Episode 18: Changes Part II
I know I said this would come out on Wednesday night last night but mother nature had other plans. While I was finishing up my notes to record the tornado warnings and statements to take shelter started going off. I immediately went to gather my family so we could go to the basement. The storms came on hard and fast as they usually do this time of year. I swear it is only in the Ohio River Valley that you can have 80* weather one day and freeze warnings the next night. After all of that excitement I thought it was better just to go to bed. This was the second time in as many weeks I had to wake my girls up out of a dead sleep and make them go to the basement for tornado warnings. It was a little harder to get them back to sleep this time though since the thunder storms continued most of the night. This also means I didn’t get a chance to put up the show notes on the website yet I will work on those tomorrow for both episodes. I am getting my butt back in gear, however slowly but surely.
It was Wednesday evening 3/11 when they announced all of my county’s public schools would close as of 3/13 through April 20th. This was insane because that only gave us all 1 day to prepare as school was already scheduled to be closed on Friday for a planning day or something. There were so many e-mails flying around from my kids, teachers, the principal etc.. We had forms to fill out and they sent the kids home with full backpacks pretty much we were all under the impression they would eventually go back to school. Unfortunately that doesn’t look to be the case anymore. A few things happened over the weekend I pretended it wasn’t happening, I ignored it, I panicked because now I have to homeschool and work and that is not going to work I will not get anything done. I freaked out about how we are going to have enough devices for 3 kids to all do online assignments at the same time.
Finally I gave in and realized ok this is happening and I have to deal with it. From here I did what any self respecting ADHD mom would do. I got overly excited about how prepared I was going to be for Monday and went through all of their stuff, got workspaces ready for them and was so excited for the plan we were going to follow. Come Monday morning everything went perfectly. The kids all got their work done. I was so prepared and I got all of my work done as well. We all lived happily ever after…..I wish.
Monday really wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t good either. The kids had all kinds of questions. There were all kinds of problems with the google classroom because it was new and not all of the assignments were up. The kids got done with their school work in like 2.5 hours but we still had full days of work to do. I was screaming inside my head and nothing I could do about it. From there it just got worse the rest of the week. There were new things added in everyday. Teachers incorporated Google Hangouts chats to the schedule so 3 kids on 3 different chat rooms all at the same time.
Then the special (art, music, PE, etc) teachers were left out so they got their own hang out time so 2 chats with 3 kids on 3 devices a day. While my husband and I try to work and do our own conference calls. This shit is hard so hard. I want to cry because I feel like I am working so many more hours a day now. I am staying up late at night to finish work for my job because during the day I am trying to help the kids get through their school work.
We were supposed to go on Thursday’s to pick up the next weeks’ packet from a box out front if we didn’t get there during normal hours. I went up there after hours and there was a box with nothing in it but a rock to hold it in place. Great, I went back Friday afternoon and the doors were open great. Boxes of papers were there with teacher’s names on them but neither of the teacher’s the girl’s or my son have. There were ‘optional’ packets for the first graders so I grabbed 2 of those. I got home and not 15minutes after I left to get the packets the e-mail came out that all instructions for 1-5th would be online. Really you wait until after we are all supposed to have come up to tell us. Are we going to change things up every week? The two weeks that followed have been a disaster because more online work means more I have to help them with. It means I have to start and stop what I am doing. More times I have to try and remember where I left off which means more wasted time and more work I have to do at night. Like transitions aren’t hard enough. At least with the packets they could sit there and quietly do their work for 20 minute intervals without interrupting me. Kind of like a built in Pomodoro method.
Yes my husband is helping more with my son because as I have said Dyscalculia. I suck at math and my son is doing fractions. I looked at his work and started having flashbacks and feelings of PTSD from all of the trouble I had with Math growing up. Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to have a son who can do all of that in his head? Yet at the same time I feel so inadequate because he is asking me for help and I can’t help him. I feel like a failure like an idiot because I can’t do fractions on paper let alone my head. I mean yes I can do simple ¼+¼ = ½ type of fraction but not the kind he is doing. That is how we have divided it up. He helps our son because I can’t and I help the girls. We both make the tradeoffs we can. We both have video and conference calls, emails, projects, etc. to do but are doing our best.
There are some things that I have done that help with the kids’ school work.
- We mapped out the typical daily routine for when they do each subject, eat lunch, snack, recess, etc. and try to stick to it. We get off track but it’s easier for them to remember what they have and haven’t done because we are always doing it in the same order.
