What will the school year look like for our kids? As working parents, how will we survive what is shaping up to be an entire academic year of chaos? If I had a dollar for each time I heard some variation of these questions over the past week, I’d be a wealthy woman.
I can’t pretend to have the answers that will calm all of our working parent anxieties. No one can. Problems of epic proportions can’t be solved by a single individual.
School = child care for so many families. And these past few weeks, we’ve had to sit and watch while what semblance of a child care system our country had crumbled before our eyes.
In addition to the decision-making and risk-assessment fatigue we’re all facing, there’s also a terminology and technology learning curve. What are “learning pods,” and how are they different from or the same as “market combinations”? Heck, what exactly is a Chromebook and how does it differ from a laptop? Will a Chromebook run the platform my kids’ school is being taught on?
The questions are exhausting.
Here’s What I Know to Be True, When It Comes to School Questions
Though I can’t possibly know exactly what this school year will bring (as I write this, D.C. Public Schools, where my kids go, haven’t even yet announced whether we’ll be fully virtual or partially-in-person), I do know a few things to be true. I will hold tightly to these principles as I offer resources to the Mindful Return community.
Mindful Return’s School Conundrum Truths
- No one person or group has all the answers.
- There are no single right answers.
- These problems can’t be solved alone, by individuals.
- Managing work and educating children at the same time is HARD / IMPOSSIBLE.
- Every time I get together with a group of smart and compassionate people, I learn something.
- When I pause, calm down and regroup, I’m able to come up with more creative and logical solutions.
- Children are resilient (this FB post brought me much-needed perspective on this point), and there is still much to be grateful for.
- Even virtually, parents can serve as a village of support for one another.
Two Back-to-School Brainstorm Sessions for You to Join
“How can I be most helpful in this confusing time,” I kept asking myself this past week. The answer showed up as “holding space” for conversations that will help parents connect with one another and learn what types of options are out there for the start of the school year.
To that end, I offer you two sessions (identical, so pick one based on your schedule and needs) in which you can connect with other parents to explore these daunting issues. Each session is two hours, so that we can really dig in, get to know one another a bit, and explore many options.
Here are the details:
Session 1: Friday, Aug. 7, 2-4pm EST [Register here]
Session 2: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 1-3pm EST [Register here]
- Introductions and Community-Building (30 minutes)
- School Solutions – Academic + Social/Emotional (45 minutes)
- Work Solutions + the Mental Load (45 minutes)
One of my incredibly kind Mindful Return alums wrote this past week in our Facebook group that “Nothing is certain during COVID, but we can count on you to be thinking about us.” Yes, that is something you can count on, dear working parents. And if giving us space to begin to seek answers is all I can provide at this point, it will be enough.
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave