I think it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together – even though we’re all physically apart – and if you feel like you’re trying to do all the things and not doing any of them well, please be assured: same here. (And, from what I’ve gathered, same everywhere.)
Because it’s almost too easy to forget how to interact with others when it seems like all the rules have been thrown out, I wanted to give a quick guide on all the things you, under any and all circumstances, should not say to a parent right now. Here we go.
“Thank goodness you can work from home while the kids are there!”
Have you ever tried to work with kids around? Because – spoiler! – you can’t. If your kids are very young, they need eyes on them all the time. If your kids are older you’re supposed to be supervising their eLearning and/or homeschooling them. Don’t worry, though, your workplace is offering flexible options for you, by expecting you to manage your full workload while watching/teaching your children! Hooray!
“What are all the cool projects you guys are doing?”
You must not have heard Frozen 2 is out on Disney+? Because Frozen 2 is out on Disney+, and my kids’ current project is to inject Frozen 2 directly into their skulls on repeat for, apparently, the duration of this pandemic.
“It’s so great they have eLearning set up!”
It is, yes. It is very cool. It is also very apparent that people whose careers are dedicated to teaching children things are, indeed, better at teaching children things than I am. In fact, that’s not giving teachers nearly enough credit. I would almost be shocked if every parent doesn’t emerge out of this pandemic rioting for higher teacher pay after (potential) months of begging their kids to just do one activity they were assigned during this time, let alone all of them. And that’s not even mentioning the parents who are responsible for this eLearning happening who still have to be at work, like healthcare workers. You know, details.
“When are the kids going back to school?”
Two weeks? The fall? Tomorrow? Never? Please don’t make me think about this reality too much.
“I saw this mom on Instagram and she was doing…”
Yeah, I saw her too. And you know what? Good for her. But in order to do that thing I’d have to somehow find 14 different supplies I don’t have in my house – or order them online – and then figure out how to do that thing that I don’t actually like doing, which is why I don’t have those supplies in my house in the first place. At this point, unless that Instagram mom posts something about how to create wine from a half-eaten bag of pretzels in my pantry, I’m just going to have to disengage from that “suggestion”.
“How much screen time are your kids getting?”
How much do you weigh? Can I see your tax returns? No? Hm, then maybe let’s think twice before asking loaded questions that are very obviously filled with judgment. Deal? Deal.
“It’s got to be so nice to enjoy a slower pace of life surrounded by family!”
...I...don’t even know...what to say to that.