And in that relearning, I imagine we’ll be rusty. And vulnerable. And a little defensive sometimes. Do you remember how to make conversation with a stranger at a kids’ birthday party? Buy movie tickets? Plan a vacation? Do you remember how to navigate a professional conference, a mommy-and-me class, or airport security? I’m not suggesting all these things will come back at once (or that some of them should come back at all), but when you think about the spring and summer months to come, I bet you can think of a few situations that make you feel like I did that day in the hospital with Andrea: like, Wait, I thought I knew how to do this? Where did my confidence go?
Containing our kids’ chaos is one thing; keeping track of our OWN stuff is another altogether. To round out our recent series of episodes about where to put all the STUFF of family life, Meagan and Sarah chat about how we store and organize all the things that fall under “mom’s domain.” From our bathroom counters to our nightstand drawers, the kitchen “drop zone” to mask and mitten management, we’re here to share what works, what we’re working on, and where we need serious help.
Whatever you’re facing right now that feels hard and awkward, that same thing will one day feel routine and automatic. Remember breastfeeding? How long it took and how many accessories it required in the early days? And how, a few months or a few kids later, how it just sort of happened by rote while you also carried on a whole conversation or read to a toddler or caught up on email? The new hard thing becomes just a thing you do and don’t even have to think about. Like wearing a mask to the grocery store or logging into Zoom school.
My kids–starting second, fifth, and seventh grades this fall–are all learning from home right now. And while I’m in love with some of the cute home learning workspaces I’ve seen shared online, we just moved into this house in July and I don’t even have it decorated from a baseline yet, let alone a refresh for my kids’ distance learning.
So instead of cute decor, my focus has been on pure function. We’ve seen how a few small purchases can make a BIG difference in kids’ ability to sit, focus, and attempt to learn in this crazy environment. Here are a few things we’ve learned so far:
So here we are, fellow moms: Accidental homeschoolers armed with Pinterest ideas and daily schedules, ready to keep our children’s minds active and their screen-time limited. We’ve bookmarked all the sites and printed all the checklists (unless we’re low on printer ink), and now begins the actual work of overseeing remote learning while parenting in a time of national stress.
Can I gently suggest that we not turn this new venture into a competitive sport?
And that behind-the-scenes work you’re doing? The work you do when the rest of the world isn’t watching, the hundreds of small decisions and clever shortcuts you employ in the name of raising an eventual adult or three? Like Laurence’s simple but incredibly thoughtful salad dressing, it’s where the good stuff happens. Your patient explanations and your sibling squabble mediation, the chore charts you design and the sleep training program you try really really hard to follow, the grapes you cut into quarters and the late-night behavior strategy sessions with your co-parent: these things matter.