On march 20th, 2020 we all received the surprising news that the world was entering a pandemic.
My little Renata was barely in K1 and suddenly we had to shift to virtual lessons. I was so frazzled and didn’t understand anything. So I logged her on to her first lesson and in the first five minutes her teacher began to cry. It was at that moment that I decided that my children would not be taking virtual lessons because I wanted to spare them the fear, anxiety and doubts. She was happy at home and had no idea of what was going on.
I decided to tell her a story about little bugs and why we couldn't go out to see her friends or her grandparents. It was better to spend that time playing with her and Emiliano, who was one year old at the time.
Every day we did a different activity, we painted, we played in the little pool, we made figures with play doh, we cooked, and they grew up like that for a whole year.
We parents began to despair, we lived in total stress, between confinement, the daily messes, the fear and despair. Some lived depressed while others were angry. We missed friends, family, going to the movies, and above all living without fear.
As a mother, I began to panic and tried desperately to recover the "lost time" my children had suffered. I pressured the school, saying that it was important for them and their social and emotional development to return to class.
I started to get desperate when they went back to school but they were sent home constantly as the school adapted to the mandates. It made me angry, anguished, desperate, and I kept saying that it was important to them because they deserved a “normal childhood”. I put their emotional development before their health, as if being home with their parents was the worst thing that could happen to them.
I began to see my children nervous, scared, fearful, bored and after much reflection I realized that all of this was a reflection of what I was feeling. I was the one who was tired of playing games, watching movies and entertaining them.
They had been locked up for more than a year, at home, with their parents, safe, without expecting anything, since most of them did not know exactly what was going on. My son learned to walk, talk, get out of diapers and all this without help from school.
As long as I was fine, they were never bored, depressed, or anxious. However, when I started having all those negative emotions, they did too!
Returning to school has been complicated. We want teachers to perform miracles and solve in mere months what our children experience in 2 years. We complain about everything, we demand things without understanding that those 2 years our children were in our hands and we were 100% responsible for them.
Of course, the social part is important, our children must have friends, leave the house and develop skills, but it is also important to review what we are doing and what we are teaching them as parents.
What I want to share is that our children experienced something different, but that’s how the cards were dealt. And as parents, it is up to us to give them the security they need to return to normal life, with patience, calmly, without marked demands, without anger and taking it one step at a time.
It is not about panicking and pressuring everyone so that they recover the "lost" time, which for me was not lost. I'm sure my children learned many things and I'm sure they missed others, of course! But to this day I can think back on those almost two years and know that I enjoyed them as much as I could.
I didn't spend two hours a day in traffic, I could play with them, cook, watch movies, meet them, enjoy them, and all this without stopping work.
Now it is time to return to the life that according to us “it was their turn” to live.
Many have come back angry, scared, depressed and afraid. As mothers, we blame the pandemic, the schools, the president, the kindergarten, the directors, the teachers, the next-door classmate, but we do not reflect that none of them spent almost 2 years with our children.
With this I am not trying to say that moms or families are in a bad way or that it is our fault. I just try to make us become more aware and think of them, not of us, that we listen to them, that we accompany them and stop assuming what they feel.
That we stop seeing as enemies all those who do not think like us, all those people who work very hard to get to know our children, to help them and to accompany them. That we work as a team not to make up for lost time, because it was not lost and cannot be recovered, it was just a different time, but starting today, to give them that security, and that socio-emotional part that must start at home.
I have heard some mothers say, “my son hits, he is angry, he comes home from school sad and he is very anxious”.
I invite you to reflect and understand that they did not learn that in 6 months, but rather it is a reflection of what they lived through for almost 2 years, being at home.
Let's work together, be patient, listen to our children, and pay more attention to what we are teaching them and what they need from us, their parents.
True education is everyone's job, not just the school, it is through the family how values, norms and attitudes are transmitted. At home is where our children learn to have self-confidence and to feel valued and loved.
Let's work on that so that the return to "normality" is easier for them and they can thus take advantage of the social part for which we fight so much for.