I would have posted me doing the happy dance on my social media last week when Ontario announced the kids were going back to school on February 16, but I was too busy.

Too busy being a mom of four, running a business, volunteering, writing a book and launching another season of podcasts. Doing none of them very well, I might add.

Even writing this blog post, I’m interrupted by a steady stream of “Mama!”

“Mooommmmm!!!”

“Mommy!!!!”

“Mom!”

“Mama!”

There are scrambled eggs on the floor, cold waffles in the toaster and kids strewn all over the house. Every single one of them needs me at exactly the same time for something equally urgent. I am managing three different lunch breaks, three different classes, three different assignments, not to mention my phone ringing off the hook with my own students, doctors, clients and friends, emails streaming in faster than I can answer them, my own homework/client work piling up and deadlines zipping by.

To say this is unsustainable is an understatement. Even God takes a break and lets us scramble around for ourselves before stepping in to intervene with miracles.

I’ve been here before. I mean it; I’ve been exactly here, precisely before.

About three weeks into January, after another fretful week of homeschooling, I pulled my kids out of class.

“No more online classrooms! No more computers! No more screen time!” I shouted to no one in particular.

And for a time it worked. We went back to basics, and that meant hitting the outdoors first thing in the morning. I let the kids be kids, explore, play, whatever to their hearts content as long as it was outdoors and in the fresh-ish air.

Afternoons were spent working off hard copy only: paper printouts and pencils and erasers—not a screen in sight.

And it worked, for a time.

The days ended with fewer meltdowns (for both me and the kids). Everyone was calmer, happier and more satisfied. The kids had plenty of free time for puzzles, colouring, building and their pet lizard. And we still got to tackle some math sheets and journalling.

But as the days passed, I started running out of ideas. The kids were getting bored and lazy and missed their friends.

I also started hearing from the teachers first, followed by the principals. They acknowledged the concerns I had over screen time and the kids’ behaviours, and appreciated the efforts I was making to keep the kids on track. But still, the law is the law and…

So I decided to give online learning a second chance. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all? Maybe it was just me, or my cycle, or the moon, or the year of the ox.

But here we are again, the kids calling out for help, requiring me to be in front of four different computers at once, and me just gritting my teeth, praying we can just get. Through. Another. Day.

So yeah, the kids are going back to live classrooms on February 16. (Insert happy dance.)

And it couldn’t come sooner. For me, and for them.

Author

Cat Margulis is a Toronto writer and super (tired) mom of four. She's working on her first novel, launching her own podcast The Passion Project, and generally trying to do and have it all. You can see how she does it @catmargulis and @passionprojectpod on Instagram.

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