the table, cleaning up after dinner and getting kids ready for bed…..I was completely done. Worn out. The problem is….Rylan has fought his naps all week. Trying to put him down for a nap was frustrating and time-consuming. Managing this while trying to help each of my girls individually with their assignments was proven to be extremely difficult. I never stopped.
Then, because Rylan didn’t want to nap and fought it tooth and nail, he would stay up and be clingy and very irritated…ALL… DAY… LONG. Not to mention, when the kids would get hungry and needed a snack, they became impatient and kept asking for food while I’m either trying to get Rylan down for nap attempt number 2, 3, 4, 5.….and then to know we still needed more work done….AUGH! But like I said…it was a success because it was all completed.
Working Parents & Kids
Now there is a whole other group of you out there I give HUGE KUDOS to. Those of you who have to work from home, either full-time or part-time and have to school your kids and maybe even have an infant or toddler running around too. I have NO IDEA how you guys manage. The stress and breaking points you must feel on an hourly basis. To only get a few minutes into your work to have a child interrupt you and you have a deadline just around the corner. Or maybe you have put in your full day of work to only have accomplished one hour of work because you had your family to attend to. You are doing such an incredible job. I know it is hard as I find my situation hard, but we just have to keep pushing and know this can’t last forever!
The Adjustment Period
Just like anything we do there is going to be an adjustment period. This is usually associated with an uncomfortable feeling because it’s something new or different. By the end of the week, I had come up with a working schedule I would write on a whiteboard listed for the kids to see. This prevented them from constantly asking for food. They were able to see how much time we would focus on completing their work, as well as playing outside. I even did research on Google for “Homeschool Outside Learning Activities” and managed to create the “Texture Walk”. This is where we talk about the textures we may find outside and I also had them spell the word and wrote it on a piece of paper. We then went outside and found these items/things that were associated with the words and talked about why.
I have learned advance planning is going to be key for this to work as we have been notified schools won’t likely go back in for this term, and I have accepted they may not go back to school at all this year for 2020. So…each weekend…including this one…I will make a master schedule, print out any and all activities I need for the week and really make the best of this situation. Even though, daily I feel like I’m using everything to keep it together and not have a complete mental breakdown.
The Side Effects
Let’s face it. I was a stay at home mom for 14 months before this all happened and I was about to go back to work March 24th. Due to the virus that all fell through and I won’t be returning at all. As baby #4 is due in late September 2020, I will not have the ability to get another job and will remain home with the kids until further notice. My husband is a mechanic and deemed an essential service and his day to day has hardly shifted. He still goes to work daily and comes home per usual. To him, life as he knows it is very much the same. I….however…am falling apart….my hopes of getting my career back on schedule has drifted to an unforeseen future, I’m stuck at home all day, every day with limited options to get out…I am an extremely social person and LOVE to get out and be around people…and I have just been LOCKED in a BOX! Emotionally I struggle daily. Literally, with everything I have, I suck it up and just pull through. When he gets home from work…I just want to check out. I want things to go back to normal, I want to see my friends and family, I want to be able to go window shopping, I miss having my kids help me with groceries but now it’s unsafe as they may be contaminated with the virus.
The truth is real….people all over the world, even those who don’t suffer from mental distress are now faced with it daily. Being cooped up for weeks or even months has a serious effect on our mental state. As for those who suffer mental illness….they are crumbling….absolutely losing it. They feel life is worthless, their friends and family are farther out of reach and they feel so isolated and alone. Times have become hard and unfortunately, they will get harder.
What We Need To Do
Now more than ever we need to find ways to get together and be there for each other. We need to find ways to socialize and keep our distance. We need to still feel the happy, the fun, the enjoyment of life by being creative with the options we do have. It will not be easy and we are still going to have those days…maybe even a lot of them, we just want to lose it. But we need to try to stay strong and find the moments we enjoy that hold us together. Seeing my little girl get so excited she can read a new word, or how happy my oldest was to learn “our way” of doing math and she felt so accomplished. It makes us as parents feel joy and know we are doing a good job.
So hang in there parents! Until further notice, we are our children’s 24/7 lives. Day in and day out. Though this may be a scary thought because of how hard it can be…..just know…one day we will reflect on this pandemic and tell our kids when they are older what we went through and hopefully, they will have an appreciation for what we have done for them.
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