I’ve ushered five kids through various lengths and intensity levels of belief in magical beings, and this bit of wisdom has held true for every one of them: when a child wants to believe, you have to work pretty hard to convince them to stop. And when a child is ready to stop believing, you have to work pretty hard to convince them to hold on. My advice: don’t work too hard one way or the other, and you’ll meet your kids where they are.
Maybe this year you’ll take the time to write a hilarious, Covid-edition version of one of those corny holiday family newsletters, or kick off some big, ambitious baking or crafting project you’ve never found the time for in the past. Maybe you’ll take the time to call your grandma, your aunt, or your best friend from childhood and catch up. Or maybe you’ll just do less of everything, except maybe drink cocoa and stare at twinkle lights.
I think there’s something about the relentless micro-stressors we experience during an ongoing pandemic that can lead to a slightly skewed response to normal issues. Over a matter of a few hours I basically blew off the loss of hundreds of dollars in groceries, but I lost my mind over a few dollars in frozen waffles and all they represented. I had an absolutely crappy morning, including facing the music about my kids’ academic dilemmas and a ridiculous utility bill, but the thing that bothered me most was the loss of a club sandwich delivered to me in a fictional hotel room.
Check out this month’s curated playlists on Spotify! You can listen right from this post, or open your Spotify app and listen there (be sure to follow us too!).
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: