Last week we followed teacher, wife, and mother of two, Marissa Weiss, as she showed us how she is coping with the stay-at-home mandate while juggling teaching, being with her kids, and running a household.
What we learned from her is that it’s normal to experience all the feelings throughout the day and that it’s easy to lose perspective when we get caught up in the moment. An important piece of advice from Marissa was to not sweat the small things, acknowledge that it’s extremely hard, and to keep in mind what’s most important; which is to be grateful for what you have including those small or big moments that bring you laughter and joy.
Today, we get to follow another teacher, wife, and mother, Jenny Owens, as she shows us how she juggles having two kids age 3 and 7.
My day begins with my 3-year-old daughter, Naya, screaming, “Mommy is it wake up time!” She’s a great alarm clock. As a I wobble to her room rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I open her door only to see a very happy, rested toddler ready for the day. With a full day ahead, this is one moment I make sure to cherish. From there we get dressed and head out to the living room to play and start brainstorming breakfast ideas. I usually let her watch her favorite Bubble Guppies show while we start our coffee machine and wake up our 1st grader, Kennedy, who has officially learned how to sleep in. She’s not as happy to wake up like Naya. As soon as both kids are up, the whole house is moving. One of us is usually getting breakfast together while the other is getting iPads and laptops set up for virtual learning. We went from no screens during the week to everyone in this house having a screen. There are some things I realized you have to just let go and accept and screen time is one of them.
At 8:30 am while I am on my first call with my class, my 3-year-old and 7-year-old are rushing through breakfast. My husband is keeping them busy until I get off my call. When I am off my call, I head straight to help Kennedy with her schoolwork before she hops on her call at 10 am. At this time, I shift from Kennedy to Naya and make sure I give her the attention she needs before hopping on my second call at 10:30 am when she shifts to hanging out in the bedroom with my husband while he’s trying to get work done. At times, it feels like we are all just rushing by each other to get to the next task. When Kennedy is done with her call, she independently tries to finish the rest of her work. When my call is finished, I immediately take them outside so we can get some fresh air. This is a chance for all of us to just unwind and release some built up energy. Meanwhile, my husband is on back-to-back conference calls inside.
Then as every parent knows, we hear the constant, “I’m hungry.” I shift to cook where I have to sometimes prepare two different meals for my two different kids. We get through lunch just in time for Kennedy to hop back on her second phone call. This is where I can give Naya my undivided attention. Mind you, all the while I am looking over at my computer a little anxiously when I hear the mail chime go off constantly. I’m a little bit on edge wondering if I forgot to respond to an email. By 2 pm, we feel like we have already had a 12-hour day! At this time, I put Naya down for a nap and then shift my attention back to Kennedy who has been wanting more attention. I have to make sure to stop throughout the day and check in with how she’s feeling. She is so independent and capable that I sometimes forget she’s only 7 and doesn’t have all the skills to regulate and recognize her emotions. Around 3:30 pm, Naya wakes up from her nap and we take the girls outside again to play as much as possible before coming inside at 4:45 pm to start dinner, baths, and family time.
Finally, when the girls go down at 7:30 pm, it’s now time for the last part of my day: planning my lesson for the next day, and checking in with my colleagues, my husband, my parents, my friends, and, last but not least, me. This has truly transformed my family and we have all experienced some highs and some lows, but we take it one day at a time and continue doing the best we can with what we have and know that it’s going to be okay because in the end we have each other and that’s the most important thing to me.
At anytime if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together.
For more information, please check out our Distance Learning Hub: https://distancelearning.thewillows.org/