The one question invading every mom’s group on social media, every conversation I overhear at the park and in line at the store is, “How are you feeling about sending the kids back in the fall?” Even my own child asked me tonight, “what will school look like in the fall and how can I be ready for it?”
Parents, we are facing some tough choices about sending our kids back to school safely, while living through a raging world-wide pandemic (because parenting just is not challenging enough is it?). We are now living with a virus so brand spanking new that we are not entirely sure how it affects us long term, or the most effective way to treat it. At least with the flu, we know what we are in for and it comes with a healthy side of chicken soup and all the tea one can drink.
The truth is, I have no idea what back to school will look like for us. And to be honest, I have too many feelings about it and not enough time to sort them all out. My mind is already fatigued from managing the last four months of virtual school and remembering where we last saw our masks before leaving the house. Not to mention the mental gymnastics just assessing our risk exposure before running errands. I am also the new cruise director making the schedule to keep everyone from getting bored. I feel like a regular mom, but amped up on steroids raging through overtime shifts I never signed up for. I am so consumed with managing our daily life as it is right now, with our new guidelines and safety measures, AND making up for lost summer camps and cancelled vacations, that I just can’t muster the mental energy to make one more decision.
So, I won’t.
I just won’t make this decision until I have to.
I do not know what our school’s reopening plan is yet.
I do not know if our state will reopen schools in the fall yet.
I do not know what to do right now, and I am not planning to ‘make a plan’ for at least another month when the new school year begins.
I do know my kids are craving connection with their friends and family.
I do know it is hard as hell to write while kids are screaming for sandwiches.
I do know my kids are tired of being home for days on end.
I do know my kids are tired of talking to people through a screen.
I do know that whatever the upcoming school year holds, my kids will need to be ready to handle it. In person school will not be the same as it was when they left in March. Remote learning is not what they are looking forward to. And homeschool, will be entirely different than what they love about classroom learning. Every back to school option on the table right now requires some amount of adjustment and anxiety for all of us, not just our kids.
So, instead of imagining every potential scenario and stressing about which one I am going to choose, I am going to spend this time focusing on my kid’s mental health and investing in their resilience. The only way I can do that is by focusing on the present. The summer sun is calling, the pool is primed, and we live in an amazingly beautiful area of our state. We can spend time outdoors exploring and seeing friends from a distance. I cannot control this virus and I cannot control how schools will open up again, but I can control our day and how we learn to deal with this new challenge.
Giving myself permission to not make a choice RIGHT NOW, truly relieves a lot of the pressure to decide what happens in the fall. I am going to stay informed. I am going to watch the numbers. I am going to prepare my kids with school supplies and new outfits, just like I would any other year. But I am not going to make the final decision about how I am sending my kids to school until I must.
Until then, we are taking a break from the stress and anxiety by pressing pause on overthinking. I am confident this decision will help build our resilience to deal with whatever school looks like for us a month from now.
To stay up to date on how we are spending our summer, and getting ready for back to school in the fall, follow The Whatever Mom on Facebook.
Roxanne Ferber is raising twins with double the fun of writing from home during a pandemic. Her parenting style is messy with a side of chaos and archiving it all on her blog for others to read.