Feeling “schooled”

For a lot of us, we might wake up with a little dread this morning as “Spring Break” is over and with that realization means a wave of guilt/panic as we remember we need to take a break from trying to squeeze in work, conference calls, client emails, and actually try and teach our kids something.

But. If you are anything like me, I keep having these great ideations of a “schedule” and then real life kicks in. And peeps, when I say schedule, I DON’T mean one of those beautiful schedules like this

Ha! (yeah freaking right).

I mean something like — I hope that I can get the kids off their electronics around 11 AM, get them to do 30 minutes of reading, eat lunch together as a family with no screens, then 30 minutes of math. That is all I am going for. And . . . even then we have ourselves tearing out our hair. I have these visions where I can teach my kids lovingly — even for just an HOUR — a freaking hour. They have other ideas. I can get my son to sit down and read, but getting my daughter to try . . . we both end up getting frustrated. I feel guilty I am not working with my son more 1:1 and frustrated that my daughter doesn’t have the same love and affinity for reading. I thought doing homework was bad. The PRESSURE and guilt of this is HARD. When we get to math, it admittedly comes easier, and because it comes easier . . . we just sort of forget to do it.

Ok Wendy, well drop it already. Let’s just not worry about it. Make sure they are safe and loved and you are golden. They know how to use the microwave and toaster oven now? That’s Home Economics! They learned how to hammer and sand. You’re teaching Shop. They are baking and learning how to measure? Science! Yes, we have glimmers of amazingness. Glimmers when we think we’re doing something right. I think that accounts for like 2% of 50% of our days. Now you are saying Wendy, serisously, it is OK! Guys. Trust me. I have come to that realization a hundred times. Alas, it doesn’t relieve the anxiety 100% of the time. “Are we screwing up our kids?” is a conversation my husband and I have (a lot) and even when we decide we are not . . . it doesn’t mean that conversation is just over. More on that below.

One of my friends reposted an image the other day that I found so powerful from the Common Wild, a crazy talented illustrator based out of Australia.

First, I want to say this. No one has their sh** together. NO one. Especially not me. Hear that. NO ONE HAS ALL THEIR SH** TOGETHER!!! If they tell you they do, they are lying. I stand by that.

Okay, now, take a minute and really study this image. Read each blurb.

I hope this makes you feel better. I know it did that for me. I love how this illustrator, Paula Kuka, really captures everything I have been feeling but not been able to articulate. This 100% explains why I feel like I am running like a chicken with my head cut off and running in a million different directions each day.

Where does that leave us? I have one nugget of helpfulness for you: BLINDERS.

On my GOOD days, I put on something I call blinders. I focus on the good, what I can do, and I ignore ALL of the beautiful Pinterest Schedules and Tips and focus on what I can do in a given moment. If I see a hint of something that starts to give me anxiety, feeling not good enough, not a great parent, feel a sense of OVERWHELM, I BLOCK it. I am BLIND to it. I shove it aside. I focus on what I CAN do.

Easy always? Heck no. Just like giving up late night snacking is a struggle and a habit you need to build, blinders are too. It is not a one and done. It is a process. Note, I OFTEN have to remind myself, “Blinders Wendy, BLINDERS!!!”

My thought process during the day goes something like this . . .

