It’s Okay to Admit You’re Drowning Sometimes

Fun fact: I don’t know how to swim. I’m not entirely sure if this has to do with me having just one more irrational fear when it comes to it or if my problem lies more in the sun. More exactly, a family history of skin cancer and what some refer to as an obscenely pale complexion. This doesn’t bother me and my oldest is actually a talented competitive swimmer, primarily thanks to my mother giving him a solid core to work with. That type of drowning, definitely do not recommend.

With everything going on right now, and I don’t just mean the pandemic complicating life, it’s okay to admit that you’re drowning. It’s okay to admit that you’re drowning under the stress of working from home, remote learning, doing everything that’s expected of you on a daily basis without you having a breather to yourself. (Maybe that’s just me.) I admit it. Some days, I barely feel as though my head is over the water. I’m still standing every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It just means my parents taught me to go down flailing.

It sucks right now. I really does. There’s no place for solace, because everyone is arguing about everything. It’s politics this or racism that. It’s insulting people because they want to err on the side of caution while there’s an ongoing pandemic going on. It’s people who have other inner struggles going on that are just being worsened by the constant load of crap being piled on them by people hiding behind keyboards like they are some type of superior human being. So, it’s okay to admit that everything is crap right now. There’s no weakness in that. There’s no shame in saying it. If people want to be jerks about your complaints or declarations, don’t worry, they are probably even bigger jerks in reality. It’s not you; it’s them.

It’s because of what everyone expects of us. We lose jobs and income, but we’re supposed to just magically find something else. Spoiler: that’s not always easy depending on your career history or education or core skills. Or, if you have to be home with kids who are remote learning. We have family that spends more time obsessing over your failures than praising your accomplishments. There are people who just like belittling people for whatever reason. There are so many things that are out of our control right now, it’s no wonder so many of us feel like we’re floundering.

Normally, I end with some lesson or words of positivity. Some days, finding that positivity is harder than others. Today, I think the comfort can be found in the fact that you’re not the only one who feels like you’re drowning. We all have our moments, especially lately, where it’s hard to catch your breath. What matters is that you find that bit of courage and strength that’s hidden away to help yourself through the day, whether it’s inspiration from the stunning foliage or a chocolate bar sitting on your desk or just having that perfectly made iced coffee. I can’t guarantee that any of this is going to get better anytime soon. But I can say that you’re awesome and that you got this.

Making the Best of a Situation

I think one of the best things about children is that they are resilient. They always heal quick. They are fighters, not letting tiny things like us saying “No” stand in the way of anything that they do. They don’t let a scraped knee keep them from running around a playground. This resilience is what will help them overcome what’s going on in the world… but only if we teach them.

I see people upset about canceling trick or treating and Thanksgiving dinner, and potentially Christmas. Imagine the kids! But the thing is… kids will get over it if we teach them to. They aren’t going to be 40 years old and remember that one year that they didn’t have a birthday party or get to wear a costume and get free candy. They aren’t going to remember that one year that they didn’t go everywhere to eat food for the holidays. They will remember the pandemic, but they will remember how YOU taught them to handle it. Those experiences that you gave them in place of the ones that they would normally have. You could choose to mope about this crap… or you could teach your children to overcome it.

I choose to teach my kids new experiences to replace the old. I choose to not let things that I can’t control determine my happiness. If we can’t go out trick or treating, why not have an outdoor movie night by the illegal open fire in our backyard? They can run around with the dogs and glow sticks and enjoy the quiet night. Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner where we go to 3 different houses or invite people over, why not do something fun like a traditional Korean “small plates” (banchan) dinner? I for one, am thankful to not have to slave over a Thanksgiving dinner or have to run around to 5 different places or even spend money on an overpriced Halloween costume. I’m choosing to teach my children to adapt, take things in stride, and find something good while everything else around them is blowing up into a huge pile of crap.

If we dwell on the things that we are missing out on, we are teaching our kids not to be resilient. We are teaching them that they have to be miserable rather than choosing to find the positive in any situation. If we teach them that they shouldn’t be resilient and adaptable, how will that affect them as adults? Well, I imagine you’ll teach children that they have to sit down and take it rather than make the best of a situation. They will tell their bosses “No, I don’t like this so I’m going to act like a brat about it”, then they get fired. Instead, when you teach them resilience, they won’t let things bother them. They’ll be less stressed. They’ll find the best in the situation and use that to overcome whatever challenges that they face.

… Or you could teach them that the world revolves around them and they shouldn’t adapt. Why should they adapt? They are used to one thing and that’s all they know and they shouldn’t change. Right? That’s something that makes a lot of sense and won’t contribute to raising another entitled generation….

The Impossible Position of Our Schools

Our district just laid out a draft for the upcoming school year. I feel bad because no one is going to be happy. The fact of life is that they can’t please everyone. They will get slammed with insults. How dare they make our kids wear masks?! Good luck. Maybe I’m unique in making my kids practice wearing masks in anticipation of this requirement, even if we’re at home. Why? Because the masks aren’t going away anytime soon and neither is this pandemic. It’s common sense.

