Tag Archives: school

The Coronator Accelerator

Corona Corona, 

You’re like a bulldozer. 

So much disaster 

Everything moves faster

 

Here’s the gist. I know that your days may be moving at snail speed because maybe  you’ve got your kid hanging off of you at all times, but today I want to talk about how things are also moving so much faster. A catastrophe like COVID comes along and our walk becomes a RUN. 

 

But… who has time to loll around anyway?

 

Let’s take our social system for instance. We’ve been snoozing through social equality in this country for the past 75 years. We needed a wake up call. And it came fast and mighty.

 

Now take a look at your own life. The questions you’ve been saving for middle of the night wake ups and then brush aside in the morning have probably risen to the surface, kind of like the muck that’s been trudged up from the Gowanus near my place.

 

All signs and variations seem to point to  this question: How do I want to live my life?

 

Suddenly there is no clear path. There is zero roadmap for what we are experiencing. Together and apart we need to invent our next steps as we go.

 

And there are a myriad of unknowns.

 

All the things that were once a given – adult goes to work, kid goes to school, nanny watches baby, friends play together, have turned into question marks. 

 

I mean shit’s so bad I bet you’ve wondered if you were going to put together your own school pod this year. WHAT? Are we all suddenly principals and educators?

 

And what about Barbados? Who’s on their way there as we speak? Because the Coronator has all of us who’ve  been fantasizing about moving out of the city on a fast highway to the burbs, while suburbians are moving out to farms, and all the rest who never intended to move are suddenly clutching their sofas wondering if they’re missing the boat.

 

Why is this happening? Two reasons: 1. Our psyche is less cluttered with distractions, and 2.,  Life intensifies when there is danger.

 

During the last few months, I unintentionally read stories of people who lived in or escaped captivity. I re-read the Diary of Anne Frank, Educated, Circe, Lilac Girls. The other night I added to that list and watched the movie: “Room”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of a woman who is held hostage for 7 years in a man’s shed. Two years in, she has a baby and raises him in the “Room.”

 

(**Spoiler Alert ** if you haven’t seen it and don’t know the story I am about to give something away but it’s in all of the previews so you probably know. It’s worth watching for the process. It’s not a plot type of movie)

 

When they finally escape the son is overwhelmed by how much space there is in the world. He says: 

There’s so much of “place” in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter.”

 

For those of us who have been lucky enough to stay healthy during this pandemic, the main issue we’ve grappled with is the walls closing in on us. Moving around less, not seeing friends, kids staying home. I don’t have to tell you.

 

But what that leaves us with is more time. We’ve reduced the rush from place to place and we freed ourselves for other processes to happen. Do you remember how much time we wasted moseying into Anthropologie and checking out that shirt we didn’t actually want? Or spending hours carting our kids to and fro places? Or coming home exhausted from the day’s marathon vegging for the rest of the day?

 

But there’s another piece. Do you remember how you felt 6 months before having a baby? I don’t know about you but I got more done in those 6 months than I had in all of my adult years before that. I went into overdrive each time I was pregnant with the feeling that my life (at least as I knew it) was about to end.

 

And I know I’m not alone. We move to new apartments, we get cars, we find our dream job, we take on mammoth projects and actually get them done. The three albums I made? Two of them were while I was pregnant. (here’s a video about how I actually made an album without being pregnant too.)

 

When we feel imminent danger or transition we are so much more aware that life is fleeting and precious. There’s no time to waste living in a place you don’t want to live, or doing a job that isn’t fulfilling, or staying in an unhealthy relationship.

 

Basically, our bucket list is in full force. And that list is staring us down with no other competing distractions to let us off the hook.

 

Here’s the good news. It’s exhilarating. It’s living. It’s not acquiescing to a situation that we might have continued in for years with our morning coffee and daily complaints.

 

One thing’s for sure: This year and maybe the next few years to come are going to take a big amount of flexibility.

 

But we got this. we can create our own map. And maybe it will even be what a little voice within us thought was just a dream and didn’t dare yell out during the day, only at night.

 

At this point,  anything’s possible.

