Revisiting Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

I am revisiting being a stay-at-home mom since the pandemic and brazenly quitting my job. I haven’t done this since 2007, and I have to say it’s interesting? Well, first off, looking for a job, particularly now, is fairly rotten. I hit up all the job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, in addition to going to actual websites of places I might like to work, and I have not had much success. It takes forever, and you have to enter a lot of search filters, leaving you eventually tired, exasperated and cross-eyed. Plus, I don’t even know what I want to do. I clicked on a wide array of positions, including being a Door Dash delivery person, an online social media designer, a development director, and a reporter. I freaked out that I’d get murdered with being a delivery person, so I opted out of that search.

But, then, I stumbled upon what may be my real talent and niche: Camp Counselor Philanthropist! Since school has yet to begin here in our town (first full day is October 13 #brutal), I started Camp Alex: Endless Summer. It’s essentially impossible for working parents now when kids are home all day, so I am helping them out while simultaneously entertaining my own children by having them over for camp. Win-win!

Here’s a look at Camp Alex. First, we have Puppy School, in which the dogs do math and get grades. The kids do “drop-off,” bringing the dogs upstairs with treats, and I do “pick-up.” At this time, I am versed on how well they behaved. For example, today, Poppy got an A+ and Winnie struggled with some addition and got a B+

Didn’t make Honor Roll

Around noon, we have lunchtime, which consists of whatever I can find in my fridge that they might like: edamame, french fries, grilled cheese and gummies.

Healthy!
Questionable

Next, we have play time on the trampoline and on the slide. One of their favorite games, which I created a long time ago as a disciplinary method, is “The Crab.” It’s really quite simple: find some tongs, and chase them around with the tongs biting at their ankles (gently, of course) and their knees. This is the crab! They absolutely love it, and it only costs a pair of tongs! Cheap, officious and fun. Next, we have pool time, in the baby pool, and finally quiet time with puzzles and crafts.

It’s interesting how we fall into things and unknown talents, like me being a camp counselor, during difficult times. I’m making the most of my staying at home during COVID, because I know it could be short lived. I don’t miss being in the office cubicle even one bit. The paycheck? Er, well, that’s another thing. For now, though, these kids laughing is a pretty good payoff.

My kindness rock garden

(My) School is in Session! And, Home Ec Returns!

I have officially taken matters into my own hands, and I began homeschooling today. I needed some sort of routine, not only for myself but also for my children. Here was the situation: I was on the couch with coffee, thinking of maybe turning on Bravo to waste away the early morning hours while the kids were asleep, and, lo and behold, they were awake! And again on their iPads.

I started to feel pangs of guilt and was torn between Million Dollar Listing and being a good parent. It was a tough one… Ha! But, I am proud to say, I yelled up the stairs, “Kids! Get dressed! Brush your teeth! We are having school today!”

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Breakfast is served (Dannon smoothie), and pencils are sharpened!

They were confused. “Wait, what?” That’s right, peops. Make the bed, pull your act together, and we are done with this lackadaisical, sedentary, gluttonous behavior (I was sort of talking to myself). I had them each pick out a chapter book. She picked Junie b. Jones, and he picked out something about sharks and walruses, one of those “Who Would Win?” books. You know who is winning today? ME! I kicked it into high gear, created some math worksheets, and I taught her about carrying over and subtraction. (Oh, and I had to use my fingers to count once. That’s kind of embarrassing? Shhh).

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She even got dressed in a glitter headband. I think she was excited!

We did reading, wrote an essay (okay, a few sentences about the problem in the book and the solution), math, and then…get this: I had them do laundry! That’s right. This school brought back Home Economics. Remember that? That’s kind of old-school. Well, it SHOULD be mandatory curriculum, because my children are seriously lacking in the folding laundry department, and I could use some little elves to help around here.

Remember when our parents had kids just to do chores? I feel like I was born with an apron and a dusting mitt on. (Sorry, mom. No, you did a good job, but I mean so did I…with cleaning).

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Cursory folding job. Grade: B-

It’s only 11:00, though, and they are done with school. Next up: recess outside. I guess this is a half-day. Contact me if you’d like to sign up for my school. There will be an (A) cohort and a (B) cohort, scattered drop-offs, mercurial schedules, lots of emails, and no remote learning. Mmmkay? Oh, and have them dressed ready to do chores!

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I Want Some Answers!