- Set up workstations with everything needed to complete their work. Each has a designated work space with their chromebook, folder, center work, glasses, pencil box, etc.
- Review the next day’s work the night before. At the end of each day I try to see if anything is posted for the next day or if there is anything we couldn’t finish that still needs to be done. Then I try to clean up their workspace so it is ready to go the next day.
- I Asked the teacher to send a daily checklist of items due in an email so it is in one place rather than several.
Aside from working remotely and homeschooling there is also the regular house stuff, laundry, cooking, dishes etc. This is all compounded because now we are responsible for 3 meals a day and I can’t do it. Add into all of this the fact that the weather has not been great as in Spring showers so there is no relief by going outside. The kids are so stir crazy they should be going outside for recess to play with friends instead they are stuck inside. We finally had some nice weather this past weekend and this week which has helped but still this has been a nightmare. On the plus side however since it is all new I have been much more focused and excited about everything not sure how long that novelty will last though. Likely not much longer…lol
I love the time I am getting to spend with my family. It is all the other shit that is making it an absolute hell to deal with. It is one thing to stay home spending time with the family on the weekend or during spring break or something. Then cooking, cleaning, and finding things to do isn’t bad. It can be fun even. Doing all of this while working and homeschooling NOT FUN.
The worry that if it gets too quiet something bad is happening or hearing a loud bang and getting a response of nothing when you ask what that was. How can anyone get work done with all of that? I have serious respect for teachers and all of the planning they are doing to make sure the kids are still learning everything they need to know. The problem I am having is trying to do their job and my job all at the same time. It is so effing hard. I don’t know how neurotypicals are doing this. I am struggling. As I sit here writing I am freaking out again because I am freaking out about everything and because I am tired and fried.
Then there is the staying home and not being able to go anywhere. I am an introvert, I like being home and not going anywhere, typically. This is different though this is some shit I can’t do it is torture because now I am not staying home by choice I am staying home because a stupid virus is making life hard and so I can’t go. Probably the thing that gets me the most is the freedom to be able to go off and walk around Target and browse. When I do get to go somewhere to pick up an online order or something I do get a little thrill being on the empty interstate driving somewhere to pick up stuff almost like I am breaking the law but not…I know I am dork.
It is hard to not be able to see family especially with Easter coming up, then Mother’s Day. I was supposed to be running a race and celebrating my 40th birthday, something I have actually been looking forward to because I LOVE birthday’s, well I LOVE cake. Now I can’t be with some of the people I love most to celebrate. It makes me sad. Who knows we may be spending Father’s Day the same way. I am trying to be optimistic even though schools are NTI until May 1 now, my remote work is extended until July 1 and the dates all keep getting pushed back. I am just hoping we can be back to some sort of normal by August.
Enough whining I know there are sooo many people out there that are having a much more difficult time that are wishing they were still working, that are working daily with confirmed cases and in close contact, those who have tested positive COVID-19, and those who have lost their lives or loved ones. I know the teachers are doing the very best they can given the situation and it’s frustrating for all of us. For me I need the release so I don’t keep it all in and drive myself crazy. I feel better after I vent and get it all out. It is soothing.
What has my quarantine routine looked like? The first 2 weeks were pretty rough. I was getting up at 8am getting the kids all breakfast then started with their days and their first assignments then either showering or going straight to work. These first 2 weeks were all about getting the budget done for my presentation on the 31st. The days would continue with endless questions, starts and stops, fixing everyone lunch, eating, cleaning up then more starts, stops, calls, chats, and sending the kids upstairs to play so I could finally get some work done before dinner. Cook, plate, eat, and clean up dinner. Get the kids ready for bed then go back to work until around 2 am while stress eating chips and pop tarts or donuts nightly and consuming lots of wine. I got it done thankfully last week and even put makeup on for the video call. Now I am just trying to play catch up with the rest of my work I put on hold to get the budget done. I think I was showering every other day and worked out 1 time during those first two weeks. It didn’t help either that for several days I spent shuttling kids and myself to the doctor for colds, coughs, and strep. So yeah that was so fun.
Now that budget is over, everyone is healthy again, and the kids are on spring break things have calmed considerably. My husband and I are trying to find a balance with work and entertainment for the kids so they are not dying of boredom and can enjoy some of their break. Which by the way we should be on the beach this week and I am just a little bitter that is not the case because I have been looking forward to that trip for several months. Mostly I am getting a few hours of work done during the day but the majority at night. My husband has many more calls then I do so he is working more during the day. Next week will be interesting as we try and adjust again to the Non-traditional Instruction. I am thankful for the break in having to keep up with all of their different assignments and making sure everything that is due is turned in.
