The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not, was not on the list of how I wanted to spend my March. This month, with the impending 11th birthday of my youngest daughter, is a time of celebration and reflection. She was indeed the surprise and the anchor to my family. Then and now.
With this virus, and its subsequent, quarantines (at the time of this posting, the state of Illinois is on a lockdown–no one is going anywhere!), I have been home with my children officially one week. In that week, I have learned the following things about them.
1.) They truly love to sleep. I try to give my youngest girl at least 8 hours of sleep. With her being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, sleep is imparative! With the help of melatonin, she gets the sleep she needs. My oldest? Oh, I see ALREADY what kind of teenager she is going to be (she will be 13 in September). She can be sullen, moody and is a die-hard introvert! Yesterday (Sunday, Day 6) she stayed in her room all day. I asked her what was wrong. Half-joking, I asked her if ‘people were taxing’. She told me yes. I agreed and let her relax to recharge.
2.) I do not spend enough time with these people. In the 7 days I have been with my kids, I have gone through 3 loaves of bread and about 3 1/2 (almost 4 1/2) gallons of milk. I have forgotten how it was to be a preteen and have your body just STARVE. There is no need to give them cold cereal, because it won’t keep them as full as they need to be. This experience has forced me to look at how I spend my time, and who I need to spend it on. I’m a good mom, but this is a different animal! I do not have the stamina to homeschool–I am good at the supplemental part of learning! I’m that mom. #PayTeachersWhatTheyAreWorth
3.) My house needs more plants. I told myself this year that I was going to start 2 gardens. I told myself I was going to start growing herbs, and flowers and some veggies. I am confronted with the fact I have no greenery in my house–and I have always grown up around soil, water and plants. Not having anything in my house (I am thankful I can look outside and see trees!) that is green? It is making my heart sad–and making my cabin fever worse! I have opened the windows every morning for light. It helps.
4.) Children with learning disabilities need another level of support. My daughter takes medication for manage her ADD/ADHD. This quarantine has made me that much more aware of what her classroom life is like! There is redirection she needs. The reminders she needs, and the augmenting of her personal learning space that has helped her. I have been her mother 11 years–I am aware of what she can do, what she needs but this? This is has forced to me to remember to temper my frustrations with expectation. And sometimes, that’s hard…
5.) Right now? Mama needs hot tea–or a cold Long Island Iced Tea. I have decided to tell my husband of almost a decade to turn off the damn news! It has been essential to my personal well-being, and sanity of my children. He’s a news junkie trapped in a house with 3 artists! Something has to give! Despite the fact that I have not been drunk in a decade since the birth of my youngest child (by choice!), right now? I just need something to take the edge off. Books, writing, food and sex can only do so much.
Sometimes, Mama need a reprieve.
Be strong y’all–and wash your hands!
Firestarter Note: I, like the Social Media Coordinator Rameisha ‘Meisha’ Davis, am hoping you are taking this virus seriously. At last count from the Washington Post, there have been 476 deaths in the US since this virus has been reported/discovered. Give empathy liberally. Wash your hands, and self-quarantine if you can. The hope is we as a nation will emerge better than we have before. This is a chance to engage with our families, to ask questions of our kids–and see how we can do this motherhood/fatherhood/parenthood a little better. Meisha said she hoped this epidemic doesn’t increase cases of abuse for children or Intimate Partner Violence. I hope this situation shows how needed teachers are, and how they need to be paid what they are worth! Also, let us remember that education in this country is and can be unfair. Not every school has access to the technology better funded schools do. This disparity is foremost in my mind today. Along with the importance of school meals. The hope is that we remember we are all in this together–and it may take all of us to get out of it. -JBHarris