The smart play would be to take this process in phases, much like the reopening of the state. Start off by doing the remote-only option for students who don’t need any special attention at the schools. This allows the students who actually need to be in school, whether they receive OT or other services, to go there in the safest way possible. Then, as the situation starts to get better, slowly transition into their hybrid model. Then finally, when they get to the threshold of under 5% positive cases, they can safely return to full-time. It should be a slow, phased-in process. If it’s good enough for reopening the states, it’s good enough for the schools. If things start to get bad again, roll back to the previous phase.

Granted, I’m not an expert on the educational system. This is all opinion as an outside observer. I think a rational approach, not a political one, is the approach we should take. This isn’t the teachers being too lazy to teach; it’s them not getting paid enough to risk their lives (or the lives of their loved ones). They didn’t sign up to be babysitters, people who take bullets for our kids. But that’s often the realities of their job. The perception of their job. It’s not their fault a pandemic has taken over the country and there’s no leadership stepping in to stop it. They definitely didn’t sign up to potentially die of a virus in a slow and excruciating manner because parents need the kids to back to school.

As a parent, I’m concerned about sending my kids to school. I’m concerned about them bringing something home that could kill someone with my craptastic immune system. I’m concerned about them bringing something to school that could potentially kill someone else. I’m concerned that my kid won’t keep his distance from others or keep his mask on all day. I’m concerned that my oldest will take an overly crowded bus to school, then swap around to 7 different classes and god knows where he got whatever he brought home. It’s a mess. This whole thing is impossible for our underfunded school systems to deal with. And they aren’t the ones responsible for this mess.

So let’s not get mad at the schools for trying to keep our kids and themselves safe from becoming another statistic of this virus. Let’s work together and start supporting our schools for everything that they do for our children. Ask what they need. My school district gives out lunches during the week, even though it’s summer, to ensure the kids are eating well. My school district seems intent on wanting the safest approach while still educating my children. I appreciate them for trying their best and working with what they have. They deserve our appreciation, not our scorn.

Living in this New World

I can’t say that this being locked up thing is getting to me. It honestly really isn’t. I wasn’t one who really liked going out too much anyways, so being forced to stay home for the sake of my own terrible immune system and to protect others seems perfectly fine to me. I never really use babysitters aside from 2-3 times a year, so having the kids around me 24/7 is something that doesn’t get to me because that’s my normal anyways. I can get more work done. Fit in more time for things like working out and clearing out the DVR of all those trashy reality shows I didn’t have time for. What perfect time to escape this horrible reality we live in right now than fake, trashy reality shows that gives your brain a break?

As things start to open up, I keep going “nah, I’m good”. I’m not ready yet. I won’t be ready until the numbers are down to next to nothing or there’s a vaccine/actual medicine to help prevent the virus or significantly reduce the symptoms. I’ve very much prone to upper respiratory infections. I’ve had sinus infections so bad the doctor orders me to take steroids and bed rest. If something like that can take me out, the idea of something more serious doesn’t make me feel safe at all.

But schools will be starting in fall. My youngest will have his 8th birthday in September and my oldest will have his rescheduled Confirmation ceremony a few weeks later. These are events where I would normally throw parties that people love because I make a lot of adequate tasting food. But having a party while this is all going on? That’s silly to me. I have family members with compromised immune systems. I have a terrible immune system. Attending parties like this or inviting parties into my home is not something I’m about right now. Other people can make the choice to have a massive party, but honestly I’m out. I’ll be clear right now. Nope. Don’t be insulted. I don’t mean it as an insult. But I have to make decisions that are right for my family. And I don’t think my family could function without me.

After discussing an idea I was offered by my father with my husband, I realized a great idea to have some celebration for these events while minimizing risks. People can come to the house between certain hours on those dates if they want to drop off a present and/or just say “Hi”, then they can take a cupcake and goody bag for the kids, then people can keep cycling in as they want throughout the day. I don’t have to worry about figuring out a socially distanced birthday party with my small house, which would be even more complicated if it rains and I can’t take advantage of my decently sized lawn. And I can properly disinfect after each guest. And it helps people who don’t want to sit around at a kid’s party all day long so that they can leave without sounding rude. It seems like a great idea in theory. We’ll see if people get insulted when they get their invitations.

The point is, everyone is working through this matter at their own pace. Some people are ready to have big parties, and that’s okay for them. Some people aren’t ready to do anything. That should be equally okay. People shouldn’t be insulted by people not wanting to attend parties right now. I’m waiting until my doctors and the experts on this matter to say “It’s all good now, folks”. Forcing others to move at a pace they aren’t ready for and shaming them or getting angry at them for working at a different pace is actually kind of selfish and terrible. People interpret information differently. Some insist this is a hoax. That’s cool. Some prefer to err on the side of caution for whatever reason. That’s also cool. It’s not your place to tell anyone what they should be doing while people are dying around them. You do you, let me do me.