Parenting with three kids in three different schools is never easy. Today with virtual school or hybrid or both it’s even worse. Parenting and schooling in a pandemic, has proven extra challenging, and it’s only October.
Last week, my Steady Eddie middle kid wasn’t so steady. Parents who have a Steady Eddie know how extra painful it is when they need us. These are the kids that we can paren ton auto-pilot through school, because they are driven and ambitious and almost never need us for anything.
Well, turns out being 100% virtual with a 100% normal course load was not quite what my guy expected after last year’s slightly less stringent online experience.
There was some hand wringing and many discussions about time management. My normally organized kid needed some new lessons on organizing and prioritizing to balance school work with the rest of life.
It was one of those parenting mirror moments in that he was reflecting right back at me the very things I struggle with myself.
Don’t you hate that? When your kids’ behaviors magnify your own shortcomings? It’s something no one warns you about when you’re holding that sweet immobile little bebe. But I digress, that’s a post (or 20) for another day.
Instead, in an effort to shift focus and mindset onto something good, let’s talk about the growth I’m witnessing in my kids every day that I’m not sure would he happening if life were “normal”.
Let’s be clear, these days are challenging, but they are also full of opportunity that we may all miss if all we’re focused on is loss.
In this house full of teenagers, there have been lessons like my middle one’s: grownup (or executive function, if you’re fancy) skills like, time management when faced with the multiple distractions that online learning provides.
There have also been the lessons that include resiliency.
As my senior navigates the daily changes to the college process and grieves the loss of multiple senior year milestones, she is building up the strength that life will demand when she is an adult with a job and rent and relationships that challenge her.
How about the advocacy of asking for the help you need?
As the youngest learns he can’t disappear into the computer screen without consequences to his grades, he is forced to learn to ask for help. Even when it is uncomfortable, he has to ask. Even when he is judging himself for needing help, he has to ask. And when he does ask for help, he sees that he isn’t judged and that it doesn’t mean he is failing.
Instead he sees that people appreciate being able to help. He is learning that advocating for himself is not only ok, it is necessary and good. He is always boosted after asking for clarity and guidance. This lesson takes some of us our whole lives to learn. It will serve him better than anything else he could have learned in a classroom this year.
Resilience, prioritizing and time management and the skills of advocacy-this is what my kids are learning this year. I don’t know about you, but for me, these are lessons I will gladly add into my children’s education.
This year is far from perfect. Heck, some days it isn’t even good. There are plenty of things my kids (all our kids) are experiencing that we would all rather they never have to.
Instead of focus on all that is lost, or see all of this as needless pain and suffering, it helps to see what is being gained. The scales may not always balance, but the side of good isn’t totally empty this year. Let’s try to remember that.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.