We are in some uncharted territory! From toddlers to school-aged kids, to college students on sabbatical, to our adult, working community, and even retirees- we are all adjusting to our new normal. And, for the unforeseen future, many of us are all trying to make it all work under the same roof.
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency I don’t have all the answers nor am I an expert at telecommuting while homeschooling under pandemic conditions. As a matter of fact, I find myself very much the amateur. Yet, there’s no shortage of advice that’s for sure.
Serves me right for not using a burner email for all the things I’ve signed up for over the years because now I’m getting “COVID-19 what to do…because we care” updates from every possible type of organization- no matter the relevance. From Grammarly’s “effective communication is now more important than ever” to eHarmony’s “just because she says she wants ‘social distance’ doesn’t mean she’s not interested” these updates and tidbits of advice flood my inbox- impervious to my spam filter (another thing I’m not so good at managing). I triage them, prioritizing the notifications from work, the local community leaders, and my kids’ schools (all three of them).
From ever-changing conditions to recommended home schedules that seem more regimented and ambitious than school itself, I find myself feeling inadequate. So, despite being a self-avowed amateur at all of this I do have advice and a “Top-One list” of how to be the best telecommuting, home-schooling, pandemic-managing person you can be: Don’t judge yourself.
As you consume the news (which I don’t recommend doing too often), social posts from friends, colleagues, and family, the daily interactions with your multi-generational housemates, and the advice from sources you never even knew existed let alone had relevance, be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best that you can in what is an unprecedented set of circumstances. And, to make you feel a bit better about how you’ve struggled through all this here are some things to consider- some situations which may or may not have happened in my house over what has surely seemed to be much more than a week.
- If you’ve let your kids stay up well into the night playing Fortnite to ensure your 8 a.m. conference call would go off unimpeded the following morning don’t judge yourself.
- If you’ve yelled an obscenity at a household pet that had torn up your last roll up toilet paper while not on mute during that same said conference call don’t judge yourself.
- If you’ve found yourself on your fourth cup of coffee before noon, don’t judge yourself.
- If you’ve navigated to the adult beverage aisle first during your essentials shopping trip don’t judge yourself.
- If you’ve definitively realized that you were never meant to be an educator because your daughter is binge-watching the “Office” more than her SOL prep videos don’t judge yourself.
- If you’ve had to cancel a meeting because you’re dealing with the aftereffects of your 17 year-old’s decision to use the cardboard roll for toilet paper don’t judge yourself.
- And If you’ve considered making it to the local park a huge victory for your family while your Facebook friend just posted a video of his whole family socially distancing themselves as they roll into a secluded Grand Canyon in a rented RV don’t judge yourself.
Whether it’s through humor, or vulnerability, or being vulnerably humorous, we must be kind to ourselves and to those around us. We could certainly judge and shame each other into our own respective corners or we can acknowledge what’s most important. We need each other!
The reality is many of us are seasoned telecommuters. I am not. Many of us are seasoned educators. I am not. And in some cases, there are those who are experts at understanding pandemics. I am not. But what’s certainly true is this: no one – that I’m aware of -- is an expert at all three at the same time. And the best that we can do is our best, even if we are all amateurs.