We’re working so hard, you know.
I’m a school counselor and a mom—and right now, I’m also a basket case. I’ve been a very small part of our district’s Return to Learn planning, focusing mostly on the social-emotional behavioral health piece.
We are working so hard.
So many committees and so many people are doing their level best to figure this out (largely on our own). And then it seems as soon as we have something figured out, the situation changes. It’s exhausting.
I sincerely believe educators all around the world are doing the same and working so incredibly hard at it. I wonder if we’re doing enough. I wonder how we can ever do enough. Enough to keep kids safe. Enough to keep our colleagues safe. Enough to keep ourselves and our families safe. Enough to provide a quality education to kids. Enough to support families who are feeling stressed to the max.
Please know we’re working so hard.
As a mom, I’m completely overwhelmed. I know the planning that’s happening for our schools. I’m not in the dark, waiting to hear what decisions are being made. And yet, as the situation changes daily, I feel like I have no idea what things will look like in the next few weeks, and what I learned at a meeting last week is different than what I learned at a meeting this week.
My husband is also a teacher, and we know we will be expected to work onsite regardless of whether our children are educated at school or remotely. We are both planners, so while I’m not even super worried about what the decision is, I’d just like to know it, so I can get started on the planning. How many kids will my daycare take? Where will my elementary school-agers go on their remote learning days? Will I have to pay someone to watch them and help them with their schooling? Is free public education going to end up costing me an arm and a leg? Is my employer going to be flexible? What if my support network of friends or family gets sick? Just how much help can I beg from my friends with their own worries and stresses (and children to educate)?
I am a school counselor, so of course, I know the tools and resources to cope through the ups and downs of life.
But the extended length of time I’m needing to cope with this stuff is wearing me down, and sometimes I lose it altogether to my emotions.
If you’re feeling the same, here are some of my go-tos in the toolbox. They take practice to be most effective and sometimes I flip between them in a matter of minutes. Also, they are not mutually exclusive. Right now I’m using three and four.
1. Accept and Move On
I can’t change a thing about what’s happening. It’ll be what it will be, and I’ll deal with it as it comes.
2. Interrupt and Acknowledge
I’m feeling this way because the world’s out of control. When the world’s not out of control, I can manage life. Right now I am safe, healthy, and present with my family or right where I need to be.
3. Ignore It
Stay off social media, turn the TV off, live a few minutes, hours, or a day as if life is the way I want it to be.
4. Tackle It
I can do this. One day at a time.
5. Give It Up
God, I can’t do this. Not today and tomorrow and the next day. But you can. So I will set it aside for you to carry today.
And if none of these strategies work, the Oreos are in the corner cupboard hidden behind the canned fruit. Kidding . . . kind of. I take solace in the fact that I am facing the same struggles as everyone else around the world. And we (educators and parents) will keep working so hard for as long as we have to.