This week I am trying to find my own balance. The last 3 weeks have not really been helping me get done the things I want to do. I need the structure of a regular schedule, the pressure of needing to be somewhere on time, deadlines, and now I don’t have it. I still have deadlines but if I walk down the stairs at 8 or 9:30am no one says anything. I have been thinking about how I can make things more structured for myself because the chaos I am currently dealing with does not work.
Perhaps the hardest obstacle I am struggling with overcoming is motivation. It’s a big one. I have no desire to get out of bed or take a shower in the morning let alone go downstairs to work or homeschool. It feels like just one long weekend because I am not spending an hour and a half in the car commuting each day. Before COVID-19 I had gotten into this routine of working out in the morning before work 2 times a week and one during the weekend. This is also the time of year I start trying to run outside so I can do a couple of 5Ks. Since being ordered to work remotely I have ran outside 2 times and gotten up to work out 0 times. Yes, I was sick ok but this week I really don’t have an excuse not a good one any way other than I am tired. I think it is partially coming down from all of the budget stress. I just need some rest and some downtime to recharge my batteries. I have been getting about 7 or more hours of sleep at night but wake up feeling like it has only been 4 or less. That is a problem and maybe I should take my doctor up on the sleep study but not until this COVID mess is done. Regardless I need to just get my butt in gear and do something, anything.
I had been neglecting my bullet journal so I got caught up with it and switched my layout slightly hoping it might help with the motivation and it has, just not enough and I think part of that is because I can’t get into a routine yet with how things keep changing. I have to quit with the excuses and just do it. I have gotten better with snacking throughout the day and night so there is that. I am determined to start working out again. I want to go for another run since the weather has been so nice and get back into Yoga. Yoga helps me in so many ways. If you don’t do it you should try. If you tried and you didn’t like it you should try again. I use an app called Down Dog. I have used it for almost 6 years. I have stuck with this app longer than any other work out routine I have ever done. It is so customizable. Download it and try the free version even though my husband uses it and I have gotten several people at work to use it.
Getting back to my podcast and my website are helping me a lot too. I feel like I have been struggling since November to really get back but with the new job and all of this time at home I think I might be able to catch up. I have already done more than I had in months.
Happy hours have been awesome. I don’t know why it has taken a pandemic to get people to start video chatting but I am thankful for it. A group of women I have known for like 9years and I have started having thirsty Thursday happy hours on zoom. We live all over, Washington State, California, Louisiana, Mass, Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky even Pennsylvania. We all have taken the time to do 3 calls now in the last 2 weeks. It has been so much fun. It is exhausting the next day because we are starting them at like 9:30pm EST and staying on until like 2am EST but hey it’s been awesome to talk to these ladies and see their lovely faces I have only ever chatted with online. Then there is using video chats to stay in touch with family. I almost feel like people are connecting more now than before because we have more time too. It is probably the best thing to come out of this so far. Something similar that I have been doing and have gotten my kids into is Marco Polo the best way I can describe it is video texting. You have to check it out, it’s fun and you can do groups there too.
I think the thing that is going to be most effective for me is to be accountable. I have to actually look at and use my habit tracker if I am going to get anywhere. It’s just so much easier to not look at it then it is to actually mark that I haven’t worked out or to put all of the food in MyFitness Pal that I actually ate. I need to find my motivation which I think I have found when I tried on my pants the other day. 3 weeks of junk and laziness have not helped me out for sure. Those pants have to fit or how am I going back to work??
To recap some of the things I am working on to help me through this are:
- Trying to get back into a workout routine I was loving going to the gym workout classes but at least now my gym has online workouts I just need to do it. Once I get in the habit of doing it again it will be fine. It’s just getting there is hard.
- Planning more structure into my day similar to my normal work schedule. At least as close to it as I can considering all of the obstacles. I am going to start setting my alarm to get up in the morning not as early as usual since I don’t have to commute but early enough that I can get up showered and dressed like a normal human instead of maybe every other day taking a shower but staying in pajamas all day.
- Keeping in touch with friends and family through technology this has already been fun. There are so many ways to do it too.
- Trying to avoid the boredom snacking, cause it’s there snacking, and the ok I had something salty so now I need something sweet so now I need something salty merry go round. I would really like to fit into my swimsuit still when this is all over and my clothes.
Until next time stay healthy at home and remember to be patient and thankful. We can get through this with each other.