As bleeding disorder parents, we are planners. We love to know what, how and when something is headed our way, and we will be prepared. We have been disaster relief preparing since day one. We have hospital/ER bags ready to go at a moment’s notice. Even during this age of smart phones, we have emergency phone numbers memorized and can rattle off the on-call hematologist’s pager number like it’s our favorite pizza restaurant’s phone number.
Nothing… not a single thing would have prepared us for the pandemic we are in. The bleeding disorder community is resilient, and we have seen the other side of a community epidemic but, this is nothing like any of us could have imagined. This virus knows no boundaries. For most, we were thrust into a life of social distancing, working from home and home education. I am a home body. I work at home and typically the only places I go during the day are to pick my children up from school.Â I also spent the better part of my early career teaching. At first glance, you would think I was ready for this.
When it was announced schools were closing, I was ready to take this on. We were told on a Thursday that Friday would be the last day of school for two weeks and then the state of Maryland would revisit it. I spent the better part of the weekend creating a schedule that I posted in the kitchen. I planned some education for my fourth grader. I tried keeping it simple, reading, a bit of math, and a dash of writing, occasionally. My 5-year-old, who is in pre-k, was another challenge. She needs more one on one support and I thought I could work with her in between my calls.
I’ve had friends and colleagues reach out asking how I was going to handle “homeschooling.”Â I had to shift some expectations. Educating during a pandemic is not homeschooling. This is continuing educational engagement. Trying to keep kids having fun while doing just a little bit of practice to keep basic skills going.
I went into that first Monday ready to go. I had the kids ready to do schoolwork by 9:30 am.Â Day One came and went with some challenges but, we worked them out. Day Two was a bit more challenging than Day One; Day Three more challenging than Day Four. By Day Five, I had decided that it was a “teacher in-service” and the kids would have the day off.Â Â am sure you can see where this is going.
As the time passes, I have found success by not putting pressure on myself or my children. I have found the more relaxed I am, the better our days go. I joke that the less I talk to my children throughout the day, the smoother the days are. I am still talking with my kids, just not at them. I am meeting them where they are. They will not suffer educationally. The entire world is going through this. There is no academic emergency.
During this pandemic, my kids are still living their best lives because I have taken the pressure off. My daughter has been sleeping in and wearing sequins whenever the mood strikes her. My son has spent far too much time playing video games and enjoys days in his pjs.Â Both of my kids have been watching way too muchTV. But, that’s ok. They are happy, healthy and relaxed. I am here for them as a parent. I am here to play, comfort and support. We are spending time watching movies, riding bikes and playing games. During this time of uncertainty, we need to remember that we are all in this together and it’s OK to take a step back, watch too much TV, eat fruit snacks for breakfast and spend a day in your pajamas.
Carrie lives with her husband Mark, and son, Nicholas, and daughter, Aleesia, in Maryland.
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.