We all agree that the year 2020 sucked. We all had to make some hard decisions such as working from home and homeschooling our kids. I ended up doing both of these things. When my work informed me that we were going to work from home, I jumped with joy because I had the perfect image in my head that I was going to spend time with my kids and also work. I mean how hard could it be? Well, let me tell you, it’s pretty hard.
I started working from home in March of 2020 and to this day, I am still working from home. My husband and I decided that our two younger kids would be homeschooled the first trimester and our 15-year-old would go to school (because that is what he wanted). We thought we made the right choice.
I had it all planned out: I would work my full-time job at home, teach two kids at two different grade-levels (kindergarten and third grade), while also watching my three-year-old. My plan would keep my kids safe, allow me to spend extra time with them, and save some money on daycare and babysitters. I had seen people at my church homeschool their kids and I told myself, “If they can do it, I can do it!”
Let me tell you, things got a little hectic at the Escareno family during the first trimester of school!
What I had imagined of this perfect, stay-at-home, homeschooling, working mom became this mom’s worst nightmare. I had not realized how much work it was to do all this. Let me describe what a day was for me. I would work my shift from 7 am to 4 pm and on some days, 7-5. My kindergartner had live class every morning at 9 am for 30 minutes. At this same time, I often had zoom meetings related to work so I had to join the meeting via my phone while also watching my five-year-old in class. I had to be readily available for my kindergartener at all times because he didn’t have a lot of knowledge on how to use a Chromebook. My third grader, on the other hand, knew the drill so with him I was just around to answer any questions. However, working an eight-hour shift, homeschooling two kids, and watching a three-year-old really became overwhelming for me.
I cried the first week of school because I was so stressed out and overwhelmed with everything. I was up late, until 10 or 11 pm, trying to get my kids caught up with homework. I spent a lot of time with my Kindergartener because we had to go through the lessons together since he didn’t know how to read. I was also neglecting my youngest and not giving him the attention he needed. I was always so tired and angry with my family. The first week of school I called the online academy to see if I could transfer my kids back to their regular school and they said that since I had committed to online, I had to stick to it for the entire trimester. I thought to myself “this is going to be the longest trimester of my life.” I braced myself and made a routine for my kids just as if they were in school physically. It took about two weeks for them to get used to it, but it worked.
Once we had the routine established, things were much easier.
However, I still had a calendar counting down the days until the end of the trimester. I remember telling my coworker via our zoom meetings how much I hated online school. They didn’t think it was a big deal, but their kids were much older than mine so they knew how to do things themselves at least.
To those mommas working from home and homeschooling your kids, kudos to you! One thing COVID has taught me is that I can’t do everything, even though I think I can. My kids are now happily back in school and I am home working and taking care of a three-year-old. Is it easy? No, but at least I can sit with my three-year-old on the couch and spend some time between my work hours.