Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?


I am a planner. I am 100% a Type-A personality. I have a schedule and a checklist for just about everything. I also have 2 beautiful boys…. with the amount of energy that could power the entire state of Alaska.  So all the parks and the child-related activities being shut down due to this quarantine is not conducive to our well-being at this point. 

I am also SO tired; I honestly want to know how parents managed in the ‘good ‘ol days’ without being able to say, “just go watch YouTube for a little while”, or ‘go play outside’ or ‘go ride your bike’ for that matter, just so they could do the dishes, sweep the floor, go to the bathroom alone, or God forbid – do their actual 40 an hour week job (for the record I’ve been interrupted while writing this at least 5 times). 

So, as I said, this quarantine has rained complete chaos down onto my perfectly scheduled life. This was not part of the plan! *insert panic attack*

I just got the news today, along with all the other quarantine victims, that Arizona schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. And I’m not going to lie – I was this close (my hands are spread far apart) to ugly crying. 

I am not a trained teacher (although I do have to give a big shout out to all the teachers out there scrambling to put their lesson plans online, create google classrooms, and have Zoom meetings with their kiddos because they miss them) or a stay at home mom (seriously, those moms should get paid to stay home with their kids – it’s very hard work). There’s a reason why I only thought about homeschooling my kids for a hot second – I am just not that person. I am a worker.  I love and value my job and the independence I have gained from it. I appreciate the time I get to spend with my kids more because of it – whether I work from home or not – and I’ve done both. Neither option is easy – aside from having the choice to wear a bra everyday,  if I’m being real, and in case you cared. 

But now…. I have no idea what I’m doing. I mean kindergarten is a breeze – let’s face it – that was EVERYONE’s favorite grade – basically play time and naps. But I also have a fifth grader – you know that show ‘Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader”? I am not. Helping my son with his common core math division of whole numbers and fractions (insert the scream painting image) and you bet I was taken down a notch. I was literally drawing pictures of sandwiches and pizzas to cut up and divide. Fifth grade is no joke and this whole showing your work thing… WHAT?  Can’t a kid just know what 8 + 7 is? 

I am also my own worst critic. I constantly berate myself for not being good enough. I feel bad for snapping at my kids for asking me simple questions during my working hours. I beat myself up and feel guilty for letting them watch hours of YouTube and play video games so I can get my work finished and meet my deadlines – and I am on eastern standard time – in AZ (yeah that means I start at 5:00 AM every day) – instead of doing fun science and art projects (from Pinterest mind you). 

I’ve locked myself in my bedroom, pulled  the covers over my head and cried because I’ve been so overwhelmed. How are they going to pass their classes when their new teacher (me) is a complete mess?! How am I going to get all of my ‘9-5’ work done and still fit P.E. Time into the schedule (yep they work out with me just about every day; thank you Beachbody), home economics (because now they don’t teach that in high school anymore – you have to pay for a “life skills” class in college – I’m not kidding), reading, the ridiculous projects and reports that my fifth grader has due… I could go on. 

Oh, and let’s not forget their tears of frustration, the eye rolls and the attitudes (and as I’m typing this, I have my kindergartner, at 9:27 PM, asking me what I’m doing when he’s supposed to be in bed). Because this is all new to them too and they are also very, very overwhelmed and confused – they have no idea what is happening – and I can guarantee they did NOT want me to be their teacher (think old school – like, ‘corporal punishment’ status – without all the beatings, like cracking the whip if your penmanship is wrongl).  There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your 10 year old pull his shirt over his head to hide the tears of frustration and hopelessness while he’s trying to complete a state mandated test on time after he worked so hard all day to get all of his other school work caught up because his mom is a complete shit-show right now and can’t seem to get this new schedule to go down without a hitch. Seriously, my heart aches.  

So, when I was asked by my fellow Queen of the Land (and boss 😉) to write for her blog, I jumped at the chance. It gave me an opportunity to take a step back, take a deep breath, and word vomit all over the place about how I’m feeling and how I’m sure thousands of other working parents are feeling right now. 

And here’s what I’ve realized:

I am blessed. 

I am blessed with 2 beautiful boys; I am blessed that we are all healthy, safe, and (relatively) happy. I am lucky enough to be able to work from home, which means I still have a job unlike so many others who don’t because their jobs aren’t considered ‘essential’ enough (I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now).

 I am lucky enough to be able to change up my schedule to accommodate my kids (even though my Type-A personality has a mini-panic attack every time I do). My boys are smart, and they have awesome teachers who are always willing to help…me mostly, to be honest. 

I am blessed that I get to spend this extra time with them because in the blink of an eye they’ll be leaving to go to college, and they’ll be finding that special someone, who isn’t their mom.

I am blessed to be making new memories with them – like edible marshmallow slime (I do NOT recommend that – the result was horrifying and the clean up was outrageous).

But most of all, I’m not alone. 

We are all struggling to adjust during a time of uncertainty. We are all struggling to find that balance that we so desperately need right now. No part of this is easy (because if it was everyone would do it…voluntarily) but we are all strong, we are resilient, and we will make it out alive – hopefully. We might all end up looking like cavemen (as salon’s are now shut down throughout the state – glad I squeaked in a last minute appointment for haircuts and eyebrow waxes 2 days ago) with slightly dumber children, but alive, and happy, with so many more memories that we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for COVID-19. 

So, here’s to a happy hashtag that doesn’t involve toilet paper (which I still don’t understand) and has a silver lining #COVID19 #quarantine #makingallthememories