2020 is a game of “Would You Rather?” where our daily choices range from eating a crap sandwich to sliding down a razor blade into hand sanitizer. No matter the choice you make, it’s going to be a little painful.
Working parents, when it comes to picking how to school your kids, you’ve made the right choice. I say this with confidence as I’ve listened to no fewer than 25 parents process the upcoming 10 dimensional chess game that accompanies their decision.
Whether you’ve decided to eat the possibility that 100% of your plans will be ruined for 9 months with the in-person option or you want to slide into the alternative where you get to work from home full-time AND trouble-shoot endless zoom meetings for kids who can’t type, it all kind of stings.
Ladies, I’m looking at you. I know you’re bearing the brunt of reading 45 minute long emails that feel harder than a textbook. I know you’re looking at your Already a Pride Month’s Worth of Colors on This Effing Family Calendar trying to figure out how to simultaneously put your baby down for nap and re-learn how to divide fractions just in time to answer your reluctant 3rd grader’s claim that, “I don’t knoooooowwww! This doesn’t make ANY sense!!!” I know baby. It doesn’t make sense to mommy either.
Here are EIGHT (tested by a real family) strategies for enduring this school year:
De-escalate Your Expectations. I used to balk at the 45 lb. sack of chicken nuggets at Costco. No longer, my weary co-travelers. Load that crap up and yes, you’re eating it for lunch every day for the next 45 days. And yes, you can teach your kids how to use a toaster oven to make lunch. Win.
Leave Home For Important Meetings. The only way I keep my sanity is to take important work calls in my coworking space. Cohere has many different choices for private meeting space for 1-2 people. Book an hour or more here.
Practice Saying Yes. The start of remote learning slash The Superhighway to Careers I Never Asked For basically had me saying NO to my child during the day and screaming it into a pillow in the closet every night. So I started saying Yes. Not to everything but to a lot of things and now there is less friction and no one has developed a medical condition from eating those cases of fruit strips I can’t stop buying.
When In Doubt, Head for the Hills. There’s never been a better time to pack a portion of your housewares into a smaller home and call it camping. Nature therapy is real and it works even if it’s just a picnic of leftover chicken nuggets under a tree.
Comparison Steals Joy. Look away from social media. You will NOT do a science experiment with drinking straws and a rubber band like that ad you saw. You will NOT have time to post a selfie of your adventures in bug identification like your friend. You will NOT enjoy your hobbies all the time like your childless WFH friends.
Add in a Tiny Constant. At the start of this, we invented Strawberry Pop-Tart Saturdays. Having even a small thing on your clusterf*ck of a calendar that can’t be cancelled can bring a much needed sense of optimism to the family.
Impermanence is Everything: I can’t predict what will happen tomorrow let alone in 3 months or more. There’s always a choice called “Other.” Even if you make a decision today and in 5 days or 50 days, it’s just not working you can opt out. You can leave PSDV, you can un-enroll in your neighborhood school, you can home school, you can alt-school, you can unschool. Heck, you can probably move to a different city where things make sense for you. Nothing is an A/B all or nothing choice. Make up a third thing.
Find a Tribe. Whether it’s your neighbors, your nearby family or a ragtag group of supportive people at a coworking space like ours, there’s a tremendous scaffolding of support available to you.
Your decision is correct. You made the right choice for your family and your situation. You’re going to be okay.
Have an important work call and need silence? Book one of our affordable, by-the-hour meeting rooms at Cohere in Old Town Fort Collins.