Relentless Adventures in Mom School

Image: Sarah Pinault

2020 will be remembered for many things. A presidential election. A pandemic. A run on toilet paper. And the birth of a thousand and one tired moms, homeschool moms, wine drinking moms, moms in PJs, memes. Upon completion of week four of pseudo homeschool, I feel like there is not a single stereotype, or joke, or meme, that I have not personified at one point or another. Some times, multiple in one day.

I started week four on a buzz. My kids were all behaving. My kids were all learning. My support system was in place, and continuing to function. We had mastered the art of Zoom with pants on. We all loved school, and we all looked forward to and appreciated the weekend even more than we had before. The weekend was now 100% personal choice time. It was full of frolics and laziness, and Animal Crossing. For Mama, it was full of The Tiger King. The schedule remained unchanged for four out of five days. The weekend that fell at the conclusion of week four however, has cast a dark shadow.

Turns out, when you have everything all lined up on a wire, and one thing moves, the whole thing crumbles. Whether it’s on the schedule or not. So when one half of my support system got food poisoning and was out for the count all weekend, well, let’s just say we weren’t prepared for week five at all. Sunday night at 9pm and everyone was still on a sugar high from the Easter egg hunt. The pseudo offices that the kids had set up were one step closer to bomb site status. The laundry remained untouched. The groceries were still at the grocery store, on shelves, or not as the case may be. I hadn’t even changed the homeschool schedule once.

Home Office Space. Image: Sarah Pinault

In Maine and across the nation we just received the news that school would not reopen until September. Across the country people are saying goodbye to prom and graduation, goodbye to middle school crossover visits, goodbye to school musicals. Parents are saying goodbye to a little more of their sanity. Kids are missing their friends, and wondering why their new classmates are doing such different work than they are. Frodo is crossing the river, leaving everyone behind, and I feel like Sam, drowning to catch up and stay the course.

And yet, 2020 is also kind of awesome. Artists of all kinds across the country are opening up their hearts and homes to displaced students. We graduated from the Mo Willems school of doodling, and are now learning how to draw every day with JJK. We are listening to Oliver Jeffers read his works, and all kinds of celebrities reading all kinds of stories. We are discovering new podcasts, and rediscovering Jon Green. We are watching shows on HBO that we haven’t paid for. Kids are playing apps they haven’t paid for. Across the country, people from all walks of life are putting their passions out there for our kids, and it is truly inspiring to watch. Mainstream media outlets are touting all kinds of board games. Local independent retailers are providing curbside pickup and local delivery.

All Images sourced from content put out for public consumption during the quarantine.

Growing up in England we are taught about the victory gardens of World War II, and I can’t help but feel some of that same spirit, as we all sit in our homes, reaching out online to support each other, friends and strangers alike. 

I keep having to remind myself that come September, all the kids are going to be in the same boat, and all the parents are going to be telling the school board to give the teachers whatever they want. As long as I can convince my eleven year old that he needs to wear pants to school in the fall, I’ll be happy, they’ll be happy, we’ll all be happy.

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