Working Remotely… With Kids

Prologue: I wrote this on May 12, and officially went back to the office to work on May 26. In total, I spent 72 days at home 24/7 with my child. It was epic. And while I was so very grateful for a job and an employer that worked with working parents to make this possible, it was still epic. It’s only with a clear head and an even temper do I feel equipped to finish this post and share it now…

Fifty-seven days.

It’s been fifty-seven days since I started working remotely for my job. Fifty-seven days where my coworkers have been three high-maintenance dogs and an insane four-year-old boy.

Fifty-seven days and there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel and I. Can’t. WAIT. to go back to the office.

Fifty-seven days and my already deep respect for SAHM’s and teachers has expanded to the size of the universe. In fact, like the universe, it is in a constant state of expansion.

In that time, we’ve had a lot of special moments…

My child has gone to daycare since he was 10 weeks old, so this is the longest stretch of time we’ve been together 24/7 since he was a newborn.

I’ve tried my best to take advantage of that, and relish the moments.

We’ve taken walks to the MSU campus to throw pennies in the fountain and visit the horse statues. We’ve colored and played and made up games. We’ve read books until I was hoarse and made pillow forts that took up the whole living room.

My hubby is an essential worker and had to go into the office during the shelter-in-place order, but he (bless him!) took a few days off here and there to help out, give me some time to focus on work, and then that gave us even more family time we were able to spend together.

Painting rocks for the WF Rocks project.

Doing his best Lion-King-on-Pride-Rock impression on our daily walks around MSU’s campus. Lol.

Letting mom enjoy some girl time. 😉

Scrabble with Batman. (AKA practicing identifying our letters.)

One of our many giant pillow forts.

That time I got really desperate and made up a game that involved shooting an inflatable (terrifying) clown with a Nerf gun.

“Baking” together thanks to an awesome cookie decorating kit from Margie’s Sweet Shop.

Eating homemade “Lunchables” together.

 

….And we have certainly had a lot of unspecial moments.

Like the hours upon hours I’ve let him watch YouTube and Disney+, and anything else I can think of to distract him while I attempt to focus.

I’ve yelled at him while I’m muted on Zoom calls where I repeatedly told him to be patient until I’m done. I’ve yelled at him for being too loud, for crawling all over me while I try to work, for acting out when he’s mostly just restless.

We’ve thrown down over him wanting to eat M&M’s for breakfast, him wanting me to accompany him to EVERY trip to the bathroom when I know he can do it on his own.

I’ve bribed him with McDonald’s, I’ve bribed him with toys. Oh-so many toys.

There’s been a lot of yelling, frustration, and guilt these past 57 days.

Oh, the guilt.

So much togetherness.

SO, VERY, MUCH TOGETHERNESS. And so many conference calls.

Letting ABC Mouse raise my child.

Attempting to get some schoolwork done.

Fast-forward to June 24…

I’ve been back in the office about a month, and Teddy has been back at school. I cannot tell you how blissful it has been to return to our routine.

Looking back, I wish that time together had not been filled with such an incredible amount of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that came with everything going on in the world since March.

This whole experience has been a good reminder that special moments can and do happen in the worst of times. (And just how wonderful a partner in life I have. With that kind of isolation and total reliance on one another, it was affirming to know that under pressure we can circle the wagons and not fall apart. Withough his emotional support, it would have been so much worse.)  Just looking back at these photos reminds me that there WERE so many special moments. Teddy LOVED being home with me, and the things we did together. He was resilient, in-the-moment, and trusting. He was faithful in the way so many Bible verses call us to be in times of stress.

He was and is all the things I need to continue to remind myself to be, as the world continues to spin out troubling news and uncertainty.

I feel like now, as we face the second half of 2020, not knowing what awaits us, this is what I will focus on in the face of new challenges – not criticizing myself for my shortcomings in situations where I was just doing the best I could to stay afloat, and keeping the faith, remembering that years from now the times Teddy and I spent together at home may be some of his (and my!) most precious memories.

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