Day 1 – Parenting in the Year 2020
Parenting in the year 2020 is just rediculously difficult, and I'm at my wits end trying to figure it out.
It's just a rediculous situation to be in.
My son is now old enough to start kindergarten. Normally, I would be extremely excited! And I am! Beginning kindergarten is supposed to be the end of one chapter of my son's life, and the beginning of the next. Additionally it is supposed to be the point in his life where we can let him step away from mom & dad, and begin to grow as a person without our constant watch. I might also add, my wife would finally have gotten some much needed relief at home, and for most of the day would only have to deal with our toddler-aged daughter and not two rug rats.
Notice that I say these things in the past tense.
In the present tense, COVID-19 continues to run nearly uncontrolled in the United States (Arizona is hit particularly hard), which means no mass gatherings, staying at home...and no going to school.
I'm going to give my son's kindergarten teacher the benefit of the doubt, so no offense to her in any way. But how the hell are teachers supposed to remotely teach kindergarten? Kindergarten-age kids are barely old enough to sit still in a classroom setting, there's no way you can expect them to stay focused through a computer screen for several hours a day.
Most of the burden is thrust onto my wife, who is a stay at home mom now. She is barely holding it together as is. Since I have to work, I'm either at the office (doing my best to practice social distancing), or working from home (and completely isolated from the family during business hours).
And, as any parent will tell you, toddlers are the absolute worst when it comes to needing attention. You cannot leave them alone, because they will find a way to get the attention they need/want/demand. You think you get a moment to yourself, and bam, the toddler has decided to poop herself again. Try to catch a quick potty break yourself, and she decides to get into the knife drawer, despite the child locks. Try to cook dinner, and all the sudden she decides now is a good time to throw a tantrum of which nothing in the entire world will soothe her except to carry her in your arm.
Which leaves...precisely zero time to devote to the kindergartener.
The Kindergarten situation is just a symptom of the whole COVID-19 global pandemic. I get really angry when I think about the mess that we have put ourselves through. Let's recap.
- Infected person appears, we learn how serious it is. We know it spreads by air similar to the flu. We know it spreads rapidly.
- We set up procedures to keep people isolated to limit the spread of the disease and to prevent hospitals from getting overloaded.
- We promptly ignore said procedures and precautions, making the problem worse.
- We continue to ignore the situation, and we reach a critical state, forcing us to go back into isolation again.
- We make this a political thing for some dumb reason.
So what does this mean? Instead of keeping people isolated for a month or two, nipping this disease in the bud, and then getting on with our lives, we now have to deal with this for many, many, many more months than before. It also means that many hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions of people, will die needless deaths, and inflict pain and suffering on countless families for no reason.
And of course, now that it is school season, people are trying to figure out how to open the schools, but still somehow keep things safe.
Meanwhile, I can't take my son to the public library to check out books, go to the store with me to “help” me shop, go to the movies with the family, eat out once in awhile, go to the park to play with friends, or anything fun. We are forced to hunker down at home, driving each other crazy, waiting for the day when we can actually do something different.
For goodness sake I was looking forward to doing fun activities away from the house this summer as one last hurrah before he starts kindergarten. But because of a bunch of dumbasses who happen to be our political leaders, we have to pay a price we shouldn't be paying.
Of course, our son knows what Coronavirus is. We have tried our best to shield him from the horrors of it, only that it makes people sick and we are doing our part to NOT get sick. The message stuck, but now I wonder if he will ever know what normal is.
Entertainment in Quarantine
So if you can't leave the house, that leaves entertainment at home. But again, no time to devote to the kindergartener because of the toddler. So that leaves two options: toys, and electronic entertainment.
You can guess in a heartbeat which one my son would rather do.
It's my own damn fault though. I wanted a gamer son that I could do games with, but because I can't spend any time with him (due to work and the toddler), he is left to his own devices.
I feel very bad about it too. I want to be an entertainer for him but it is next to impossible to juggle the household and both kids at the same time.
Working From Home
I'm just gonna say it, working from home sucks. You're here, but you're not. When I'm on the clock, so to speak, I have to basically shut myself off from the family, much to the chagrin of my wife, and focus on work. I can't interact with any of my kids outside of 5 minute stretches, I can barely eat lunch with them because of some lunch hour deadline, and again I can't give them the attention they deserve.
Also because I am at home, I can't readily leave my work at the office. It is always present, always in the front and center.
If I could work at the office more, it would ease everyone's frustrations a bit, because it would be a clear separation of work from home.
I can see the toll it is taking on my kids. My son acts like I'm not here a lot of the time (which is, for all intents and purposes, true), and my daughter screams because she wants me, she knows I'm nearby, but I'm not available.
How to Move Forward
On Wednesday, my son actually starts kindergarten, online. I will be at home taking time off from work to make sure he has a smooth experience, my wife has a smooth experience, and to play crowd control with the toddler. We will figure out what is going to work, what isn't working, what we can change around. We will figure out how much time we need to spend shadowing our son and making sure he pays attention, and we will learn the expectations of the kindergarten teacher.
I'm really hoping that my son will roll with the punches, and this will be a piece of cake for us, and we will actually get through this with our sanity in check.
I'm hoping that I learn from my mistakes with my son and become a better parent going forward for him, and for my daughter.
I'm hoping that I stay a good husband for my wife. She is entirely more patient than she needs to be.
I'm really hoping that this won't turn into an unmitigated disaster. Kind of like the entirety of 2020 is.
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100DaysToOffload.com.
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