Why Remote Learning Stressed Me Out More Than My Kids
As COVID-19 numbers continue to surge again and school districts around us slowly transition back to fully remote learning, I can only wonder when it will happen here too.
My youngest is back in school five days on a shortened schedule for about a month now and her brother is in a hybrid cohort, and for whatever reason, despite it not being “back to normal,” things are finally working and I finally feel a sense of harmony in my work -remote learning-life balance.
But is it too good to be true?
Remote learning went something like this:
Check work e-mail, mid-response an alarm goes off to remind me to log my daughter into Zoom. Look for the link while she reminds me that we didn’t watch the good morning message yet or do the pledge of allegiance.
“Do it real quick while I find the link,” I’d say. The chimes would go off and someone’s audio would echo. She would cover her ears. I’d cringe.
Just seconds back to my e-mail and her brother would ask for help, that his Chromebook froze.
Another alarm would remind me of my own meeting. I’d smile and say good morning to my team while my daughter would suddenly appear behind me, now naked, tapping her foot at me.
“I need help!”
I still haven’t finished the e-mail I started two hours ago while a deadline for a big project approaches and I just need an hour alone to finish it. By 10 am, I haven’t accomplished much. This is the kind of day where I end up in my office until 8 pm when I cry into a glass of wine and pray for schools to open because I am one person. And I can’t do this alone.
Dreading the switch to fully remote again isn’t completely about my child’s inability to learn from a distance or her missing out on socialization, because she did learn and she did socialize virtually, but rather I worry about my own stress in the setting. Am I strong enough to do this again?
Trying to work a demanding full-time job from home while managing supplies, Zoom log-ins, and keeping two kids on task pushed me to my stress limits this fall. Interruptions to my work throughout the day kept me in my office until late at night and blurred all lines of who I was and what I needed to do.
So many are talking about the impossible task for teachers to provide instruction simultaneously to multiple modalities of students between remote and in their classrooms at once, but I think we need to talk about parenting through this too.
There is no doubt about it that our teachers are rockstars holding the weight of the world on their shoulders right now but no matter how good they are, and how engaging their virtual classrooms may be — children won’t be successful without the cooperation of parents and caregivers at home. If half of the team can’t make it to the game, then how can any of us succeed at this? If this were a game of softball, I’d be benched for the season at this point due to a mix of physical exhaustion and strikeouts.
Our kids have the privilege that I am heavily involved in their education, but even I am saying it’s too much.
It’s too much pressure, it’s too much time, and it’s too much juggling — even for a lead-balancing-act-over-achiever like myself.
I want to support everyone but I’m afraid of burning out too quickly and running on empty because I haven’t recharged my own batteries just yet.