It’s probably every kid’s dream come true. School is canceled …indefinitely! They get to stay home and do whatever they want…kind of.
All of our kids are home, but I think we can all agree that this is no summer vacation.
I’m a SAHM mom to 4 kids, and sheltering in place is hard. Really hard. I thought it wouldn’t be that different from our normal summer routine. I’m not one to sign our kids up for anything, and really love the carefree days of no schedules, plenty of outside time, and creative play. It’s a true break from the rest of the school year and helps us all recharge.
But this isn’t summer vacation. I feel anything but carefree as I worry about how much my kids are learning, how much we’re all fighting, and how long we’ll need to stay socially distant from the people we love. And those are small worries compared to the huge worry I’m constantly fighting off that people we know could become critically ill or even die. The mental load I’m carrying right now is exhausting.
Then there’s the physical exhaustion. My kids are 8, 6, 3, and 1. I’m used to being on call most of the day. But I used to have some breaks where I wasn’t caring for all four, all the time. It’s nearly impossible for me to effectively help my kids distant learn when they still need so much hand-holding to access their lessons and stay on task. Meanwhile, my preschooler and toddler cause constant mayhem in the background when I can’t give them attention. I feel like everyone is suffering as I run from child to child trying to put out fires.
Did I mention I’m also trying to keep the house somewhat together and figure out meals with the supplies we have on hand, so no one has to go to the store?
So, yeah, this isn’t summer vacation. We can go outside, but our yard and a few open space areas are our only options. There are no trips to the beach, the zoo, or the aquarium. There’s no eating out on weekends to get a break from cooking. There’s no visiting with grandparents so that I can sit for a little bit while my kids cuddle and play with them.
In summer, we also don’t have to worry about school. Distance learning isn’t homeschooling. I didn’t design these lessons. I’m trying to implement what another teacher has put in place. I’m scrambling to find websites and books to fill in the gaps when my kids zoom through their assignments and are looking for something new to do. I’m trying to lesson plan at night so that we can have more hands-on learning activities and less screen-based ones.
I’m also trying to keep perspective. Luckily, my kids are young, and this gap in their schooling shouldn’t be too detrimental. They are not dealing with the disappointments of a lost semester of college, no prom, or no graduation. We have food on the table, and my husband is still working.
But our young kids have their own disappointments. They miss playing with their cousins, aunts, and grandparents. There was no big family Easter party this year. We had to cancel our trip to Disney, and my daughter won’t have her First Communion this Spring. There will be no fanfare of kindergarten graduation. Everyone is adjusting and learning to adapt.
This isn’t summer vacation. But my kids are happy, and I’m guessing that overall, yours are too. They’re home with the people they love. They get to sleep in and wear pj’s during “school.” They get way more recess than they usually do and less homework. It might not feel like a summer vacation to us, but I have a feeling that it feels more like a summer vacation to them. Maybe, for now, that’s enough.
How are you feeling with everyone at home? Can you find moments to recharge during this “permanent vacation?”