Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

My alarm wakes me before the sun has even come up and the first thing I do is reach for my cell phone, silently bracing myself for the 57 emails that are sure to greet me. 

I’ve come to hate Mondays. 

I now despise Tuesdays. 

Wednesdays are awful. 

These have become the three days each week when my children are doing their remote learning and I get to be there to help manage the chaos.

RELATED: I’m Doing My Best and I Hope That Will Be Enough

The truth is, I’m one of the lucky ones . . . still. My husband and I have been able to continue working throughout the pandemic, easily able to shift our work schedules in order to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our family. We’ve been incredibly fortunate throughout the whole lengthy shutdown.

We are grateful but yet, we are struggling.

I am lucky to be able to be 100 percent available for both children on their remote days. On those days, I run around my house switching between the roles of IT director, guidance counselor, principal, 9th grade geometry teacher, 6th grade science teacher, Google classroom support, lunch lady, and overall taskmaster/alarm clock. 

Yesterday I got to relearn slopes and angles so I could effectively support my 9th grader in geometry. Then I got to develop a tracking system that would work for my 6th grader to help him better manage the sometimes too subtle details of his class assignments. Later I got to help with a story map and reviewing point of view vs. perspective. 

It is a luxury, for sure, to be able to spend this time with my children without having to worry about working at the exact same moment. In my younger days, I actually taught 6th grade math and study skills for middle schoolers. I loved my time as a teacher so this should be my jam. It’s not.

The truth is, I hate teaching my own children. 

I love being their mom but I hate being their teacher.

We are grateful but yet, we are struggling.

Their remote days fill me with an impending sense of doom, as I am constantly wondering when the other shoe will drop. 

Will someone hack into my son’s email again? 

Will the internet fail again?

Will I need to help my 6th grader problem solve with another teacher about why the web-based program incorrectly gave him a grade of an F when it should have been an A?

RELATED: Sometimes I Want To Scream, “Does Anyone See Everything I Am Doing?!”

Will our printer decide to be finicky again?

Will I be able to understand the content myself?

Will my children see and complete all their assignments even though every single teacher posts them differently and has different submission guidelines?

Can I voice frustration, sadness, or a desire for things to be different without getting an angry message in my inbox or posted on my news feed?

Will I have any energy left for my afternoon and evening sessions with my clients and to teach my college classes?

RELATED: I’m Tired of Working Like I Don’t Have Kids and Mothering Like I Don’t Have a Job

Will I be able to fit in a workout?

Will I just say forget it all and enjoy an apple cider donut or two?

We are grateful but yet, we are struggling.

By the time the now glorious days of Thursday and Friday roll around, I feel like three days have been three weeks. I am empty. My brain is fried. My anxiety has been activated and on high for three straight days and all I can see is the promise that those two final days of the week represent for me. 

I wake on Thursday mornings like a little kid on Christmas Day because for the next two days, our lives get to feel normal-ish. My kids get to leave the house for two whole school days. They get to be in the same space with peers. They get to be taught by actual teachers, not by their stressed-out mother.

RELATED: In 2020, You Can Either Be a Good Employee or a Good Mother, But You Can’t Be Both

Perhaps even more exciting is the notion that I get to throw myself fully into my work on Thursdays and Fridays. My clients on those two days get the best version of me as I didn’t spend the morning teaching biology or arguing about the benefits of writing about the geographical features of our town or solving internet connectivity issues. I just get to be one person. 

We are grateful but yet, we are struggling.

Every day I find myself wondering how it must be for others if I am struggling this much and I have so much for which I am grateful. How on Earth are single parents doing it? What about parents who can’t flex their schedules? What about parents with younger children? What about the parents with more than two children? What about parents who work full time as teachers, too? What about parents of children with learning needs? What about parents with mental health needs or addiction or who live in abusive environments or who have lost their jobs? What about parents who face many of these challenges?

So many are struggling.

Yes, we’ve been here before and survived. Last spring when the pandemic initially hit, many of us pivoted into the role of teacher/parent. Yet, somehow it’s different this time around. Last time there was grace in the fact that everything was happening for the first time. We all were scrambling. We all knew we were trying our best. Somehow we all were there to support each other — to commiserate and to hold space for each other. We believed it would be temporary and could look forward to next school year for it to be better. It was OK to admit then that it was hard and admit that we were struggling. 

