Hooray, It’s a Snow Day!

Though right now, is a snow day really any different than any other day aside from the fluffy white covering everywhere?

At the beginning of my district’s school year, they announced that they were getting rid of snow days. The kids are going to be remote anyways, so what’s the point? Save the days. I, if I’m being honest, 100% agreed. Let the kids get out sooner since the classrooms in our district are super hot in the summertime. Plus, it reduces the sun exposure my poor Irish skin has to be exposed to when picking up my son from school.

Apparently I was in the minority with this belief. The parents were fervent in their belief of snow days. “But the magic of snow days!” I get the point. It gives the kids a mental health day to play in the snow. Fine. Let them have snow days. I’m open-minded enough to see that there are other point of views that are better than mine. Plus, the added benefit would be that I wouldn’t have to argue with my spirited son about his school work while also trying to do my own work. It would be a win-win.

Except, that’s not really what parents wanted apparently. Today, there was a snow day called based on the forecast. Seeing it outside now, I can see why. The local forums weren’t as happy. “Why bother having a snow day?! They are remote anyways!” As much as we want to, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t just have a single snow day when we fight for snow days. You get snow days when they seem fit. The poor school district just can’t win. Either way, parents are going to be pissed at them and that pissed group is just as loud, abundance, and opinionated as the other group. Let the kids have a day where they aren’t at the computer for all those hours. Let teachers regroup, especially my poor son’s teacher. I know he isn’t easy, but he’s so cute and lovable.

I applaud my school district. They are doing what they can to make things as normal as possible right now. They are trying to do the right things for their students, teachers, and parents. It’s just extremely hard to do the right thing when everyone seems to have their own opinion as to what the right thing is. Managing the expectations of everyone when no one is on the same page must be stressful enough. I think instead of fighting them every step of the way, maybe we give them some room to navigate these unprecedented circumstances. They are learning this at the same exact time we are. If we are not going to adapt, we are teaching our kids to be stuck in their ways and this just won’t serve them for the future. You need a little flexibility to succeed and thrive, both professionally and mentally.

We can’t control everything in life, as much as we may want to. I gave up trying to control things a long time ago and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes you just have to watch things happen because the only thing that you can control is your reaction to things. Take the time to cherish this snow day, because you’ll blink and your kids will be moved out and you will wish you had this day again.

The Daily Adventures of the Verbally Abusive 8 Year Old

I feel like every day of remote learning is tearing away of what’s left of my sanity. Should the schools be opened because I’m losing my crap here? They should open when it’s determined to be safe enough. I chose to be a mother; I signed up for all of the mentally challenging parts as well as those joyous moments. My kid being more than a handful was probably my fault. I tried my best. I really did. The first one came out so well.

Joking aside, I have spent a good majority of most mornings being screamed at for entire chunks of the morning. He’s screaming about being tortured. How he’s forced to do schoolwork against his will. How sitting at a desk is torture and schools don’t care about kids and they just want to torture him and all he wants to do is play video games and revel in his defiance of everything that the adults say.

I wish I could say it was the remote learning crushing his spirit. The truth is that my spirited special boy is his own person. He spends his school day trying to work smarter, not harder. By trying out outsmart the teacher by logging minutes on things when he just “AFKs” and lets the minutes log while he pulls up game sites and YouTube on his Chromebook. It’s exhausting running in his space in the dining room, while he breaks the 1000000th headset of the school year and reminding him of all the work he should be doing. Then he shows me the work is turned in and everything is fine. It isn’t. He didn’t do it and just turned it in so that it looked completed to me. Then I get the message first thing in the morning about how he needs to the work he didn’t do the day before. Which starts this vicious cycle all over again.

I try so hard. I’m worried he will fail the 3rd grade because he doesn’t care about school. He’s 8 and doesn’t care about school. He doesn’t want to go to bed when he should. In fact, if he’s told to do anything against his will, he turns into a gremlin who ate after midnight and the wrath is felt by everyone in the house.

I try not to argue. You can’t argue with a 8 year old, especially when they start complaining about how they are suffering and being abused for having to do school work. I try to be patient, when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs and start physically pulling out the hair that is already falling out due to stress.

This is just a phase. He has anxiety and a sensory condition. It’s difficult to navigate this time, which is already pretty tricky. I take comfort in the fact that I’m told my husband was just as bad at that age. But, he turned out well as an adult. Not sure my husband put a metal toy in between the surge protector and the Chromebook cord out of boredom during school, causing the power in the entire room to go out. At least my oldest learned how to reset the fuse at the box, a valuable lesson for any adult to know.

