Hey all you cool cats and kittens – Bethany here.
I have been working full time from home (Dir of Ops), principal and teacher at our home school for two 2nd graders, a 4th grader and a 6th grader, mother to 5 girls (one in her ‘terrible twos’), and wife to a man who also works full time, is employed as a teacher at the same home school and can fall asleep anywhere with kids playing around him.
I have resorted to writing here to you instead of speaking at my husband who has started to look lost when I tell him all my ideas and thoughts of the day. The last time I tried yesterday I had just lifted shoulders and arms and he was trying to work and eat cookies. In his defense, females can multitask much better than his species and our brain synapses move much quicker.
So, you’re welcome? 😊
Below is a family photo in my garage gym (finished before this all went down). Husband in the mirror. These are hard to come by (the photo of all of us) but at least I can prove we truly do have a gaggle of kids and a whole lot of hair.
I thought I would share a few of the things I have learned during this stay at home Covid 19 time. You shall find them below/next/here:
1. Working alongside your spouse is both enlightening and horrible. We have gone from desks in our master room 6 feet from each other to me still upstairs in our master and him on the main floor in the makeshift ‘classroom’ (playroom) near the school aged kids. While it was easy to pass snacks and sass back and forth it was also very easy to analyze each other’s habits. Working, lack of working, snacking, video conferencing habits, speaking, moving, e-v-e-r-ything. He came to find out that I am 1-very perceptive and 2-very bossy and suggestive of how to improve oneself. ;) Maybe that is why he is still working among the kids…? This photo is missing a few and we celebrated a 12 year old birthday this day (we do not usually have balloons in the front room/classroom/playroom).
2. Pre-teens are scary and make me question my own hormones. Our oldest just turned 12 and she cries randomly and not even she knows why most times. Most days she just needs a nap, some candy, some FaceTime with her friends, or time alone to do high kicks in the air. My husband watched a surprise after bedtime conversation between she and I one evening for 1.4 hours where she talked about how she felt and what she would like. Afterwards, he was still speechless. Considering we have 4 more girls behind this one, I worry for both he and I’s sanity. For two days she cried and got worked up over an Ancient Olympic Games project I told her to draw because 1-she ‘can’t even draw a person’ and 2-‘how am I supposed to draw a whole stadium’. Two. Days. Come to find out – I cannot draw people but my 3 examples of Ancient Olympic Games was pretty fantastic perspective-wise.
3. With seven total mouths to feed – there are by far too many meals to plan, execute, and clean up after. The 12-year-old went from ‘I’m not hungry and I don’t feel good’ to eating pizza, broccoli, an apple, cheesecake, and oreos in 2 minutes during one lunch. One of the 8-year olds took 2 hours between 2 meals to eat her 3 pieces of broccoli. The youngest may have eaten an couch oyster cracker the other day. They would prefer microwaved nuggets over my crockpot roast or elaborate meals. The other afternoon, I may or may not have made this simple lunch for three of them and tossed it on the table before I ran out to lift. We can be less hard on ourselves right?
4. The pressure of educating all our kids at home is insurmountable. First of all – we have FOUR kids in school. Yes, two are in the same grade but that is four different little minds with different projects/thoughts/ideas and learning techniques. One gets distracted before she even starts, one puts so much pressure on herself she gets mad if she misses one spelling word, one moves so fast we have no idea if she is doing it correctly, and the other is in 6th grade so who knows. While the district provides resources and lessons and we have the means to get to them electronically, I have started to discover after a couple weeks (and many schedules on a big white board and spreadsheets with the husband) that I am going to try something new this week or next. I have a suggestion jar and they are to write one thing on a piece of paper (as many suggestions as they would like) that they would like to learn/do. For instance: how to change a diaper, how to make a cheesecake (did this one), how to plant a garden (did this one), how to exercise, write and illustrate a book, do a science experiment, paint a portrait, etc. To rigidity of keeping a ‘school schedule’ is taking a toll on all of us and since it is close to the ‘end of the year’ anyways and the aforementioned suggestions are great life-lessons I think this is a great idea to try. I read a few of the kids' suggestions from last night and the 'learn to make a TikTok video' and 'learn to cut dad's hair' will not be happening.
5. Lastly, because this is getting long - bedtime is fantastic. Yep, that’s right. Bedtime is not only for the kiddos but for my husband and I’s sanity. It’s after we make sure they’re all bathed and clear of lasagna leftovers and mud, in pajamas that are different from their clothes of the day, had books read to them/read their own, teeth brushed, and heads on their pillows that we breathe. We reflect on what went right or wrong with the day (if we have it in us), cuddle, watch a show, and my husband turns on my AC unit, ceiling fan and box fan and aims it at my face. He loves me. Sometimes we have surprise visits from pre-teens and their feelings. That’s fun. We like to predict those by the footsteps we hear and the aggressiveness of the knock.
Hang in there fellow readers, mothers, friends, workers, fathers, siblings, e-v-e-r-y-one. Things may be different but it is still YOUR world and you still construct it.
To my husband - I love you, we have spent a lot of time together with 5 kids at all times, and even though you're outnumbered by gender - you got this. I'd say we are doing just fine.
Until next time!