COVID, Kids

203 Days With My Children

Yesterday it dawned on me that with the closure of school through the end of the year, this means that assuming they return on schedule on September 1st, the kids will have been home full time with me for 5 1/2 months. To be precise, 203 days. 

The last day my boys went to school was the morning of March 12, which was the day we left for Mexico. I believe school was first suspended the following Friday or somewhere in that range. 

203 days!!!!! That is over half the year! I realize they would normally be home for the summer anyway, so that part shouldn’t be some big shock. But as wonderful as summertime is, for me as a working mom (and a work from home mom), the summers always present some unique challenges. I generally feel sort of a love/hate relationship with summers, just because it tends to feel a little chaotic balancing when I will work with having the kids home underfoot, juggling the different camps and activities and summer school along with more messes, meals, friends over, etc. 

I tend to do a lot of alternating work blocks for a few hours with kid stuff for a few hours, repeat, repeat. By the end of the day, I oftentimes feel like I was sort of neither here nor there, if that makes sense. Like, I get a lot done, but I don’t always feel the sense of easy freedom that you might envision summertime is supposed to feel like. I tend to get a little bit stressed, with one eye always on the clock, calculating what time I need to stop work to run someone to tennis lessons and then many days scheduling some work hours in the evenings and most Saturday mornings to round out the week. (I am so, so grateful for this flexibility- I am not complaining exactly- just stating the reality of what a flexible schedule sometimes actually looks like). 

All of “that” has kind of now been extended by 2 1/2 months. 😁

Good thing they are cute though πŸ˜‰ 


I hate to “complain” about this because I don’t want it to sound like I feel negatively about spending time with my kids or something. But, come on….203 days is a long time! I’m just not really used to spending 24/7 time with my kids anymore. They are 10 and 11 now, have been in school for years, and, prior to the last few years, I have always worked outside the home (which always has provided some natural separation/ distance from my kids!). 


I LOVE my kids more than life itself. But I’m also someone who likes her alone time! I’m just not used to having anyone in the house with me constantly anymore and having them “around” all the time just gets on my nerves sometimes. I sometimes find myself snapping “WHAT?!?” when they call my name for the 15th time before 10 am. 

I guess when they were babies it was kind of a different situation, being with them all the time. In fairness, they had only been around for just a couple short years at that point, so maybe I still had more patience in the reserve πŸ˜‰ They also did nap back then and believe me, I cherished that time too. Haha. I’m mostly kidding- I loved my days home with the kids, going to the park, on walks, to the library, the zoo, reading to them… Those were beautiful, emotionally charged times with amazing times and also really terrible times (thinking back on a time that 2 year old Ethan threw a temper tantrum in the mall one December because he didn’t want to leave the mall play area….I had to scoop him up and drag him out crying, lugging Asher on my other hip, while Ethan lost a shoe and the Santa Claus sat gaping at me from his little “throne” in the Christmas Village…..ah fun times).

Don’t get me wrong- I would take their current ages ANY DAY over a needy toddler or a colicky baby! My kids’ ages are so easy in comparison.They no longer need constant supervision. I can leave them home alone to go to the grocery store. They can (technically) make their own food- whether they choose to or not is a different story…. They are fully potty trained (thank GOD those days are over). They can help with chores! They know how to work the TV and turn their own movies on. They know how to read to themselves, and they do! They can even play outside unsupervised at this point so I don’t have to stand out there watching them ride around in circles on their scooter for an hour. 

But they are still kids. They can be loud, they ask a lot of questions, they argue occasionally (with each other…and sometimes, with me…), they can leave messes around (meaning I need to find them and stop them from whatever they are now doing and make them go back and pick up anything they “forgot” to put away from the previous activity..), they still need my help with things, they require “direction” and “reminders” sometimes to turn the video games off when the time is up, they can’t always reach things up in the cabinet, they like to yell “MOM!!!!” a lot (and loudly), followed by a question like “Have you seen my green mechanical pencil??”, they practice the piano (yay!) in the middle of the afternoon outside my office door (boo…) when I’m trying to focus on work, followed by a session on the drums… 

On the whole I really am loving spending more time with the kids and just all of the quality family time in general during this time. But sometimes they do just get on my nerves! I don’t think there is a parent alive that would deny that kids can be frustrating sometimes!! 

                                     
                                             Haha! I have seen this shared online and it always makes me giggle. 
I sincerely hope this post doesn’t come across negatively. I do love my kids. I promise! I think I’m generally a pretty balanced mom- I don’t feel the “need” to spend every second with my kids to show them I love them, on a normal, non- COVID day. They know that I like, and need, a little bit of alone time to exercise, or read, or just go for a walk and listen to a podcast, and I think I’m a better mom for it, honestly. Maybe some people are fine spending every waking moment with their kids (and that’s okay too!), but I personally prefer a little bit of balance. 

