Friday, April 03, 2020

SD: Team Sanity

Selfie panoramic had somehow never occurred to me...
Last week I was in a conversation on FB with other moms from our school.

I confessed that we'd done nothing in terms of schoolwork. My kids were having a hard enough time without the stress of trying to force them to do math.

And my friend Erum said she was all for Team Sanity. So that's how I've been thinking about it: Team Sanity.

Yesterday my son had a 5th grade video chat. Bless the teacher, who spent at least 50% of the time explaining to them that they only get to unmute their microphones when it is their turn to speak.

That way, she explained, if your sister (ahem) is bugging you, or the dog (also ahem) is pushing her way in (because you encouraged her), or your mom asks you what you want for lunch (not ahem) or whatever, everyone else in the class doesn't hear it.

One kid kept turning her microphone back on unintentionally. All the other kids thought this was hilarious.

Bless our teachers, who always work so hard, and are rising to this extra challenge.

Teachers have called to check in, and I have been completely honest: we've done almost nothing academic.

I have to fight guilt and anxiety over this.

I mean, I'm in the extraordinarily lucky position of not currently having a job I have to juggle along with having my children home all day.

I have so many friends who are working full time and trying to get their kids to follow the lessons that the school is providing. And compared to them I think, what the fuck am I doing?

We are doing some online learning. India has done some math and Spanish. Both kids are reading a ton. This is something. But it is not the math and science and Spanish and writing that Jordan is supposed to be doing.

Neither of them are interested in writing projects, despite cajoling.

And so mostly I'm letting them just hang out.

Because the fact is that I struggle with my children to brush their teeth twice a day, which is one thing I cannot compromise on. Bedtime takes a lot of energy.

I mean, seriously. We brush our fucking teeth every single day. We go to bed every single night. How is this an appalling surprise, an affront to their very way of life, ever single damn day?

My son rarely does homework, because he gets upset about things like the repetition, or gets very worked up about making his writing perfect, and any small mistake can derail him. He's better than he was, but us doing homework means me sitting next to him the whole time and then, forcing myself to stay calm when he gets worked up, and supporting him in calming himself down.

It's a drama trauma almost every time, is what it is.

And now that we're spending all our time together, I'm not spending our days like this. DC just announced that while they don't yet have a set date, we will not be going back to school April 27.

This means we have a lot more days at home in front of us.

It's an extraordinary time in history. It might be a lost academic year for my kids. I can live with this.

I'm far more interested in household harmony. In behaving in a loving manner. If I'm constantly angry because I'm trying to get my kids to do things they do not want to do, it means I'm not good at being gentle with them when they need me.

And right now, they really need me. They both need a lot of my attention. They get upset easily. They want reassurance.

Some days, India is on me, like physically stuck to me, the way she was a baby. The other day I sat with her in the big red chair, and I cuddled her, and I explained how we sat in that chair the first few months of her life, and she would eat and then fall asleep on my chest and I would read.

I read and read. I read all but one of the Game of Thrones books. And they were long. The truth is that at some point I started skipping the chapters of the characters I disliked. Theon Greyjoy? Skip.

The positive of this was that when I watched the show, some things were total surprises to me!

I still feel bitter about how they ended it.

That's an aside.

We have much better days together if we focus on doing art projects, and talking to each other, doing puzzles and playing games.

My mom and India and I sat together making Sculpi...things. I wound up not baking anything I made. They looked better in my mind than they actually turned out.

So I voiced this guilt, this anxiety about not forcing my kids to do online learning, and in response, a friend sent me something that basically said to take care of your kids' mental health first and foremost. Our kids aren't going to remember what they learned during this time--they're going to remember how they felt.

This resonated with me.

When they look back on this, if what stays with them is the feeling of being loved, of being cuddled tight, of hanging out together watching Harry Potter movies, and of eating truly astounding amounts of popcorn every day, I'm OK with that.

Team Sanity.

Love and hugs,



  1. Team Sanity over here as well. I am currently juggling from home my full time job, with a second grader and 3 year old at home. The school has provided a full school day schedule to work from home and’s not happening. There is just no way to do it all. And I am choosing to prioritize the mental health of all of us during this time. I am happy to know I am not the only one!

    1. Yes, prioritize mental health! You live in a beautiful place, and the kids can run and play outside. That is lucky! Hugs, Miranda!

  2. glennon doyle agrees with you- thought you might enjoy her latest on not shaming yourself during this.


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