Roller Coaster Emotions

A Working Mother's Story

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Happiness, Determination, Frustration, Overwhelmed, Anger, Disappointment, Relief, Optimism, …all before 8 am.  How is that even possible? 

Sadly, I’m not alone in this.  Many of you are feeling the same emotions, and hopefully, you can move through them as quickly as I did.

Happiness:  The day started great!  Everyone slept well; breakfast was eaten, some giggles were had, a picture-perfect start to the day.

Determination:  As my daughter started her schoolwork for the day, we were confident we could tackle it.  The previous week, with different schoolwork format, she completed all her work before lunch.  She too was determined to knock it out and enjoy the afternoon.

Frustration: As the hour approached where my conference calls began, my frustration levels rose.  With each question from her, my answers became shorter and shorter.  I finally snapped.

Overwhelmed: How can they expect working parents to do this much work with their children?  I certainly do not have the patience to teach a 2nd grader.  I’m supposed to do this every day for the next few weeks, or more?!  It’s just not possible.

Anger: I then tried to blame someone other than me.  I was mad at the Governor, the School District, the Superintendent, and the teacher.  Name them, and I was angry at them.  My husband even joined in on my projected anger and said he would write the school and the Superintendent, indicating this could not be expected of us.

Disappointment:  Ultimately, disappointed in myself for allowing my little one to feel my stress.

Relief:  Of course, I apologized to my daughter, and we comforted each other, and together we agreed we’d get through it.

Optimism:  We can, and we will all get through this. 

I see a lot of posts from working moms of their great homeschool setups, the cute art projects, the set schedules, including recess. That went out the door day 1 for us.  Sure, I did a great Science project highlighting Newton’s Third Law, it was quite fun!  Then the real work came home.  My expectations needed to be reset. 

If any of this resonated with you, know that what you are doing is perfect.  It is working for you and your new norm at home.  Set and reset expectations as much and as often as you need to. 

I feel a bit in survival mode, and the work-life balance concept is out the window as we all try to make it work. Self-care is of the utmost importance. Work-outs, meditation, and fresh air are the three staples that will carry me through this.

Emotion management is a skill that will help get you through such a range of emotion quickly.  We can try to keep emotions at bay, but I find it is helpful to allow emotions in and recognize them for processing.  In my above example, I was able to realize what I was feeling, accept my part in it and shift the negative emotion to something much more positive; optimism!

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