Dear virtual learning,
It’s not me, it’s you.
Okay, maybe it’s a little bit me, but I need to get this out; so, just sit there silently judging my parenting skills from the abyss of Google Classroom like usual.
I have three children under the age of 10. They are funny, annoying, hilarious, emotionally draining, vastly entertaining and gross – so gross. It’s the best, it’s the worst – it’s parenting. Even when one of them learns how to whistle loud enough to summon orcas from the ocean while the other two are actively grinding glitter slime into their clothing; I still really love being their mom.
But, virtual learning is ruining my relationship with them.
I’m not blaming anyone. Every parent, student, educator and administrator across the globe is doing their best in an impossible situation.
It is not our beloved, wildly underfunded local public school’s fault that my funny, confident, first grader is being turned into an overwhelmed, crying mess.
It’s not the vastly under-appreciated teachers‘ faults that I have to run from one child to the other with increasing levels of frenzy to login to Zoom meetings and keep track of schedules and beg them to please write one more sentence while my work and household falls by the wayside.
If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s Covid-19 and an archaic approach to public education, but that doesn’t change the reality. I’m exhausted. They’re stressed out. None of us are thriving in this situation and I can’t help but wonder if it’s time to call it quits.
My kids can learn every sight word and math fact under the sun; but, if I don’t teach them personal boundaries when their (and my) mental health is at stake, will I have failed?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I really don’t want to get it wrong.
Maybe, for now, I just practice raw honesty. I acknowledge that this isn’t normal and it isn’t easy. For once, I’ll agree with them that it sucks, all the things suck, it SUCKS. I let them see me struggle with the changes and apologize when I lose my cool. Maybe, we all have a whole lots of grace for each other and we keep going.
I keep bribing them to finish their work in exchange for stale Easter Peeps and screen time. They keep sitting at the kitchen table grinding snacks into computer keyboards while they work. Their teachers keep being underpaid magicians and we all keep hoping everything goes back to normal someday.
Please god, let it go back to normal.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.