Wake up until about 7:30 AM

Today is going to be THE day that my kids get more work done. Where is that packet again? Do I really have to print out TWO packets. Holy ink. But my second grader knows this stuff already. Aren’t we doing some of this in regular conversation? Can’t I just have him read a book and teach him how to do long division instead. (Do I remember how to do long division, let’s bust out some paper and pencils and see. Ok, I got it. Mostly). Looking at the packet again, ok some of this seems too hard for my Kindergartener. We are going to work on her sight words – reading and writing. Ok, she knows almost all the Kindergarten sight words, where can I find the First Grade ones? Or is that too much because can she really find those sight words ON the books we are reading? UGH! This is too much work to find all of this stuff. Don’t people know I am trying to run two businesses? Maybe I should sign them up for one of those online programs I keep seeing the mom boards talk about. But. Do I REALLY want to spend $ on that? Really, who needs that? They are going to be AOK, I am teaching them life skills! But oh my gosh, am I? Does popping popcorn count? Am I junking their brains with too much screen time. If I sign up for an online program, that is just more screen time. I wish the teachers could Zoom with them. I would love a daily meeting. This Microsoft Team Meeting thing is hard. Why is it only once a week? Also, so many usernames and passwords to remember. UGH. Why doesn’t the software work with my computer? I need to figure that out. The kids miss their friends. How long will this last? I can’t wait for summer! Will there be summer camp? Will it be safe to have grandparents babysit? Will we still be home? If so, will summer be more of the same because if I am utterly failing at it now, IF I can keep up SOME learning over the summer, I will have evened it out? Brain overload. I need more coffee. Ok, I will figure this out later.

7:30 – 10 AM

Wow, they are being so nice and quiet. They are plugged in. I am plugged in and getting stuff done. Need to workout. I can push “school” to later.

10-1130 AM

I have no idea what is happening during this time. Literally. Lost time. Accept I am running around saying Peeps, we need to do SOMETHING. Turn off the TV and go play! Play!!!!! I promise we will sit and do some school soon and Mommy and Daddy will get off their computers.

1130 AM

Son wants lunch. Make lunch. Somehow it lasts over an hour. I think? I have no idea. Somehow it also becomes . . .

2 PM

Somehow it is 2PM — shoot, we NEED to do some schoolwork. Insert “helpful” husband talking about how he talked to a lady that is doing 4 hours of school a day and “are we . . . (we) . . . WE (see what I did there) failing our children. Hon, we really need to do something!”

Insert freak out at husband. They will be fine!!! No one can possibly hold down their jobs and do 4 hours of school! Besides, our KIDS would NOT go for that.

Insert internal thought process: is he right? Are we screwing them up?

Somehow we lot another hour.

3 – 630 PM

Who knows what is happening now . . . oh my gosh we need to CLEAN this house. It is a disaster. I am sick of stepping on popcorn in the kitchen. I need to work. They are quiet again, running around outside, time for me to hop on the computer catch up on e-mails.

7 PM

How are we JUST now eating dinner? “Kids, mommy and daddy feel like we are failing you. We need to do more school work tomorrow.” “NOOOOO – -all we do is schoolwork!!! Let us be!” (To self – well, at least if anyone asks, they will be duped and think we didn’t fail our kids since the kids think 0-30 minutes of work was hours upon hours. Just like our Kindergartner told her teacher that she has been “eating healthy” when asked what she was up to and “eating strawberries and blueberries.” Ask me the last time we had strawberries and blueberries in the house? Ask me how many treats they get sneak a day?

845 PM

How are the kids just now going to bed? Scroll some social media. See moms lamenting over the same. Feel normal. See a mom with a beautiful “schedule.” Feel failure. Insert BLINDERS Wendy BLINDERS!!! Shut it all down and pour a glass of wine. It will be better tomorrow. I got this . . . tomorrow.

Wake up. Rinse. Repeat.

Here is the thing. This is hard and unprecedented. It would have been unfathomable a month ago and suddenly it is our reality. I need you to come out of this with ONE take away: Ain’t no one got their sh** together.

So, if you see someone’s beautiful Facebook or Instagram images or story in your scroll and you think that person is doing something right and you are not, I want you to do 2 things:

  1. Know that there is something behind the scenes you do not see. Yelling. Crying. Help from someone else (you see all the cooking I do, do you think I actually clean too? Ha. Nope. LOTS of help peeps). You see me giggling with my kids. You don’t think I make them cry? Ha. You think I don’t slam a door like a surly teen every now and then? Double ha. We all have our faults. No one is innocent here. No one is perfect.
  2. Blinders. If you see an image that doesn’t serve you. That makes you want to throw up. That doesn’t inspire you and instead makes you feel inadequate? Scroll on.

Blinders.

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