So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

My kids’ school year starts in 41 days, and I have no idea and yet every idea what to expect . . . and I am already sad about it. I’m trying not to be pessimistic, but a quick glance around my state shows me that despite our state’s best efforts, things are still gonna be COVID-19 dicey in 41 days. Just this morning, before I even knew I’d be writing this, I had a few minutes of rare alone time with my rising high school junior, and I asked him to start emotionally preparing for learning at home quite a bit of the school year.

You see, I have no doubt that school will open as planned . . . 

But I also have no doubt that within a month or so, someone there will get COVID and the school will have to close for a while. And then reopen, and then close again. Rinse and repeat.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic, rather pragmatic. That insanely persistent virus is still VERY much with us, and with that many people in one place . . . it is pretty much a statistical certainty.

So, for my junior, for my 8th grader, and for my 4th grader, I’m kind of already grieving the certain uncertainty that will accompany this school year.

My youngest had a breakout year in 3rd grade. For the first time, he made good friends, he overcame some social delays, and he kicked butt academically. It was the first year with a totally positive parent-teacher conference, the first year I didn’t have serious anxiety opening up his “Friday Folder” . . . .and then it got cut off. And now, I doubt he will have the opportunity to really thrive in the classroom and socially like he needs to be able to do. He should be ready to embark on an amazing follow-up year, to solidify all the growth and positive changes last year brought. Will he just stay the same? Or will he go backward? In a non-COVID year, I’d be feeling carefree about his progress. Now, I feel the determination to keep on top of it. 

RELATED: I’m a Teacher and I Don’t Know What to Expect This Year Either

My 8th grader should enjoy her year as being the top of the junior high, pursuing a lead in the fall play and all the choir solos she worked so hard at voice lessons (via Zoom, LOL) to earn. Will they even be able to have choir class (singing has been proven NOT safe) or a fall play? Those are questions it hurts my heart to ask because an educated guess tells me the likely answers. What’s my child to do with no outlet for her passions? 

For my junior, his first year as an upperclassman is already starting out bittersweet, as his best friend just moved five hours away. Of course, they were only able to see each other a couple of times in his last months here. And this fall, when it’s time for him to throw himself into activities to ensure his class beats the seniors for the Homecoming spirit stick—he usually helps write, edit and produce the class video sketch—will they even be in school Homecoming week? Will there be a Homecoming football game or dance? Will these rites of passage just . . . disappear, like prom last spring? 

How do I, as a parent, compensate for that, or at the very least, help him cope?

I’m not crazy: I know that in the grand scheme of things if my family has our health, we have everythingI know my children have two loving parents, a safe home, and enough food and clothing. I know that. They know that.

But they are children, and I can’t expect them to adopt an adult’s perspective. So how do I help them mourn their losses appropriately and appreciate the enormity of what they still have? 

RELATED: Our Kids Have All Lost Something

Pandemic parenting, man. This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I did not see it coming.

But I can see this weird school year coming, and it hurts. So I’m grieving it, yet with a thankful heart. Because I know we have it good, but the truth remains: even when things could be worse, it doesn’t mean they aren’t hard. 

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.
 

Little Things Can Be Self Care Too

In: Motherhood
Woman reading a book

My third baby has never been a great night-time sleeper. Around eight months old, he decided to add more middle-of-the-night feedings. He went from his usual two nighttime nursing sessions to four, five, or even more. With all the wakeups, I was getting a dismal amount of sleep. My lack of sleep led to low energy, low patience, and an overall low mood. I was constantly tired and grumpy. When playing with my kids, I would feel like I was in a fog. I was not able to enjoy their silliness or creativity but instead became easily annoyed and frustrated....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Dear Overstimulated Mama, You Need Rest

In: Motherhood
Woman resting head on wall

To the overstimulated mama, I know you used to be a person who loved singing and dancing, games and riotous dinner parties with friends and family. You probably had the energy for a fun evening and loved to cuddle with your man. I’m sure your outfits used to bedazzle and your hair and makeup would make you feel like a million bucks. Oh, how times have changed. Now, a Friday night on the couch is the most coveted activity after a week of little hands all over you, pulling, dragging, squeezing. Your kids keep most of the cuddles you used...

Keep Reading

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

Keep Reading

When Your Last Baby Goes to School

In: Child, Motherhood

In just a few short weeks, our daughter will start preschool.  On Monday and Wednesday mornings, she’ll sling her little backpack over her shoulders, pull on her tie-dye sneakers, and head out the door. If you ask her about it, she’ll get a big grin on her face and tell you how excited she is. But me? While I’m ready for her to go and fully confident she’ll thrive, my stomach has also been doing flip-flops at the thought. Because she’s our youngest. Our little. Our last. If you’ve been here before, you know: When your last baby goes to...

Keep Reading

Raising a Child with a Severe Food Allergy Affects the Whole Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy looking at ice cream cone

I saw something recently that said, “It’s National Ice Cream Day today!” and I cannot stop thinking about it. Now I know that sounds silly, but as a mom of a child with a severe dairy (and egg) allergy, I must admit at times it makes me sad (and more often jealous if I’m being completely honest) when I know my son is going to miss out on another fun or “normal” thing that other kids his age are experiencing, like actual ice cream and ice cream parties. If I continue to be honest, I get jealous when I see...

Keep Reading

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

The Rollercoaster of Foster Care and Adoption

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother daughter photo on beach

After spending most of their childhoods in foster care, Addy and her brother Dominick had never been to a birthday party or down a water slide. They missed out on many childhood staples, but it was the least of their concerns. Addy was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks—crippled with fear that she would age out of the system before getting adopted. She carried a backpack full of anxiety fidgets to cope with her uncertain years in foster care. She had such a bad case of TMJ that the kids at school mocked her for adjusting her jaw every ten...

Keep Reading

I Had the Strict Mom

In: Motherhood
Daughter and mom in background

I was raised by a mom who people referred to as the helicopter mom, the overbearing mom, or (my favorite) the strict mom. Until the age of 21, when I moved out, I spent a lot of time looking at the four walls of my bedroom or outside with my sister. The only freedom I got was when we went to the store and I would wander off from my mama. I had close friends that lived two doors down from me and I wasn’t allowed over. I missed a lot of kickball games, birthday parties, and sleepovers. I also...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.