FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not have a master’s degree
in education. I am not a teacher, a coach, a psychol-ogist,
a nurse or an IT professional. Yet, like many
others who are fortunate enough to call themselves
parents, I step in and try to fill those roles occa-sionally
for Bridget, my
During these days
of school closings and
imposed by COVID-19
fears, occasionally has
become always. And the
idea that I must be all of
those people is accom-panied
by a certain
degree of anxiety, sleep-lessness
Will I do a good job?
What am I doing wrong?
How can I improve on
that tomorrow? Will I
be able to get any work
done with her being out
The classic parent-ing
Juggling a routine of online teaching and working from home can be a special time for
child and parent.
Discipline” by Jane
Nelsen is a great
resource but, let’s face it, remembering all its lessons can be
extremely difficult in the heat of battle.
For single parents like me, the challenges are multiplied. Being the
only person responsible for paying bills, wiping noses, cooking and
cleaning, doing laundry, landscaping and home maintenance can be
taxing. The days can roll by pretty darn fast.
Having children suddenly out of school for an extended period
presents a number of difficulties, even for those who are fortunate
enough to be stay-at-home parents. It is not ideal for the children to
get a break from the daily routine of school and the guidance from the
professionals there. Personally, I would rather just be responsible for
making sure my daughter has fun, furthers her education outside of
school, learns new sports, and finds new books at the library.
Finding time to help with her new responsibilities in the online
classroom isn’t always easy. As a freelance writer, having a comfortable,
quiet place to work is essential for my concentration. Without it, every-thing
takes twice as long. The fact that writers like Hemingway and
WBM may 2020
Bukowski and Fitzgerald
and Thompson were
able to do what they did
despite their problems
with drugs and alcohol
never ceases to amaze
me, but I digress.
Tackling work respon-sibilities
while being responsible
for serving the educa-tional
needs of a child can feel
impossible at times, and
I know I am not the only
one facing that right
now. For those who are
due to a temporary
slowdown or a business
closure, there is another
layer of tension.
Trying to put on a
happy face while man-aging
the stress of paying bills is something I fail at miserably some-times.
I can’t just say no to a client because it could affect how often
we eat. But is that what’s best for my daughter? It is heartbreaking
when I tell her I can’t play or do anything else because I have to work
so we can have money, so we can go to the grocery store.
As I wrote to her teacher recently, the learning applications our
children are being forced to navigate should not require so much
parental involvement. Having to act as a teacher/IT expert is a huge
disruption, and something I’m woefully unqualified to do. Modern
technology is great — until it isn’t. Helping my daughter install
and understand the nuances of the various online applications she
must use has been a trickier proposition than I would care to admit.
Helping relieve children’s anxieties is a parent’s most important role.
by FRITTS CAUSBY