COVID Confessions: All work and no play makes distance-learning mom a frazzled parent

I dropped my kindergartner off at school this week. There were no tears as I left, walking back to my work station 10 feet away.

Virtual school pulls some magic out of watching your child become a little more independent.

For parents of older children, distance learning is probably like being a fly on the wall of the classroom.

The role I play for my child is comparable to a personal assistant.

“I need my journal!”

“Mom, what is the teacher saying?”

“Log me into music class!”

Frankly, it’s a progression of the position I’ve maintained for approximately five months — a list that also includes chef, playmate, therapist and janitor.

I’m grateful for the ability to continue working from home, designing Vida pages for the daily Monitor newspaper as well as receiving your announcements of community interest for publication.

But this balance is a tight-rope walk with no net.

Working, parenting, home maintenance and self-care no longer have their separate life folders, and they haven’t since mid-March. Purposefully home-bound moms and dads of little ones are probably not OK.

I am a shell of the “boss lady” I boasted to be pre-pandemic. I’ve been cutting and coloring my own hair, for crying out loud. Mama is a big ol’ capital letters MESS.

Ultimately, I have zero complaints about Texas schools adopting distance learning to start the year.

The Rio Grande Valley has had a difficult, unhealthy summer. I fondly remember two fallen co-associates and a member of my husband’s extended family, who all died in August. My thoughts frequently focus on the other 1,000-plus neighbors we lost this season, as well. We also continue praying for my husband, a correctional officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

I’m happy to keep myself and my son home and from being part of the spread.

Little people are merciless, though, aren’t they? My almost 6-year-old only recently started showing empathetic characteristics, which means he doesn’t always know how close to breakdown his antics take me.

“Why is mom acting crazy?”

Because she has literally gone off her rocker, kid. Act accordingly.

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Editor’s note: The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyday life across the Rio Grande Valley. To document that change, The Monitor is publishing personal accounts from journalists and everyday citizens. These are the stories of ordinary life in an extraordinary time. If you have a story to share, email us at news@themontior.com.