January 25, 2021

I remember why I’m not a stay-at-home mom now ...

After teaching face-to-face for almost a decade, I decided to call it quits this year and took a different position. This was very difficult for me as I love teaching in the classroom: it kind of reminds me of being on stage. I also miss the teacher/student connections that are made. Yet, I find that I do not miss the late students, the mass quantities of essays to grade, or the incredible amounts of energy I had to dump into my lessons every day just to get the attention of college aged learners.

So, now, I’m working from home most days, and I have to tell you that it’s pretty great. It would be really great, like kiss the sky great, if the children weren’t home with me distance learning. Holy cats why in the world did we decide to do that? Let me tell you, it’s touch and go here people. Touch and go.

I guess I should explain myself a tiny bit. We had to make this decision because our son James has suffered a great many illnesses in his lifetime. Due to this, he has a severely compromised immune system, and troubled lungs. We just can’t take chances with him. Violet is much annoyed. She would like to be at school. I think at this point she would just send James off to live with the wolves if it meant she could have the “middle school experience.” She actually said that to me, “I want the middle school experience.”

Violet. No one wants that. Middle school kids are the meanest kids you’ll ever meet. You’re here saving yourself at least one solid year of trauma and bullying, you’ll thank me later (I’m still getting over the bullying from middle school girls…).

At first I thought the idea of me working from home, and the kids distance learning would be pretty easy. I would soon find out that this would not be the case. The first week of distance learning was met with lots of internet outages at the school, and one computer (Violet’s) that crashed and froze quite frequently (something she didn’t tell me until recently….thanks to Mrs. Hartsock that’s now fixed!).

James has been kicking butt at distance ed.; honestly, I attribute this to all his years of gaming. It’s come in handy. Violet spends most days in tears, well not most. Let’s say every other day. This week has been our first tear free week, and it’s Tuesday…so far so good.

The most frustrating thing is that I can get knee deep into my own work project, and be figuring something out… then Violet hollers “MOM, I need help,” almost every time. Oh man, that drives me bonkers. It’s to the point that if I hear the words, “I need help,” in public, I may ignore them. That’s problematic, people. Problematic indeed.

Also, they’re eating all of the time. It’s almost as if this distance learning thing makes them hungrier than they’ve ever been in their lives. I keep looking at the pantry and wondering what’s happening to the food that was literally just in there. We survived summer with them home and managed not to eat everything in the house… but now that we’re in school, they need to consume MASS QUANTITIES of food.

Let’s not forget the fighting. Have I mentioned that James and Violet live to fight? I have cats and dogs, and they get along for the most part. Not these children. Insults volley back and forth from their bedrooms, and all I can holler back from my home office is, “For the love of all things holy, is your mic muted?”

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves during this short amount of time schooling and working from home together. It hasn’t all been bad. There have been lots of fun moments too, and I do enjoy helping with homework from time to time (as long as it isn’t math because I’m completely lost there).

But for the most part, I’m going to fully admit that it’s really difficult. It would be MUCH easier sending the kids to school. Learning from home is tough. Working from home while the kids are learning from home? Near impossible. It completely reminds me of being a stay at home mom, years that I admittedly did not enjoy – possibly because the children were quite inventive and very close in age.

I keep reminding myself that “this too shall pass,” and I hope that eventually I will wave goodbye to them as they bike down the path to school. But until then I will just sigh and shuffle off when I hear, “Mom, can you help?”