RELATED: I’ve Never Been Tired Like This Before

That permission and space to feel our feelings has shifted somehow at a time when we need it most.

Sometimes we just need to feel our feelings and talk about the hard stuff, knowing we are not alone and that our struggles are seen.

We, as humans, can hold two opposing thoughts and feelings at the same time. We can be hopeful and also be fearful. We can be thankful and grateful and also be frustrated. We can appreciate the efforts of everyone right now and also desire something better.

We can be grateful but yet, also be struggling.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Jenni Brennan

Jenni Brennan, LICSW is an author, podcaster, college professor, therapist, and mother. Her work centers around the topics of grief, health and wellness, relationships, and parenting.

The Room that Built Me

In: Living, Teen
Old photo of teen bedroom covered in posters, color photo

Before Pinterest, before social media, before anybody cared, my room during high school in the early 2000s was decorated with magazines taped all over the walls. It proudly displayed gaudy wallpaper, an out-of-place blanket, and random trinkets. None of the furniture matched, and it didn’t matter. It was home to pictures taken by my trusty disposable Kodak camera, printed promptly at the local K-Mart of course. A big radio took up all the space my dresser would allow, and a neon green cordless phone found its home on the floor next to my bed. RELATED: Ahem, Your Favorite 90s Shoes...

Keep Reading

Hey Friend, Meet Me in the Mess

In: Friendship, Living
Friends smiling

If you come to our home, you’ll likely see a basket of folded or unfolded laundry waiting to be put away. You may even see a pile of dirty clothes hanging out by the washer. If you come to our home, you’ll likely find spitty bits in the sink from where little kids brushed their teeth in a hurry and forgot to rinse. Despite my best efforts, they always seem to find their way back. If you come to our home, there’s a 50-50 chance the beds will be made. If they were made, there’s a high chance they were...

Keep Reading

God Calls Me Flawless

In: Faith, Living
Note hanging on door, color photo

When I look in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I tend to focus on every imperfection, every flaw. As I age, more wrinkles naturally appear. And I’ve never been high maintenance, so the gray hairs are becoming more frequent, too. Growing up a lot of negative words were spoken about me: my body, my weight, my hair, my build. Words I’ve somehow carried my whole life. The people who proclaimed them as my truth don’t even remember what they said, I’m sure. But that’s the power of negative words. Sticks and stones may break our bones,...

Keep Reading

I’m Afraid of Going to the Dentist

In: Living
Woman sitting in dental chair looking nervous

I never used to have a fear of the dentist. Growing up as a child who struggled with sensory issues and hated brushing my teeth, combined with struggles with food and not eating very healthy, I often had cavities and needed trips to the dentist to fix them. So trips to the dentist were just common for me, and I got used to it. By the time I was a teenager and needed braces, those trips only got more frequent. Did I enjoy the dentist? No, not really. But I never had any anxieties about it until five years ago. It started...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

Memories are What Matter—Watch the Chevy Holiday Ad Making Us Cry

In: Living
Chevy holiday ad

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I find that this time of year feels fragile. I love the holidays, don’t get me wrong. But these days I recognize a comingling of joy and sadness that envelopes so many during this season. It’s a giant heap of emotion as we sort through the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad of the past year and try to make sense of where we are right here, right now, in this moment of time. So when I saw Chevrolet’s new seasonal ad last night, I was...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

When You Need a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Living
Two friends having coffee

We have all seen them—the posts about the door always open, the coffee always on, telling us someone is always there when we need support. I have lived with depression my entire life. From being a nervous child with a couple of ticks to a middle-aged woman with recurrent major depressive and generalized Anxiety disorder diagnoses. Antidepressants, therapy, writing, and friends are my treatments. The first three are easy, my doctor prescribes antidepressants, I make appointments with a therapist, and I write when I feel the need. RELATED: Happy People Can Be Depressed, Too The fourth is hard. As I...

Keep Reading