I marvel at how many days during quarantine I pretty much set myself up for failure. Monday through Friday trying to achieve the perfect schedule laid out for the kids, well-rounded routine of academics, exercise, and free time. After all, that’s how they typically thrive. I’ve always entertained the thought of homeschooling, so I was initially excited about this opportunity. I really wanted the time to plug in with them on their academics. I wanted to teach my kids more about work ethics, determination and how to be a self-starter. I had some home projects I was stoked about achieving during this quarantine too. AND all this extra family time. Bonus. I’m working full time and so is Eric. My perfectionist mindset about quarantine (and life in general) has had a true reality check. Instead of a schedule, we are meeting ourselves right where we are at. Every day is different. I have learned in order to have a great day; I have had to start the day with zero expectation. Some days work is heavy so school just waits until Eric and I can divide and conquer at night after dinner. Some days work is lighter, and I can juggle my schedule with assisting the kids in between. I realized I’m not a homeschool teacher and the boys don’t truly enjoy distant learning at home. This isn’t a place of academics for them. That doesn’t make me a failure (that my inner voice will whisper). That’s just our reality. It’s okay. Not having a schedule, is okay. Schoolwork at 9am, 3pm or 8pm. It’s fine. Some days we don’t do school at all and we double up the next day because we just can’t.
Mental health trumps everything right now. Some days we are happy. Some days we are tired. Some days we are gloomy and some days I just cry. I miss people. I miss routine. I miss hugs. I miss family and friends. I miss going places. I miss sports. I miss freedom. So do our boys. Every day can come with a different emotion. When I finally accepted that, I finally realized each day had to start with zero expectation and we would build from there.
I also have learned to just love myself right where I’m at. I might actually get this part right moving forward. Not just for a season, but for life. Not trying to be more than what I can be, not trying to do more than what I can do. But accept the reality in front of me, try my very best, and love myself through it. And what if I just loved myself for everything I am? I then more easily extend that grace and love onto our boys…meeting them where they are at as well… instead of some days trying to force a square peg into a round hole and lose my shit when it doesn’t work.
What about those exciting projects I wanted to do? Not sure. We will see how life goes. That doesn’t mean this quarantine time is a waste. It means I had higher priorities. Like mental health and grace. The extra family time IS a bonus. It’s not the family time I was expecting. But I’ve learned to pivot in all this. Pivot again, and then again. Of course, in my perfectionism I was hoping for picture perfect family bonding. It’s not some days, but that’s okay. The boys are learning empathy, how to negotiate with one another, what it means to be a good listener, how sometimes personal space is SUPER important, the value of friendship, and through thick and thin, good and bad, the best of days along with the worst—mom and dad are there to give unconditional love. Something these boys will carry with them for their lifetime. I have loved the extra time we have. Part of me carries some sadness with that though that we can’t share that time with those that mean the most to us outside the walls of our home.
I don’t know where we are at in the length of this journey, but in short, here are my takeaways thus far:
- My identity is in my Lord and Savior. Not what I checked off my list for the day or how much I could accomplish.
- Grace and love are powerful medicines in the world we live in right now.
- It’s okay to have zero expectations right now. During this pandemic, it helps me start my day with motivation instead of defeat. It allows me a clean drawing board each morning based upon our needs.
- I still get to homeschool. My focus has changed from textbook to home economics.
- My attitude and outlook right now will teach my kids more about ethics, determination and how to be a self-starter in days of adversity than anything I can teach them through how they complete their schoolwork.
- I am enough.