So far during this social distancing period, I've shared a few different blog posts. My first post shared some pictures of my kiddos being cute in their natural habitat. The second post shared some of my home schooling successes and some ideas for photography projects to help pass time. My most recent post was about making cake balls and engaging C in such a fun baking activity. While I've talked a little about my struggles, what I've shared in most of my posts was the "pretty part" of our social distancing life. This post, I decided I'd do the opposite and show some photos (and some of my thoughts) showing what our life is USUALLY like during this time... warning, it's not pretty!
This photo is the norm (minus the fact that G was napping during this impromptu photo shoot, so he's not in the pictures), the living room an absolute mess and C sitting in a strange position on the couch while watching TV... Most likely, this was during a time that we SHOULD have been doing remote learning, but instead we were watching TV. Remote learning is hard and incredibly stressful - C struggles enough at school as it is, and now he has an unqualified homeschool teacher for the rest of pre-k (honestly, I feel grateful that he's only in pre-k and the pressure to actually make sure he completes all of his work is low, but still stressful none the less). I never asked to be a teacher, and most days I'm a complete failure at teaching him... Some days I have small victories like when he said "C starts with Car" at dinner the other night (he may have had it backward, but it was something I had taught him earlier that day).
This period of time has been weird - I don't remember the last time I've experienced such a range of highs and lows during such a short period of time. At this point, I take all of the wins I can get and I'm TRYING not to stress about school work, and how clean my house is, and how much laundry I have to do, and how many projects I have that aren't getting done... but, it's hard. C doesn't thrive in a homeschool setting, C thrives in a structured school setting with teachers and paraprofessionals to help keep him on track. Some days, when I'm trying to get him to complete his school work, I feel like ripping my hair out and throwing a temper tantrum. Other days, I feel like I've totally got this. Some days I get upset and end up yelling and threaten to take away TV time or toys if our school work isn't done (or, as I put it before, I have a temper tantrum), and some days I realize he's not trying to be difficult by not focusing on school work, he's trying to tell me that this period of time has been scary, stressful and hard for him too, and he needs a break, and we do something fun instead. Some days, I don't even attempt to do school work, because I can tell he just can't handle it that day.
It's not just home schooling that's hard, it's being home ALL the time and having a child who just doesn't understand why. If my husband or I have to run out for some essentials, C wants to come and it's hard and confusing to explain to him why he can't come. Even if I was comfortable brining him into a store (which I'm not, because I can't trust that he won't unnecessarily touch things), at this point my trips to the store for essentials are my ONLY time to myself (besides after bedtime, which isn't enough for me anymore, because I'm too exhausted after bedtime to have anything left for myself). I'm lucky because G doesn't notice any of this stuff, he's young enough that he's just going with the flow and hasn't noticed the change.
It's like everything seems harder now: mornings with my kids, meal times, bed time, everything - it's all so hard now. We finally got to this point where C could wake up before us, get himself a snack and turn on the TV and watch TV for an hour before waking us up (which was awesome, because my kiddos are early risers and he's usually up at 5:30-6:00am every day)... It WAS awesome, until the morning that he decided to go into the snack cabinet and pull out all of the snacks and line them up on the table... it was even less awesome the morning he drew all over himself with markers and put half a bottle of gel in his hair before deciding to wake up my hubby (who, bless his soul, dealt with all of that and cleaned everything up before waking me up)... So now we're back to having to listen for him to get out of bed and getting up with him. Do you have any idea what it's like to wake up with 2 kids at 5:30am and be (basically) trapped in the house with them until bedtime (which isn't until 7pm and some nights can last until 9pm)... I'll tell you what it's like - it's EXHAUSTING. Luckily we're getting some nicer weather lately, so we can at least spend time in our yard during the day, which seems like such a nice change of pace for all of us!
Some days I have felt so exhausted and so defeated that I just give up and we watch TV and play on the living room floor all day... For the record, these days greatly out number the days where I feel like I have it all together and we do all of our school work, bake cookies, clean the house and have a wonderful day. I sometimes look at other people on social media and think "Why can't I do that? Why don't I have my sh*t together? Why am I struggling so bad with home schooling?" and then I remember exactly why I decided to write this post - most of the time, people are showing their best selves on social media... I'm guilty of it myself (as I said about my previous social distancing posts). It's hard not to compare, though, as much as I try not to. I've decided to be ok with just trying to survive - some people may be working out daily (I've managed to work out a total of 4 times in the past 3 weeks), some people may seem like they're kicking home schoolings butt, some people may be baking or cooking gourmet meals... some people may be thriving with their families, and some people (myself included) are just trying to survive.
I think the most important thing I've been trying to remind myself this whole time is that if this social distancing situation is causing me this type of stress and anxiety - imagine what it's like for C. I mean, I've had 36 years to build up an arsenal of coping techniques... C is barely 5 years old, he struggles just to voice his feelings, let alone manage them when his entire life and routine has been turned upside-down. So, if you're over there feeling like your not managing this "new normal" well, feel free to read and re-read this to remind yourself that we're all struggling and some of us are just trying to survive, however that may look.
This post has been long, and has been personal, and has had little to do with my photography technique, so I did want to touch on that. This was fun because C was aware of me, but I didn't want him to be, so I kept telling him "don't look at me, pretend I'm not here" and had him just do his thing while watching TV (which was hilarious because when I actually WANT him to pose for photos, he won't and he's all goofy about it... and when I don't want him to pose, he wants to be a perfect model - LOL!). Additionally, I used my widest angle lens, which is a lens I don't use often, but needed to use to be able to capture the full disaster of my living room. It's a fun lens to use, and I've been trying to figure out projects that I can use this specific lens for. The lighting wasn't great (it rarely is inside my house), but I wanted to be real here :-)
thanks for stopping by!