8:00 am – I very reluctantly roll out of bed. I don’t need to brush my hair or do makeup because I already know I won’t be leaving the house today. The sweatpants I wore to bed will do just fine until at least mid-afternoon.
8:15 am – I, hilariously, use Alexa to play “The Circle Of Life” on all devices to wake up my kids. Unamused, and also reluctantly, they roll out of bed. The joke isn’t as funny the fifth day in a row.
Each of the three kids eat breakfast and get dressed at their own pace. The two oldest can tell time now, and they know exactly how long they have before school starts.
We don’t need to rush around the house, finding matching socks and shoes because we won’t be going to the car this morning.
9:15 am – Virtual school begins for my two oldest.
My first and third graders have spent a total of four days IN school so far this year.
Though challenging at times, all-in-all, I don’t mind the virtual platform for them. At least it’s consistent.
I spend the next hour or two doing a balancing act.
The house always needs cleaning because three kids and two dogs are home 7 days a week.
My first grader needs reassurance that she is making her “math mountains” properly.
My third grader is learning how to write a paragraph and also needs reassurance.
The two need redirection often. Someone to keep them on task.
Somewhere between school and house work, my two-year-old beckons me to help build a block tower. He plays so patiently by himself lately – how can I say no?
Lunch times are staggered.
11:30 am – My daughter goes first.
If it’s been a manageable morning and I have all the right stuff, I’ll make a homemade pizza or a balanced meal with chicken patties and 4 food groups represented. If it’s been a rough morning, full of technical issues and tears, a bag of chips and Ramen will do.
12:00 pm – My son’s turn.
Little Guy will usually eat too.
I have another balancing act beginning. I need to watch the clock, because my daughter will go back to school at 12:30, while my son goes back at 1:00.
If Little Guy gets messy during lunch, I’ll start running bath water while finishing the dishes.
It’s around 1:00 pm when I have two kids back to learning, one kid in the tub, and I realize I haven’t yet eaten today.
As our bathroom and kitchen are only inches from one another, I quickly throw a frozen pizza bagel thingy in the air fryer. Five minutes later, I’m burning the roof of my mouth while I scarf down the “food” I made, as I sit on the toilet, making sure my kid doesn’t drown or drink shampoo.
When Little Guy is clean, I set him on the couch, get him a blanket, and turn on Blippi. (For some insane reason, he just cannot take his eyes off of Blippi right now!)
I’ve stuck my two-year-old in front of the babysitter, because I feel like this might be a quiet time for me to shower.
With steaming hot water running, I put my hair in a bun (because why bother washing everything if I’m not leaving?), and I hop in, hopeful for a calming 10 minutes. My shower is less about getting clean and more about feeling warmth and clearing my mind as well as sinuses.
Within a few short minutes, my youngest is in the bathroom, playing with the lights and my daughter is sitting on the toilet, iPad in hand, asking me questions.
I hurry to finish, not even bothering to shave my legs.
I jump out and put on a clean pair of sweat pants, because jeans are for special occasions now. I towel dry my hair – and that’s good enough.
2:00 pm – I’m wondering where the hell the day went and why nothing is clean.
Both kids are done with school now – at least until homework.
I resolve, for the moment, to just chill out with the kids for a bit. Take a load off. Enjoy a short rest.
Wait. What’s that I smell?
Dog mess in the kitchen.
I guess I needed to get off my ass and start more laundry anyway.
3:30 pm – I’m getting dinner started.
My two oldest are an hour and a half deep into YouTube, because I have housework to do and we live on a main road where I can’t just let them outside to play whenever.
My Little Guy is still bopping around the house, happily. He has an imagination and a very sunny disposition. He doesn’t realize that we haven’t left the house all week.
4:30 pm – Time to eat!
You would think with how little we eat restaurant food anymore, the kids would finally get used to eating real food at home.
If it’s not fried or in a tortilla, my kids protest.
Meh – at least the Hubs is always happy when I cook.
By 5:30, we are finished with dinner and I’m in the midst of cleaning up the kitchen and dictating which of the two older kids should shower first. If it’s an easier clean-up, I’ll try to quiz my daughter on her spelling words while I scrub.
Around 6:00 it’s time for homework.
Since we no longer get assignment notebooks sent home, we have a homework checklist for each child, hanging on the fridge. It consists of things like, “check Google Classroom,” “practice spelling words,” “read for 15+ minutes,” etc.
Both kids go down the list, making sure this and that is done. On an easy night, both only need assistance when it’s time for spelling words and flash cards. Other nights, both kids need help in every subject at the same time. Hubs helps with homework (I usually pawn off my son on him, because 3rd grade math has become too much for my brain).
At 7:30, we get our littlest in bed. If we’re lucky, we’ve had minimal bumps in the road during homework, and the other two are off doing…whatever.
We swear bedtime for the other two kiddos is 8:30 – but, really, that’s flexible. By this time, Hubs and I are both laying on top of our sheets, still clothed and watching Netflix, in a general “who the hell cares anymore?” state of mind.
We eventually get the kids and ourselves into bed for real, thus completing our day.
At this point in the anecdote, I wish that I had some clever quip about how it’s all good.
I mean – it IS. We are healthy. We have a home. We have food on our table. We are lucky and, yes, grateful.
But, here’s the thing – this pandemic blows.
Back in March, everything felt temporary. It always seemed like we’d be “back to normal” come next school year.
Well, next school year is here, and the world still isn’t fixed.
We absolutely try to make the best of it all – but, let’s be honest – most days, right now, aren’t exactly pretty.