Remote Learning Blues: How to beat the stress!

Remember the good old days of classroom schooling…. The morning frenzy of waking the kids, getting them dressed, packing the lunch boxes, sending them away with hugs and kisses and……and taking a breath of relief as you get some free time! Free to pursue the day as per your “to-do list” and get on single-mindedly to work and life. Now that Colorado school districts have shifted to 100% remote learning with widespread community transmission of covid-19, all of that seems like another life…. (insert wistful emoji).

As of Nov. 16, more than 1,290 people were in the hospital being treated for the virus and the positivity rate climbed to nearly 12.61%, which is well above the 5% benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). In this scenario, while remote learning is the sensible thing to do, it certainly is not doing any favors to us moms’ sanity!

There are days when nothing seems to be working, leaving us feeling that we are not giving our 100% to either the kids or our work. But now that it has been almost a year of remote learning, I have accepted that this might be the order of things for the unforeseeable future and might as well go with the flow!

Find the silver lining: I draw some satisfaction from knowing that now that kids are home, I can provide them a wholesome meal, instead of the sometimes-suspicious school cafeteria food or them bringing back as-it-is the lunch I so lovingly packed for them. Another mom might feel she is able to have a better grasp on her kid’s everyday learning and their working habits and is able to provide additional guidance. Yet another might like the unstructured break kids have in the class where they are able to explore on their own. The point is, find one thing that you are happy about and remind yourself when the going gets tough (which let’s admit, is more frequent with the current situation). Positive thinking is such an overused word that we forget sometimes that is the only way to keep sane.

Set aside time for joining your kids’ class: It is undeniable that remote learning cannot be a match for classroom learning. It is not possible for teachers to provide guidance without their physical presence, combined with the additional task of working with technology and making sure kids follow the appropriate classroom decorum through some twenty windows popping on the screen….phew! Whether we like it or not, we are now sharing the task of classroom teaching for a sizeable part, if not equally. While it’s not possible to stay on call the whole day, it is essential that we plan our day around the kid’s class schedule depending on what area they need more attention in, especially the younger ones. At my house, I am usually present in the math and writing class every day and he is able to manage reading, art, and other classes by himself. So essentially, working hours for us moms have shifted to be increasingly adaptive.

Outsource chores: With both parents staying at home, a fact that society was able to sweep under the carpet, is no longer hidden. And that is: women are still expected to be primarily responsible for household chores. That the housework is shared unequally between both genders is a stark reality. Are you comfortable with the fact that that women are Leaving the Workforce In Greater Numbers Than Men During The Pandemic? More than 850,000 left in Septemberalone. Does the fact that despite how far we have come, women are still stuck in their primal role of managing the household, bother you? The truth is: Working Women are reaching a breaking point. And all this without considering the work of assisting kids with online learning (which, as I have witnessed in most households is taken care of by…. can you guess…. yep moms!). Possible solution? Hire help for the chores! Do not compromise kids’ learning. Do not stretch yourself till you snap. We here, at DispatchMom are here to help!

Put in conscious planning for off-screen time: The worst part of remote learning is the increased screen-time for kids. I cannot imagine the stress this is putting on to their eyes. I feel it’s now imperative that we put in extra effort in reducing electronics exposure outside of school hours. Stocking up on board games, taking kids to a walk around the block when sunny, having a mommy and kid exercise session are some of the ways to make sure the little bodies are moving and their eyes are getting some rest!

Let them be kids: Yes there are Nettiquets and yes, kids are not supposed to talk to their peers when the teacher is not logged in. I myself made sure that my kid followed the rules and not make it more difficult for the hapless teacher (it’s a new scenario for them too). But then I realized I am sucking the joy out of learning in my frenzied attempt to put the protocols in place. I reminded myself, these are just kids who are being deprived of the usual social connection and unless something is disrespectful or too distracting for everyone, we have to go easy on them. And not sweat too much about “netiquettes”

Look for the Silver Lining
Judy Garland
As I wash my dishes*,
I’ll be following a plan
Till I see the brightness in every pot and pan
I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind
So I’ll keep repeating in my mind
Look for the silver lining
Whenever a cloud appears in the blue
Remember somewhere the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you
A heart full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life

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