Not sure about everyone else’s first 24 hours of quarantine. But for me, along with the anxiety and worry immediately present when your daily norms are shifted by a pandemic, came 1000 different suggestions in the form of blogs, Pinterest boards, articles etc. about how to be the best mother, spouse, educator, employee, friend etc. during this period.
So, while I’m acclimating to balancing children on my knee during conference calls, I’m supposed to keep in mind the 8-hour schedule suggested for toddlers. Literally, the schedule dictates that I should:
- Wake up children between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
- Feed them a nutritious breakfast
- Execute 2-3 hours of uninterrupted learning (while working)
- Magically make a well-balanced lunch appear
- Ensure they nap
- Take them outside or ensure they have an hour of physical activity
- End with a few more hours of learning to ensure all subjects are covered
This does not include household chores, exercise or meal prep for the family dinner.
I’m just here to say: this is insane! Yes, it’s only one or a few children, but there are several things about these schedules and goals that make it only appropriate for other an actual school building. Classroom learning and play is supported by other children being present. Circle time is totally different with one child, it’s one thing to take 10 four-year old children out to play, and another level of energy is required to be directly involved in play with your four-year old.
The same goes for work, we cannot ramp up the video calls in an attempt to make up for in person contact. Certain types of work will be slowed or won’t be possible. The extra stress for parents or other types of caregivers is enough without requiring them to create office spaces in household spaces. I’m literally showing up on calls with people fully dressed in suites in their living room. We cannot be this crazy. Now it’s one thing, if it just makes you feel better, but it can’t be an expectation. And I doubt anyone parenting their way through this crisis prefers dry clean only clothing.
But my main point is: where is the humanity? When are people going to be allowed to be in crisis? Not even a full day into lockdown, we already had guidance on what it looks like to practice perfect lockdown behavior. People are expected to emerge from an experience, unlike any many have ever had before, healthier, thinner, smarter, more productive, with children that are now a grade level ahead, and have produced at least 20 social media worthy art projects.
I began quarantine or “sheltering in place” with daily learning goals for my children, a six-hour school schedule, check-in calls with every contact in my outlook messenger, and a weekly menu and shopping list. I’m closing out the second week with quality time with family, a few work goals, and food.
Parents, I beg of you to go easy on yourself and those around you. Take a breath. Wooosaaahhh. I for one love that people, including myself, are so driven. But productivity can be counterproductive.
P.S. Stop sending those how to articles for homeschooling
children around, they’re like chain letters.