I am going to start this post by saying, I 100% agree with the decision Governor Evers made to close Wisconsin schools due to COVID-19. It’s crucial to #flattenthecurve and follow the CDC’s recommendations, but 31 days off school is a lot of time together at home for my family.
I don’t want my kids home this long.
I feel guilty, but this was my first thought when I heard the announcement. I choose not to be a stay at home parent because it isn’t the right career for me. I don’t love every minute of school breaks. I struggle to stay calm and balance education with fun. So, the prospect of 31 days home together without being able to go to many places, induces a sense of panic.
My kids thrive in structure.
Who am I kidding? I thrive in a structured environment too. I’ve created a schedule of activities for the day to try to balance things like math, reading, and writing with creative time. I’ve scheduled screen time and helping around the house. My goal for a schedule is to keep us all on the same page because, honestly, I am worried I will give into their nearly constant requests for more screen time.
Change and uncertainty are hard.
Suddenly, the kids are out of school, my wife is working from home, and my nearly constant business travel is halted. Our lives changed so quickly, and there is so much we don’t know. I realize how fortunate my family is that we can both flex our schedules to be with our kids as they are home. We don’t have to worry about food or extra expenses.
Still, I’ve said, “I don’t know” to my kids more times than I can count when answering their questions about COVID-19. The anxiety they have about change and uncertainty is fueling the anxiety I have about change and uncertainty.
School gives me a break.
I love my kids, but I don’t enjoy being around them every moment of the day. The six and a half hours they are at school each day is my chance to take a deep breath, get some work done, and maybe shower alone. While I worry about them at school, that time apart helps me recharge to be a more present, patient, and engaged parent. How will I be at the top of my parenting game with them home every minute?
How will we get through the next 31 days?
I honestly don’t know how we are going to get through the next 31 days. I’m sure I will yell and give in to the demands for screen time and snacks. There will be tears and slammed doors. I hope there will be smiles, laughs, and extra snuggles too.
On April 14, when the kids go back to school, I’m hoping we all have a better understanding of how to put the needs of our community before our personal needs.