For the past few months, parents have been doing distance learning because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Schools were closed abruptly in March 2020 and classes around the world gradually made the move towards distance learning from August 2020. My colleagues in North America started a month ahead of most other regions. I looked at how they dealt with this new way of learning and made some notes. I used what I had observed to prepare myself ahead of time. When the reality hit, I felt a great sense of overwhelm. However, it took me a shorter time to rebound from what felt like an uncontrolled life.
Here is how I structured distance learning for my four children while going to school myself without a mental breakdown.
1. I PREPARED MENTALLY
I looked at the news, saw the posts and saw the videos of all the moms who felt like they had a rug pulled from under them. I knew that I would feel the same way as my time was drawing near. My anxiety started to increase so much just thinking about it. So I started to prepare myself mentally for what was coming. I started talking to myself in my head; reminding myself that this is going to happen. I wondered how I was going to handle it all. I became accustomed to doing many things, but this was going to be on a whole new level. Things would have to change like my schedule, coaching, cooking, studying and family time. I looked to the word of God in the Bible for scriptures about strength and what matters most in life. I knew I needed help from a “higher” source. When the first week of their distance learning started, I must admit, I felt it! No matter how much I prepared, I felt like I was not in control. Days were overwhelming to say the least. But, I did the best I could. And I want to tell you that doing the best you could is enough! I incorporated alot of deep breathing and took a moment to release the anxiety. New experiences may bring anxiety, but just let the teething process take its course. You will get through it.
2. PREPARE THE CHILDREN
My children haven’t had school since March, so it will be natural for them to forget what it is like to have that daily school structure. The teachers sent timetables that all started at 9 am with different break and lunchtimes. We prepped them about the changes in their sleep time and study routine. I printed study time tables for my older children. My husband and I decided to share responsibilities. He would focus on the two older children, and I would focus on the two younger ones. Honestly, no group would be easier than the other. My husband felt that I had more patience to work with the younger ones. So that’s what we did. They all felt like I did in the first week of school. They wondered how this was all going to work out as there were so many moving parts. Sure enough, by the second week, they started to get a hang of it, even my 6 year old!
3. I WORK ACCORDING TO A STRICT SCHEDULE
I knew this new lifestyle would need a strict schedule. There is no way one can function as a wife, mom, business owner, university student, and have a full-time job without a schedule. That would be a recipe for disaster!
I started with my own study schedule. I chose four courses this semester (the school advises three). I carved out time for two subjects on rotation for 3 hours a day from Monday to Thursday. I’d read for 1.5 hours, then do weekly assignments for 1.5 hours. I do no school work on a Friday and weekend. I just plan for what I have to focus on for the following week.
I have 1 hour a day for quiet time, meditation, praying and reading my Bible. I let that be free flowing. Sometimes that will be mornings, other times at night. I didn’t want to box myself into morning routines (even though it is preferred). In reality, we as moms get tired! If you want to sleep a little later, then by all means get your rest. But ensure you get that time for yourself. It is critical.
I have to go to the office 2 days a week. I spend those days taking care of all tasks that are 9-5 related. When I am at home in between distance learning, I take care of emails and other tasks within 2 hours.
I cook for 2 days at a time. The thing is this: my diet is different to my family, so it takes more time for me to cook for myself. I make sure that I have ingredients to make my light meals. This just works for me. I drink lots of liquids and eat lots of salads. It has resulted in me losing a few pounds. Can’t argue with that!
I still have to make the time for exercise. I figure with all of this movement, I’m burning calories, but that’s not the case. I have to spend more focused time. I plan to get at least 30-45 minutes every other day. I’ll see how it goes.
I work on my personal business on the weekend. I have a Virtual Assistant who handles my Blog, Email List, and Facebook Group scheduling. I work on my Blog and Instagram content on Saturdays for about 3 hours. My Coaching day is Thursday for 1:1 and Groups. I work with my mentors on Tuesdays.
I chose to limit my time on Social Media. I can’t afford to get sucked into that rabbit hole. Usually, I would be online for 4-5 hours a day. I simply don’t have the luxury of time to do that anymore. I rather use that time to focus on other areas of my life. At the moment, I use less than 30 minutes a day peeping in between Facebook and Instagram. I can tell you that I’m not missing a thing!
I make time for my self-care on Saturdays for at least 2 hours every other week. My husband and I make time on most mornings to talk about our relationship, the children, business, and goals. This schedule is going well so far.
4. I MAKE TIME TO READ
My children know me very well. Each week I come home with boxes from Amazon. They always say, “Mommy! More books?!” One of the reasons I am able to stay so calm is because of the insights I have gleaned from books about focus, business, self-care, and spirituality. I always tell my clients I have a book for every purpose. Reading allows you to become a better person all around. I have purchased and read books about marriage, wealth, health, parenting, business strategy, marketing, etc. The list goes on. This knowledge when applied helps me to make better decisions faster. With a combination of knowledge and experience, I have seen increased success in my personal life and my businesses. Since I learned to speed read, I can push through 4 books a month. However, with this new lifestyle, I am content with 2-3 books per month. With life being as eventful as it is, I am able to cope better because I applied what I learned from these different books. I read for 25 minutes at a time so I can retain what I have learned. I dedicate at least 1 hour per day to this activity.
I know this was a longer read than usual, but I hope these few tips will help you cope during these new times.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you are doing to keep calm.