I already failed. A week in and I already failed. I said my biggest challenge would be not letting my kids drive me crazy and I’ve already been defeated. There may have been a few tears shed, and not just by the little people.

Being stuck at home with 3 tyrants for days on end is taxing. By the week’s end, I simply did not want to be around my kids anymore.

How is it that 10 days and counting of being stuck with mommy ALL THE TIME has made my kids want mommy MORE?! Thursday night my oldest was in full-blown tears because I wanted to take a 20 minute bath in solitude. Somehow she ended up sitting in the corner of the bathroom reading books while I took that bath so she “didn’t have to leave me.” Don’t judge me. Our defenses are all down. This same child has taken to crying at bedtime because she “misses mommy.” I only wish she’d give me opportunity to miss her.

The clinginess. The whining. I think I’m going to lose my mind. By the time my husband came upstairs from his remote office Friday night, I grabbed my plate of dinner, headed for our bedroom, locked the door, and rented a movie off Amazon. “You got the kids honey? Okay good- I’m going to go into a vegetative state now, thank you very much.”

He’s a good man.

With the belief that I can’t be the only one out there who feels this way, I’ll be the first to say: I didn’t want to homeschool. I still don’t want to homeschool. But as one mom commented to me, not only are we all suddenly thrust back into stay-at-home parenthood, we’ve also been tossed the task of create-your-own homeschool program. This may not be bad for those whose kids will happily read books all day or sit nicely for their virtual learning. Or for you blessed souls who actually enjoy homeschooling—on you, a special favor of the Lord must reside. But when you have a 7 year old who cries anytime you look sideways at her, a 5 year old with sensory issues that can haphazardly give you floppy body syndrome one day or hyper-active-crazy-man the next, and a toddler who is determined to out-annoy the entire household by poking, spitting, and flinging a lightsaber in your face with “I wanna fight you!,” it starts to grate on your nerves.

Not to mention a 5 year old who can beat anyone in a talk-a-thon with his incessant questions and wonderings. “Mom, why doesn’t the sun go around the earth?” “Mom, why do we only have one moon?” “Mom, why do they call it a Star Destroyer if it doesn’t look like a star?” “Mom, if I pray to Jesus will my nightmares go away?” “Mom, why do we have nightmares?” “Mom, why did Kylo Ren go to the dark side?” “Mom, why do spiders have silk?” “Mom, why is it called silk?” “Mom, what is silk?”

“Mom!” “Mom!” “Mom!”

No one believes the amount of mental energy this child drains from me until they spend a day with him. It’s a mental workout just to keep up with his spiraling, whirling, fantastical thoughts. My mind just wants to rest some days, friends! It just wants some peace and quiet.

Two weeks ago said 5 year old finally returned to school after 3 months of homeschooling him. It took everything in me on that first day of drop-off not to exit the school and break into song with, “Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day!”, with full-out leaps and twirls across the parking lot. Don’t worry, I refrained. Those days he was at school I had so much energy, even by mid-afternoon. I voluntarily told my husband he could work late one night to finish some projects. Fast forward to this extended stay-cation and I’m stalking outside our office door for any sign that his remote workday is over.

The honest truth is, it’s been one stinking, awful year, full of tears and trials and uncertainty and change. Just as a I’ve wrapped my mind around one thing, everything has changed. Just as I adjusted my entire routine and got the hang of homeschooling my middle guy, I was offered hope to have him finish out the school year at a nearby school who could assist with his sensory needs.

I was back in business, baby! I had put my life on hold for my child, but I was allowed to dream again. I was allowed a chance to think beyond the hours of my day being spent schooling my child. I got six days of freedom. Six sweet, glorious days of booting that boy out of the van and into school before the pandemic closed everything down.

So forgive me if I wanted to throw some expletives at the idea of homeschool last week. My brain had just rejoiced and settled on the idea of our new routine. And now we’re having to find a new one. Again.

The thing is, we’re all okay- physically speaking anyway. And so as I watch the news and hear of the awful devastation or know of loved ones being forced into lay-offs because of the government orders, I initially tried repressing all the emotions I felt last week out of complete guilt. Who am I to complain when so many people have it worse? How petty of me. How selfish.

But I’ve realized ignoring them altogether doesn’t help either.

God’s heart is breaking over the suffering the world is feeling right now, of that I’m certain. But he still cares about our hurts and our struggles and our daily challenges too. That’s what makes our God so marvelous. He’s the God of the big and the small. Just think about the loved ones in your life. Do you not care about the friend having a bad day because of the social isolation just as much as you do for the friend who found out they’ve been laid off? Their needs are different, but you love and care about both of them. Then think just how much more God cares too.

 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” – Psalm 55: 22

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

Let’s just be honest, this whole situation is really hard. For everyone.

Everyone is feeling a sense of anxiety or uncertainty. Whether we’ve been directly impacted by sick loved ones and family working on the front lines, or for the first time in our lives, we’re concerned we’ll run out of bread and toilet paper.

The lie is that we shouldn’t feel scared or overwhelmed or anxious about everything happening if we follow God or if we don’t have it as bad as so-and-so. But the reality is, our walk with Jesus doesn’t shield us from life’s pain, and it certainly does not cease our human flow of emotion. Where our walk with the Lord should change things is in what we choose to do with the aforementioned emotions. Later this week, we’ll take a look at what we can learn from God’s word and how we can find peace in the midst of the swirling emotions.

Prayers and blessings to you all in this unbelievable time in which we find ourselves. May you each find bright spots to get you through the days and weeks. And will you please offer up prayers on my behalf that my children don’t get the best of me.

Our good moments from this week. I haven’t been a complete failure as a parent.

~ Renee

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