 

So tell me- Is your bucket list calling you? Mine is. I hope to share some of my big moves in the next month or so. Are you making big moves? Are you asking big questions? Please let us know.

 

Do you have a friend who just bought chickens for her farm? Send her this post to let her know she’s not crazy.

 

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Holy shit, Schools out! All the feels.

It’s that time of year, in-tune parents: The end of the school year.

We’re all excited, right? No wait. We’re all terrified we’ll never have a moment alone again. That’s right, right? Maybe we’re all sad our babies are becoming less baby-faced with every graduation. That seems more right. But the truth is: We’re all feeling a lot of things at once.

And if we feel that way, imagine how our kids feel right about now.

The end-of-year transition is even bigger for them. They go from the baby room into the two’s room, or from third grade into fourth grade, or (like one of mine) from elementary school to middle school.

What can we do to help them through this time?
And to help ourselves along with them?

We need to pause.

 

That’s not easy for me to do. During this frenzied time, the last thing I tend to do is pause. My wheels keep spinning all through the night. And during the day I am planning, packing and working ever so much harder until that last school bell rings.

But, listen: Summer can wait a minute. Eventually our plans will come together – more or less – and we will pack what we need , and probably forget the most important thing like usual. (It’s always the extra phone charger and the razor. Comment below and tell me your always-forgotten items.) There I go, spinning thoughts whirling again. We all need to learn how to pause so we can do the most important thing …

… help our kids pause.

4 Steps to Help Children Transition to Summer

1. Talk to them about the transition.

They are certainly feeling it, so you might as well name it. Naming the elephant in the room will dissipate the energy a bit.

Don’t: Introduce the transition as inherently anxiety ridden. Give them the space to reflect on their experience.

 

2. Ask them how they are feeling.

Find a quiet moment with your child and open the conversation with questions like these:
“How are you feeling now that schools out?”
“How does it feel to be leaving your friends for the summer?”
“How do you feel about going on this trip soon?”
“What are you feeling about starting camp?

Don’t: Ask leading questions like :
“Are you excited to start camp soon?”
“Are you sad about school ending?”

 

3. Follow up with detail-oriented questions.

If the answer is just “Good” or “Fine,” then you may need to ask questions a therapist asks like:
“And how does it make you feel?”
“What came up for you when that happened?”
“Where do you feel it in your body?”

Don’t: Think that’s all there is to it. There’s usually more beneath the surface.

 

4. Sit with their feelings and/or mirror their feelings back.

The best listeners also mirror back feelings in order to show the speaker that we fully understand and that we are listening. For example:

*Example A
Child: “I am sad to leave my friends.”
Parent: “Sometimes it is sad to leave friends we have been with for a while.”

*Example B
Child: “I won’t ever be able to win Student of the Day.”
Parent: “That sounds hard.”

Don’t: Start your sentence with BUT.

*Example A
Child: “I’m going to miss my teachers.”
Parent: “But you’ll see them again next year probably.”

*Example B
Child: “I don’t want to go on the trip”
Parent: “But we’ll have so much fun!”

 

Now here’s the important part about all of this: The answers might be difficult for us.

They might mirror our own anxiety about the transition. And they may even put a judgment on an upcoming activity.

Our job is to hear their feelings without letting our own feelings get in the way. Meaning, we need to purely to be an ear to the expression of their emotions without judgment of our own on their feelings. Children have an amazing ability to express how they are feeling without feeling a positive or negative judgment about it.

Let them show you how.

So parents, your task for this week is to Pause.

Notice your (and your child’s) anxiety about the transition and then talk to them about it. Remember the importance of being nonjudgmental. I wouldn’t judge you for being annoyed you have to go to the coast of Maine and spend time eating lobster with your in-laws. And you won’t judge your own kids for feeling psyched about that same trip.

Have you already noticed conflicted feelings in your family about summer plans? Comment and share how you’re trying to see all sides.

Know parents who would be relieved to pause? Send this post their way before the Last Day of School sneaks up on us all. They can sign up for the Tuesday Tune In below.

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