How are you holding up, mama? Like how are you really holding up?
Whether you are virtual learning or homeschooling — it’s just as hard on you as it is on the kids.
Everyone’s saying to have patience with the kids. It’s not easy. They miss their friends. Their teachers. We’re afraid they might fall behind. We’re wondering if schools will ever actually open up.
And while all of that is true, no one is talking about the moms (and some dads, but let’s be real, it’s mostly moms) who are also learning to cope with virtual learning or homeschooling.
Moms are quitting their jobs because someone has to stay home with the kids. And as if being a mom didn’t already encompass a myriad of roles, we’re now personal secretaries and tech support — managing zoom meetings, google classrooms and keeping curriculum organized.
It's a lot.
It’s not easy.
And you are not alone.
I have to wonder if on some level, we as moms tend to shoulder all of our hardships in silence because if we admit to our failings, we’re admitting to being a bad mom.
You are not a bad mom.
I am not a bad mom.
We just need a little help.
Completely by accident, I stumbled upon four elements that help me and my family handle homeschooling.
O - Over communicate: Tell your partner over and over that you need HELP. Let them handle the planning one week so they can really see how much work it is. If possible, let them teach! Sit with your kids each morning and outline the expectations of the day. We do a morning meeting where we talk about what our school day will look like.
O - Outsource: Listen, mama. You were doing a lot even before you became a teacher, personal assistant and tech support. Your kids are likely old enough for basic chores (my 8yo is in charge of the litter box, sweeping and the guest bathroom; my 5yo wipes down the table, kitchen cabinets and dusts the living room). And your partner is also capable of helping (I don’t care if your partner works 15hr days, they can help out with something, even if it’s just loading the dishwasher).
P - Plan Ahead: Try to plan out at least 2-3 days in advance. This is especially true of homeschooling. You’ll risk getting overwhelmed if you don’t have some idea of what you’re supposed to teach the kids. Virtual learning? Get a lesson plan from the teacher. Know what your kids are learning so you can fill in gaps if they struggle. Plan out meals. I pick 5 meals for the week and plan for 2 “easy” dinner nights (usually nachos, leftovers or pizza). Do more Instant Pot/Crock Pot meals. It’s fall…it’s time for all the stews.
S - Start Small: It’s tempting to do all the things right away and get Pinterest Perfect. Stop. Maybe just start with meal planning. Maybe introduce setting daily expectations before you add on chores. Maybe just one or two chores before adding more. Start small, then build. Start small — if something doesn’t work, you don’t have to knock it all down, you just have to replace that small piece before moving on. Also, stop comparing yourself to the mom down the street.
We cannot compare ourselves to one another. Celebrate what works for you. Celebrate what’s working for the mom down the street, even though it looks different from what you do.
Still feeling like you have nothing to celebrate?
There’s one more thing that really helped me: I asked for help.
You are not a bad mom if you break down, cry it out in the bathroom and ask for help.
My day might not be exactly what you need to do with your kids, but maybe there’s something I do you want to try. Maybe you want to put your own twist on something someone else is doing.
You know yourself and your kids best, but it’s okay to get help.
You want a detailed version of my school day with my kids? Email me — I’ll go into all the details. You want to watch a video of me setting up my Trello board with next week’s curriculum? Let me know!
There’s always a lot of talk about going with the flow. It’s supposed to be good for us. In some ways, being adaptable is a godsend. As military spouses, many of us are highly familiar with the need to be adaptable.
But there’s magic in structure.
When we create a plan and establish boundaries, we can focus on meeting goals and building empires. We feel unstoppable!
Stepping outside of ourselves to look at the big picture makes going with the flow easier, because we have an idea of where our river is going.
When we step outside ourselves, we put ourselves in positions to help others.
The Emperor asks that we step into our role as leaders (whether that looks like a leader in your family, in your community or in your work is up to you) and empower others to live up to their potential and do their best work.
Similarly, the 10 of Materials is asking us to share our gifts with others.
Encourage your kids with their learning. Reach out to someone in your neighborhood and offer some help — are you running to the store? See if anyone could use a gallon of milk, some eggs or a loaf of bread. Maybe a friend could use a pick-me-up and you’re able to surprise them with a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Remember to keep your boundaries! We’re already busy — we don’t need to risk burnout because we’re trying to do too much in too small a time frame.
The Emperor knows that the magic of their authority lies in structure. Make a plan that includes space for the self. Working from home? Set work hours. Homeschooling? Set school hours. Maybe every Wednesday you meet up with a neighbor for an evening glass of wine or you set aside an hour every Thursday afternoon to indulge your creative, crafty side.
As you discover what structure looks like for you, remember to be gentle. You’ve already got so much on your plate, but I promise once you find this magic, it gets easier.
Thank you for subscribing to musings & magic. The next issue will release during the first week of October. In the meantime, if want a personalized tarot reading, you can book a reading with me here. Or, if you’re just curious about the muse behind the musings, you can find me on Instagram.