Homeschooling, two full-time jobs relocated, at-home sports, virtual friend dates…we are PICTURE perfect as you can see! Here is the key word in this…PICTURE. It is all a captured façade that is Insta or Facebook post worthy. Two seconds before snapping this it was like herding cats to get them to sit. Two seconds after snapping this there were simultaneous questions berating me. And even WHILE snapping this pic the sassy retorts were muttered under breath. There is a reason why a) God did not call me into teaching and 2) we are endlessly thankful for the various roles others play in our children’s lives—teacher, coach, tutor, instructor, etc. So while this LOOKS like the picture perfect reality of at-home life during the coronavirus, it is far from that and merely a picture.
Sadly, it took me until four days into this lockdown to have a full shift in perspective. You would think I would have just “known better” from the get-go as a minister of the Lord and licensed therapist. While I may have “known”, putting it into action was a whole different story. Needless to say, the personal pressures I have put on myself, my husband and my kids have been released. Our day-to-day schedules of yore are simply no longer and I’m ok with that…now…finally. Here are some questions to ask yourselves, parents, when your attempts to blend at-home life with school, sports, work and more are reaching their limit:
- What am I reflecting? Look in the mirror. What are you reflecting, mom and dad? Are your stress levels out the roof? Are you constantly checking and conversing about the latest Coronavirus news? How do you think this just might be all rubbing off on your kids?
- Have I asked my child how he/she is doing? When is the last time you REALLY checked in with your child to see how he/she is doing? Do they have any questions about what is going on around the world? How are they feeling? This is NOT just an easy vacation at-home since there are no friends or vacations on the docket. Try to hear how your child is processing all of this change.
- How will our family remember the coronavirus lockdown when we look back? This too shall pass, rest assured. Will they remember this time as high-stress? At-home imprisonment? Or will they cherish the movie nights, laughter, and quality time spent as a family? It’s not going to be perfect, BUT it can be a perfectly lovely memory of how God used this time to draw your family closer to each other and Him.
- What are my priorities? Your job responsibilities must be met, whether working remotely or on-site. This is likely a high priority still no matter what. Beyond that though, what are your priorities with everything with your child and his/her activities, academics and more falling on you? The expectation is not to earn an emergency teacher’s certification. Do your best and allow your teachers to do their best with whatever distance learning is being offered.
- Have you done a mental health check-in? How are you, your spouse and your child doing mentally? Everyone’s mental health is pivotal to maintain some semblance of sanity and stability at-home. While there’s not a literal evaluation to do, you should intentionally check-in daily with how every person in your household is doing. Change induces stress and there has definitely been a mighty share of change these past few days and weeks. Support one another in this season of change.
Do not get me wrong, the academics and learning are vital. Do not throw them by the wayside or take them for granted. BUT give grace to your kids and spouse, receive grace for yourself and keep your eyes focused on God and your family. This is not a season to be perfect. Or even to snap a picture as if you have it all together. Ask yourself these questions and the answers will help you focus on what you and your family needs most of all in this season.