School and their activities/sports usually create that balance pretty naturally now, at their ages, so this lockdown time has just been a bit of an adjustment with all of that suddenly yanked away. I’m thankful that Ivan is amazing with them and spends a lot of quality time with them too playing soccer, games or just watching their show together, which lets me sneak away now and then for a bit of peace and quiet (he gets his quiet time at his work office, since he is still having to go in to work!) 

On that note, I hear little footsteps upstairs, which means that at any moment someone’s head will be popping into my office door where I am writing this. πŸ™‚ Now that I have had my workout, my tea and some quiet writing time, I am ready for some kid time. (And, today is my first full “Flex off” day, so I don’t even have to fit in any work today!) 

Have a wonderful day with YOUR kids, if you have them, and may none of them touch your last nerve today! πŸ™‚ 

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for a healthy body that can exercise. I did a super intense workout this morning and it was so hard!! But I kept replaying something I read in a comment on a Facebook thread last night, from a woman who had a stroke last year. She was commenting on a thread where women were discussing exercise, body image issues and things like that. She said that she would just give ANYTHING to be able to walk again. Forget all the worries about how she looks or the extra couple pounds here or there…she just wants to be able to walk. Talk about some perspective!! I kept running her comment in my head as I pushed myself in my workout. I GET to workout! I am ABLE to workout. I am so grateful for that. 


4 thoughts on “203 Days With My Children

  1. I totally hear you with all of this! One of our families biggest obstacles is that my husband is still going to work and I work nights. I’ve grown accustomed to fitting in my sleep when the kids are at school/day care. With these two childcare options eliminated- getting the sleep I need to not only do my paid job but be a stay at home mom/teacher has proven to not be enough. We did hire a high schooler for babysitting on days after my night shift, but I was still finding it difficult to balance work and home duties with the kids home 24/7. It’s a challenge to get all the school work done/taught, groceries purchased, meals made and laundry done while two little boys are busy being boys. It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos! (I stole this.). As a result I ended voluntarily flexing down my FTE by one night shift a pay period. My sanity will thank me when this is over. I may also be forced to flex down more shifts in addition to the voluntary shifts.

    Looks like you’ve found a good balance!

  2. You definitely don't come off as negative. I think it would be hard to find someone who doesn't feel the way you do and is just LOVING all this together time. I know it has been a real struggle for us since our little guy is 2 so in a very demanding stage of life… We have actually made the difficult decision to send him back to daycare on Friday. I know we are putting ourselves at risk by doing this, but I can't keep him home forever and keep up with my work. Right now I can only take conference calls during his nap, so 1-2:30 (he's not a great napper). It's hard to predict when my husband will need to go into work so I can't really plan on that so I just don't feel like THE BEST coworker right now. But my coworkers are understanding and I tend to focus on work that doesn't require conference calls with clients. I've been counting down the days until his return to daycare since we made the decision early last week. I know we are going to be judged on this decision, but our daycare has remained open this whole time and we haven't had any cases yet (that we know of – who knows if anyone has had the virus with the limited testing that has been done). But I kept him home for about 7 weeks and I just can't do it anymore!!!!

  3. I can't even imagine having to work night shift and trying to deal with the whole homeschool thing plus run a household. It makes head spin just thinking about it! Going down by one shift sounds like a super smart decision. I feel like I have a hard enough time with it all and I'm HOME all the time and have flexible work hours!! I'm glad you were able to get some childcare for after your work days though. It would be awful to not be able to get adequate sleep. I was curious too if the inpatient nurses were being asked to take off any additional shifts- if no one wants off are they just stating to assign people off then?

  4. Well, absolutely NO judgement here for sending your son back to daycare!! That sounds like the right choice, though I do understand it probably feels hard in some ways too. I feel like the only reason I can get work done at home with my kids home is because they are way older- with a 2 year old, it would be terrible and I think almost impossible to really do. I didn't work from home back when my kids were little. I would have defintely needed childcare at that age, so don't feel guilty! If anyone "judges" you, well, then you just tell them you would be happy to receive their babysitting services for free so you can do your job to pay the bills!!! πŸ˜‰ I think it is perfectly understandable. Your life will feel much better when you can work during work time and be mom during mom time. Trying to mix it all together with a little one would just be so hard (long term anyway). Your son will probably be happy to get out of the house too and back to all his little friends after all this time cooped up! πŸ™‚

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