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Today, I want answers. I want answers to the following questions regarding things that happened to me:

1. When my ADT home alarm system is faulted, and I can’t fix it myself over the phone with them, why must I pay for the labor costs for a technician to come out to repair it? I mean, it’s by no fault of mine that it doesn’t work, so why do I have to assume the costs to fix it? Makes no sense.

2. Why are there very few remote job opportunities now when people are actually mostly only working remotely? I have been perusing Indeed, Glass Door, Linked In, etc., and the remote work opportunities are few and far between. Oh, and I’m like candidate 154, if there is one.

3. How many times can I explain that I don’t get unemployment, because I quit, and I don’t qualify for pandemic assistance? Just curious. I get tired of explaining, as if I didn’t look into those options myself.

4. Ew, why am I so belligerent right now? Ha!

5. The song my son keeps singing, which he has titled “Poop Under the Covers,” and really only has those four words repeatedly…does it mean something? Is there some hidden meaning, or just hidden poop under his covers?

6. Can we really not wear white in a week? I mean, who even made that up? I didn’t wear enough white this summer, and if we are just home and not going into work or school, who cares if we sneak in some white sweatpants?

7. Are Dunkin’ Coolatas made with real strawberries and fruit? If so, are the blue raspberry Coolatas then made from actual fluorescent blue raspberries? If these exist on some farm, I must see and pick for myself.

8. Is mail-in voting going to work? I sent in a ballot via mail. Did you?

9. When my daughter tells me she is exhausted because she had TWO play dates (insert screams)…do I feel bad? Um….

10. Why is only Season 3 of Siesta Key free, and the episodes before it are $17.99 if you want to catch up??

11.  My children don’t actually go back to the school till October in Massachusetts. Is this actually going to happen? And I can’t believe it’s September, and I have a whole other month of summer left home with them! How am I supposed to even get a job? Oh, and when they go back, it’s scattered half days: half-remote, half in-person. So, essentially, I have two young children, varying times of learning and drop offs and pick ups, but I’m supposed to also work. Go figure.

12. When I ask my son to help clear the dinner table, and he tells me, “It’s not 1982!” What does that even mean? Oh, PS-he was born in 2010. And, I mean, I guess, yes, in 1982, I was indeed helping my parents clear the table!

 

 

My Daughter told me to Chill

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“Mom, I know you want to hang out with me, but I’m actually kind of popular? So you might have to chill, because I have to call my friends.”

This is what my 8-year-old said to me. 

I almost died laughing. But, then, I got scared that she will not want to play with me anymore!  The saying “they grow up so fast, in the blink of an eye” never resonated with me–until now. I used to balk when people would say that to me in the grocery store, as my two kids dangled off the cart. I’d reply, “Really? ‘Cause this ‘aint so fun right now, and time’s moving awfully slowly.”

I kind of had that feeling again this year when I had to do remote homeschool and work full-time. I was exasperated and couldn’t wait till 5:00. When the kids were babies, 5:00 marked the time I could feed them and then put them to bed expeditiously so I could relax with a TV show and a glass of wine. Now, they are up till I go to sleep. 

It’s funny, because parents wait for this time, a time when they can be at home together as a family and not actually have to play! And, now, I see a baby and think, “Wait, am I too old? I want one! They smell so good!”( Er, yeah…I know I’m too old…)

I look in my daughter’s room, and she has her perfume bottles lined up just-so, and her hair things and jewelry.

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The wooden crib of stuffed animals hasn’t been touched in some time. “Where is Penny?” I asked the other day, referring to the beanie baby she used to adore that we’d create funny stories about. “I can’t find her,” she said.

I feel like Penny.

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This is what Penny looks like

I shouldn’t say woe is me, because the upside is I have time for myself now (i.e. time to clean). And, this is a very nice thing.

We played Old Maid the other night. My son is afraid of the Old Maid, so much so that he doesn’t want to play. Wait, as an aside, how rude is it that the loser is someone stuck with the Old Maid? First off, I could use an Old Maid to clean my house. Secondly, an Old Maid could also just be some fun party chick, who never got married or had kids, and she’s a blast to hang with. No? I’m voting for the Old Maid. Anyway, I digress. It was so fun to play cards with them, laughing and screeching when the maid was passed about! I wanted to play again and again.

I certainly don’t long to revert to those days in the grocery store when I’d be told I had my hands full, but I sure do miss my children scurrying about in their jammies, and me being her number one friend.

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