I seriously don’t know who has it worse this wicked winter season; teachers or parents.
Because I’m a mom who works at a school, I can see it from both points of view but having spent (to date) eight and a half school days at home, due to weather, with my children I think I'm gonna give myself the nod for most miserable. However, I am brutally aware that there is one population of people not suffering this chronic school absence; my children.
Having had a near record number of school cancellations due to cold and snow this year, my children have experienced a great freedom that is usually only afforded to them in the summer: no alarm clocks, lazy days and no studying. This is what they are enjoying except indoors. So there’s a lot of family time. And by a lot I mean nonstop.
My kids have slept in, grazed in the pantry all day, watched an unhealthy amount of television and have stared at a wide variety of screens.
In our home we have TVs and devices but not any one kid has their own device. We sort of share them all. It’s my way of keeping a stiff upper hand on who’s online when and what they’re doing. Or so I think. But I will tell you one thing; if this excessive home bound season has taught me anything it’s that my kids can share. They are physically and emotionally able to - when they want.
It is with an astonishing efficiency that my kids have worked out a system for who gets a turn on what device. So why have I been roped into refereeing them so many times? Why all the tears? And the fussing? Turns out if they really want to work something out to the mutual benefit of all siblings involved, they can do it.
I need to remember this in the future.
Also, if the grocery store clerk didn’t know me by name before, she certainly does now. These days home have put quite a pinch on my monthly food budget. We have gone through gallons upon gallons of milk. In fact, I’m pretty certain I could have purchased an entire cow and still had money to spare with all the cash I’ve spent on milk.
Where do the Sikorski’s live? In the house with the cow tied out back.
I think it would be cheaper.
And don’t even get me started on the pajamas and bedheads. Apparently my children have determined that if it is not necessary to go out in public then why get dressed? Why comb your hair? Why brush your teeth? I can hardly stand to look at or talk to them. It looks like Christmas morning here every day all day except you know, without the tree or presents or fun. Just a gang of bleary eyed, starving, pajama wearing children roaming the halls of our home.
Also, my function in this home has been reduced to a concierge of sorts.
“What should we do next, Mom?"
"Where’s my sister?"
"When are the video games due back?"
"What is there to do for fun around here?”
I have half a mind to set up a desk in the middle of the foyer and simply sit there and answer their questions all day. That would certainly be excessive however the alternative would be to endure them wandering aimlessly around the house searching and calling out, “Mom! Mom? MOM!”
Because you and I both know that the second a mother puts a phone to her ear or a toilet to her rear her children need her attention. I haven’t gone to the bathroom in peace in over eighteen years! Yes, I say a desk sounds slightly more pleasant than being hunted down during my most indecent exposure.
Also, I’m sorry there’s no learning taking place here. I’m sure I could organize some project approach, kitchen experiment, lesson plan if I would just try but listen, if I wanted to be a homeschooling mom I would have chosen that track. As it is, I love sending my kids to school where teachers can answer their myriad of curious, inane questions and someone else’s kitchen prepares lunch and where there are gymnasiums for my kids to run wild, loud and free.
So teachers, as soon as Old Man Winter releases his icy grip on us I am sending my kids back to you. When the school doors open you can be sure my children will be in line waiting. Will they be good? Probably not. Will they have retained anything you’ve heretofore taught them? I doubt it. I can however be sure that, at the very least, they will brush their teeth and change out of their pajamas.
Just please go easy on me. I’ve had four moody kids home, stuck inside, all day long with me. Oh wait! What’s that you say? You, the teacher spend your days with kids nine months out of the year? And you simultaneously have 20 or more students to contend with?
Fine. You win. You might, just might, have it worse than me. Nonetheless I am certain this winter will go down as the year I slowly lost my mind because Cabin Fever is real, people. It is real and rampant. I know because I'm sick of my kids. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so.
Stephanie is an early childhood parent educator and a mother to five kids. Her oldest, thank goodness, is away at college or else she may in fact be the first woman ever hospitalized with chronic Cabin Fever. She enjoys speaking, writing a weekly column for The Review Atlas and blogging at stephaniesikorski.blogspot.com