Wow! I obviously killed the thought that when I had more time on my hands I would get my cookbook done, I would finish those projects I started, catch up on everyone’s Netflix  recommendations , I would walk every day when I have the time and I will organize my life.

Guess what? That was NOT true. So what are we doing now that we have all this time on our hands while we quarantine at home.  Literally, NOTHING!

I have cooked, baked, woke up my kids, bitch about getting their assignments done and called unemployment over 150 times a day (that is no exaggeration).

I have had many calls from people to help them during this time with their mental health and how to handle their kids during this quarantine.

I went into this whole “home school” thing with the thought that we would set up a routine. We would set aside a part of our living room as their learning area. We took out all of our school supplies we had left and put them on the dining room table.

We got this!

Week 1- I woke up the kids at 8 every day. I made some elaborate breakfast. They did their homework all day (on time) and handed it in at the end of the day electronically.

The kids did their laundry, cleaned their rooms and made their beds like our regular routine.

Week 2– The kids said can’t we sleep until 9? We don’t start our work until then. I agreed. Sleep is good for kids to grow; Right? Doesn’t it say that somewhere. Breakfast started to be served in their bed. It came with a reminder to clean up after themselves. Zoom and other electronic meetings started to take place and everyone was excited. They got to see friends and enjoy that time. Wearing pajamas all day became the new norm.

Week 3-

What week are we in? Email from a teacher one of the assignments was late and your child is getting half the credit even they got a 100. Breakfast what is that? Wake up when you want- it’s your work not mine. Make sure you get it in because I don’t want another email as above.

Someone missed a zoom meeting- yeah because our Wi-Fi is not working!

Cookies for breakfast sure its food

 I will be honest don’t know how week one turned into week three. It is very hard to parent and home school while calling unemployment literally all day long and worrying about how you are going to pay your bills.

I am a strong believer in education. But, not all the lessons learned come from what’s in the “books”. I have learned to be more lenient. I have learned to trust that the kids will complete their assignments. But, if they don’t then that’s on them. They are responsible for their work. In all seriousness we are in this house together 24/7 and I don’t want to be constantly nagging about assignments. I dread the 4pm email that says what they have and have not completed. I don’t want to be a dictator.

I can be a control freak so it kind of “freaks” me out to just let it all go. But, it has been my saving grace.  I am going to admit on more than one occasion during the last nine weeks I have stated “fuck it I don’t care don’t hand it in you are one honor roll you will not fail for not handing in one thing.” Its cringe worthy to some teachers to see my write this. But, there were days when I was ready to lose it and I honestly did not care.

I have to give them a ton of credit. I have not actually done any “home schooling”. I have not helped them at all. I only nudge to get the day over with, check your assignments, check you or email, etc.. Otherwise, I have not done any work with them.

These kids are missing their friends; the loss of sports for my son has been huge both mentally and physically.

My daughter misses time with friends, the camaraderie of her cheer team and she will be missing her eighth grade graduation.

I’ve tried to strike a balance. I will say here we are in week 9. The kids have maintained their grades, their assignments are done, albeit not always on time (and I won’t apologize for that).

We have lost close friends to covid. The kids have had to deal with the death of several people we know.

We have celebrated birthdays with parades and drive bys.

We have created a new normal for now. It may not be the neat organized package I thought it would be. But, we are extremely fortunate and grateful to have a roof over our head, our physical and mental health and wellbeing and we have food in our fridge.

Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to wear pajamas all day; it is okay to miss a zoom meeting, to yell like a crazy woman, to spend a few hours on social media, to send endless inappropriate memes to your private mom groups/texts and laugh for an hour. Its ok you’re your kid retreats to their room for two hours on their phone because well; we all need to zone out. It’s okay to have dessert for dinner once in a while. If you have not met Elroy during quarantine I fear your friends are not the best Rona buddies ever like mine are!

Life is short and it is precious and don’t spend it beating yourself up about what you did during a world pandemic. Just walking out of this is ENOUGH! Do you – if you have started something new, learned a new skill, took classes, started an exercise routine; etc… But, it is also okay to just wake up every day and survive! There is no right way to do this and we have never done this before. Literally, everyone is worried about not getting sick and if they do surviving. To me that is enough! There is no door prize for doing more than just that alone.

I have tried to set small attainable goals with the kids daily. I have learned to let go and although it goes against how I normally handle things it seems to be working.

On a much lighter, but richer note –

I wanted to share a really simple recipe with everyone that can be a fun family activity. I have taken to baking donuts. It’s been a ton of fun as I have tried many new recipes and had fun turning them into boozy donuts. But, they were a lot of work. So I am sharing a simple; easy to do donut recipe. You can do it with the kids and let them ice and decorate their own donuts.

These donuts use biscuit dough and are fried.

Image may contain: food

I pray everyone stays safe, healthy and happy! I cannot wait until once again see and schmooze with all my friends.

Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.

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