Pandemic Parenting: Sending my kids back to school after 305 days at home

Our home schoolroom, empty now of my children.

Our home schoolroom, empty now of my children.

Today is the first day in 305 days that I have been away from both my children. The last time was March 12, 2020, when they went to school for the day before the Covid-19 pandemic changed all our lives forever.

Today, my kids went back to school. Now, I sit on my couch, drinking coffee, and frankly, trying to regroup. I feel simultaneous relief and the urge to throw up.

We have once again entrusted our children to the schools we love, and it feels like the first day of school in an alternate universe: the fear is there, the worry, the hope, and the faith, the desperate, crazy faith that it’ll all be okay.

I’d already been tired, but I think this is a weariness of the moment. Was I a successful homeschool mom? I like to joke that I’m a great camp counselor, but a subpar teacher, and looking back on the past 10 months—8 of which I was in charge of my kids’ education—I think that’s pretty accurate. Lord knows there were days I did my best, and others where it was a miracle we made it through. Teaching young kids, especially my own, has never been a tool in my varied but sometimes esoteric wheelhouse.

I have not worked in 305 days, we’re in the midst of home construction, and I need to get in shape in more ways than one. We’ve family who are not well and in hospital, and my stalwart husband is stretched far too thin. There is much to do. But right now, I am tired. I am sitting. I am praying my kids have great days at school, that middle school is uncharacteristically kind to my older daughter, that my children won’t become infected with Covid-19. That I’ve made the right decision out of a grab-bag of not-good options.

It’s not possible for me in this moment to feel any sort of pride in myself for the work of the past 305 days, or even relief in the quiet, but heavens, I’m hoping to get there.


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