We’ve all seen the posts and memes about 2020 being like that horribly-written, low-budget movie with a totally unbelievable plotline and random cheek-clenching twists. All of this, yet we’re only halfway through the year with no stop, pause, or even fast forward buttons to speak of. And if you’ve landed on this page, we, like many others out there, probably have something in common—enter another harrowing subplot: parenting younger, school-aged children during a pandemic while holding down a full-time job. Someone please make it end (wait…I take that back, careful what you wish for because the next thing you know the apocalypse will be descending upon us in all its glory).
I give props where they are due—to all of you parents out there who actually chose homeschooling and holding down a full-time job, I applaud you. To those of you who may be shaking your head in disapproval thinking since you’re able to do it all without reaching for a bottle of alcohol by 9am, good for you, but I’m just going to tell you now—exit stage left and go on with your happy life, this probably isn’t the place for you. For the rest of you, maybe reading my rants will help you feel just that much better when you realize you definitely aren’t alone and this isn’t easy. While I’ve got a number of years of parenting under my belt, it’s my first time homeschooling, and during a pandemic no less. I was ready to retire and call it quits by the end of the first two weeks. I love my children. I’m great at what I do in my career. I’M EXHAUSTED. I didn’t choose this, and I want a refund for this whole 2020 movie!
First and foremost, I can honestly tell you that I’m pretty skilled at juggling priorities. It’s what I do. At any given point I may be handling multiple contracts at the same time, each with different deadlines, specs, and varying personalities that I’m required to collaborate with from time to time to make sure the end-result is achieved. Even with all of that experience though, I find it almost unbearably difficult to manage my job and homeschooling my children at the same time. I can do one or the other, I don’t have the energy or patience to do both.
Let’s set the scene:
my youngest is a kindergartener. No need to elaborate too much further on the details, it all goes downhill from there. Those of you who’ve already been through this stage or are currently there now can probably relate. I know we were all kind of thrown into this whirlwind when the schools unexpectedly had to shut down, but roughly 15 pages of busywork certainly wasn’t enough to sustain my child. I’ve had to cut time from my regular work day to help him with research for his additional school work to help keep him on track. And of course one thing we don’t get is extra time in a day, so when I have to divert hours from my regular work day to help him, I pay for it on the back end by working well into the evening and the night when the kids have finally logged off from their virtual school day or have gone to sleep for the night.
So shout out to all the parents, people who chose homeschooling, full-time, part-time, and even some-time workers out there. Being an essential worker, however it is that you may define it, is nothing short of being a superhero.