We will make it through it together. We will navigate this tricky phase and come out better on the other side. The best I can do is make sure that he knows that he’s loved and supported, no matter how long he screams at me for being an abusive torturous mother for forcing him to do his work. I can hug him and let him know that he’s fighting for independence and I get that, but that at the end of the day he still just needs mommy cuddles. It’s hard for kids to manage their emotions, especially when they don’t even know what they are going through. It just takes some patience… and a bottle of wine after they go to sleep.

Remote Learning Will Never End

I feel like every day since remote learning started, I’m the fail mom. The one who has no idea what she’s doing because she is awful at technology. The mom who seems like the worst parent, because every day I get messages about how my child isn’t doing work. How he struggles with focus. It’s a rough journey that was supposed to end a few weeks ago but due to a spike in cases in the area, was postponed. The phase-in process for my youngest was supposed to take place on October 26 and was postponed indefinitely. My oldest was likely not going to school until the second semester. Again, who knows since his school was completely shut down due to a potential outbreak in the school (not cases contracted within the school, but people who attended parties outside of school, which led to potential exposure and quarantine of a portion of staff and students).

I wasn’t thrilled about sending them back, as I’ve mentioned several times here. I signed them up for in-person because I predicted that they weren’t going to go back for a while. I also did it because my youngest does need extra help because he struggles with focus. He needs to be at school with a teacher who knows how to accommodate his 504 plan. Sending him back does make it even more important to stay in my bubble. Not just to keep myself safe but to make contact tracing easier. Because my husband already spends a lot of time at various places throughout his work day that it makes it even more important to stay safe in a bubble.

I’m running out of ideas on how to make remote learning easier for us. I’m running out of ideas trying to play teacher while managing my workload. I don’t want to respond to the teacher, snapping “I’m doing my best here”, because I know that won’t help. She’s doing the best she can too. She probably doesn’t mean to come off judgey. Or maybe she does but doesn’t get to see that I am active in their education. I do ask to see if they did their work. I’m trying to do everything right and I fall short just like every other parent who is at home by themselves, trying to wear more hats than fit on their head.

I want this all to be over. I want this virus to just vanish as everyone tries to convince us it will. (In fact, I heard a rumor it was going to vanish after the election.) I want people to do their part so that the ones who’ve been doing the right things all along can finally get back to enjoying things. I want my kids to be safely at school. Maybe soon, I tell myself. Maybe soon.

As It Turns Out, I Would’ve Been a Terrible Teacher

I know it’s been a while. Adjusting to this new normal has been a bit crazy, but I’ve finally gotten into the swing of things again to get back to doing this. I’m hoping now I can get back to my usual schedule, but these are uncertain times so who really knows. I do promise that I’m going to try my best.

If you’re new the the blog, then you probably don’t know that I originally went to college to be a teacher. After some time in the field and doing some of the coursework, I definitely reconsidered that choice. The teachers at my college basically informed us that it was a thankless job that we’d probably fail at and that we were just glorified babysitters that get abused by parents and administration. A few of the teachers I observed seemed to be less than thrilled with their choice. I had such high hopes of having an impact on the lives of my students while sharing my passion for books and literary theory. I slowly realized maybe that wasn’t what I was meant for. So now you have me here as an adequate blogger/author. Yay you?

I often toy around with the idea of going back to school, just to do it and try. Why not? But then this new normal of remote learning with me trying to teach my kids happened. Then I realized, I would have made a terrible teacher. It definitely confirmed that elementary school wasn’t going to be my area of specialty. Especially when dealing with a child who has a 504 plan that I’m also supposed to be sticking to. Who has anxiety struggles, sensory struggles, and attention problems. My oldest one is fine. He mostly just does it all himself without asking questions, unless he’s come up with great question and wants to discuss and debate it. That I enjoy.

I would be that teacher that sneaks wine in a soda can during school. Or Bailey’s in my coffee. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m trying to manage my workload on top of playing teacher. Or if I’m just super stressed dealing with everything and wish I could just take them to the park to burn off energy, even though my youngest never runs out of energy. (I live in a house but my neighbors don’t seem to be practicing social distancing and I’m not risking it.)

This is new to all of us parents who don’t already homeschool. Trying to make sure that they keep up while trying to adjust based on their needs is a struggle, especially when you have your own work to do. Times are tough right now. You try to avoid the news so that you don’t get anxious and spread that to your kids. You try to make their lives as normal as possible when there’s nothing normal about this situation. They are scared and you have to suck it up to be their light in a tunnel that just seems to get darker every day. These are trying times. These are new times that many of us have never experienced before. But, I’m hopeful that once we get through this tunnel, we can make it through anything.