We Need a Quarantine Schedule (but Maybe Not THAT One)

Man, things moved fast once it was announced the schools were closing. By the time I picked my kids up from school and made it home, helpful moms from all around the city immediately went into link mode. It was barely dinner time and I already had:

Tips for Staying Sane

Tips for Working From Home

Ideas for Staying Fit

Resource and Assistance Links

Homeschool Ideas

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every single piece of information. Or I would … if I could process all that information. I love the idea of virtual field trips, online art class, dance parties and schedules as much as the next momma.

But also … I need to breathe. Like, a lot. And so do my kiddos. They had full questions and empty bellies. So while I admit to immediately wanting to spring into action, I decided not to create a schedule right away. We spent the weekend outside. We told family we loved them. We let the kids stay up past bedtime.

By the time I got around to making our own schedule, there was already backlash to *that* one. You know… the COVID-19 Daily Schedule. We were already being told to back off and let our kids just hang out for a month (at least). We were admonished for not teaching our kids “real life” skills, like baking and gardening.

I didn’t even know what I was going to do, and already I felt like I was doing it wrong. As beneficial as social media can be, it’s also exhausting. Did we completely lose our ability to find middle ground? Is there no nuance anymore?

For my family, and I suspect for most families, a schedule is necessary during this period. Parents still have to work, even if they have the privilege of doing it from home. And kids need structure, especially in the face of uncertainty. Will they fall completely behind if they don’t learn anything new in the next month? Probably not.

But can you imagine a month of running free and not knowing, then suddenly returning to school (again… if that happens) and being asked to pick up where you left off? What if the state makes an awful decision and standardized testing is still required when we all come back? What if some kids have to make up that time over the summer?

UGH.

Meanwhile, I have a house to keep clean, a job to do, my own mental health to maintain, somehow more laundry, and my children’s welfare to keep in mind. That’s a lot of unrealistic expectations placed on one member of the family.

I, for one, prefer to find a middle ground.

So yes… we have a schedule now. And a lesson plan sent to us by the school, so that’s a win. My plan is to keep us on task, give us variety, and balance work and fun.

Because, for the most part, I am reminding my family that we are a team. Sometimes teams have to be flexible and patient. Sometimes team members have to sacrifice for the greater good.

Some things will slide. Some days may be heavier on screen time than others. Some days I will not do it all. Some days I may not do anything!

At the end of this period, I don’t want to think I was perfect. I want us all to get through it together, however that looks for us.

It’s not that extreme, but it’s enough.

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Jen is an author and a member of the events coordinator team for New Orleans Mom. She divides her attention between books, friends, family, and Mardi Gras. When she’s not working, Jen enjoys being active and adventurous. She can be found walking at the park, taking yoga classes, and swinging Kettlebells around the city. She loves chats at coffee shops with a good friend and insists on having a family fun day at home once a week. Those days are for couch time, completing puzzles, or playing video games with her two kids, husband, and a variety of furry critters... plus the occasional frog.

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