If anyone was to ask me, what are the real hardships I am facing during a global pandemic, without a doubt, it would be learning the akshars (alphabets) during my son’s Hindi class. Just when my pre-schooler was starting to have a routine and my new-horrific-mom-life was slowly nearing the accepted-horrific-mom-life, this pandemic struck and took away all the free time that I was (im)patiently waiting to embrace. I could accept any ‘new normal’ but teaching my kindergartner the formation of the number “8” was not part of the plan.
We recently got our children’s report card, and it was aptly put by a fellow parent, “What about the parents' report card?”
Having spoken to friends with teenage children, I counted my blessings for only tolerating toddlers at home and not having to deal with ego issues, mood swings, and hormonal changes (there’s only room for one person in the house for hormonal issues and I am NOT giving that up). Blatantly lying to children to distract them during a meltdown is a part of raising toddlers, which I am hoping to use as long as I can. Because I don’t think switching off the television secretly while pretending to call up the electrician as suddenly there is no electricity in the house, will work with older children. I am just praying my kids don’t overuse their underused brains, and realise the rest of the electrical appliances are still working.
While home-schooling might be newsworthy — more so because parents are finding it tough to manage their home and work life — for a lot of us, it only means managing ‘homework’. (Representative photo: Reuters)
I am also amazed at how during regular school, the process between waking up and reaching class involved countless steps and processes, as compared to the current situation. Presently, we have precisely four processes. Wake up, pee, have milk and reach the class (in the next room).
The “out of bed” look should have been incorporated in 2020.
While home-schooling might be newsworthy, more so because parents are finding it tough to manage their home and work life, for a lot of us it only means managing “homework”.
But yes, once the kids were off to school, the blissful feeling of drinking coffee alone (while it was still hot), was a luxury. In the current situation, I can visualise parents in their night suits, juggling their coffee and children’s notebooks, right before the hosts allow us to enter the room. Some things are universal and don’t change.
But what can change is the usage of the ‘mute’ button. Thankfully our school’s online classes do not make it mandatory for parents to sit in class. However, it is not easy for kindergarten students to handle virtual classes on their own, so most of the parents are around or in and out of the class. Usually, it is disturbing to hear people talking in the background, but sometimes it is hilarious when parents don’t know they are unmuted. I remember, during our 10 am class, a parent in the background could be heard asking, “Where’s the white wine from last night?” I didn’t know whether to laugh or bring my glass to do cheers with him. It’s a joke. Parents don’t drink during online classes (only on Fridays).
During online class, while I usually pin the teacher’s video for better viewing, this particular time, it simply didn’t work. Being the self-proclaimed tech expert, I kept sticking my face and squinting my eyes around the screen to fix the problem. During this confusion, my daughter, who decided to not wear anything other than her underwear, ran into the room and I was frantically chasing her away, all this while wearing my nightwear. Later in the evening, while chatting with fellow moms on WhatsApp, I found out that the teacher had mistakenly pinned our video for almost 30 minutes. So the entire class got a good view of my nose, eyebrows, and nightwear. All of this when the salons are not even accessible!
Even though parents are despising home-schooling, surely we will find new ways to adjust — just like we have with other things. For example, the physical education class in my son’s routine is great; except that at times, my son can’t follow instructions due to poor connection. So, I get down on the floor and combine my workout with his class. It’s fun to get both things done at the same time. It’s a different thing that my son was doing a workout which was absolutely unrelated to the rest of the class (he ended up following me and we had pretty awesome plank and yoga moves going on).
Beyond doubt, there are similar mishaps in everyone’s tryst with home-schooling. It only reassures us that everyone’s sailing in the same boat. Even though this boat is sailing without any destination or direction, hot coffee (and other chilled beverages) will manage to keep us afloat!
(The author is on Instagram at @motherhood_therealstory)