It is not yet 8:30 pm. The exhaustion I feel is bone-deep. My day began around 5:30 am and it has been a whirl of activity. Working, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and sitting with decimal math for two kids at the fag end of a long day took everything out of me.
The average course load for a day involves some reading, writing, social studies, science, and math. Everything but math has some interactivity built into it. The writing prompts are fun, the reading material engrossing. There are videos for the other stuff. Math though is a sliding scale, the problems getting tougher as you go and if you stumble, you are set back and your climb harder.
The kids are in bed and I am mulling writing a note to their teachers saying I give up. I can’t do it all. It hits me that this is our new normal. There is no end in sight. The statistics from my curated news feed is ugly. Heart of hearts, I realize that we are in this mode until well past summer.
My phone dings with a new message. It’s a meme. All-day long, memes arrive through WhatsApp breaking the monotony and delivering humor in bite-sized pieces. Some are over the top. Some make me uncomfortable. Most though, make me laugh, the humor a relief from the stress of everything else.
Late afternoon, I don a light jacket and head out in the sun. The air feels cold, not the delicious chill of the fall but the lingering chill after the promise of warmth in spring. I talk to my cousin as I walk around the block. There is rarely a human in sight. I wonder if this is how our summer is going to look, empty roads, no tring tring of bike bells, no whizzing of scooters, no excited yells from children playing.
The specter is depressing. Work ironically seems to be the one bright spot. I log in, I work, I feel useful. The light banter in between serious discussions takes my mind off from the fact that there are three kids outside my office door waiting for my call to be done so they can let their hair down.
My email and social media feed are chock full of advice on how to keep kids engaged through this rather longish homestay. There is a sparse discussion on what it means for the mental health of adults, especially women.
Carving out time away from the demands of domesticity is paramount to keeping ourselves sane. I try to set aside time to write or read or watch something mindless before bed. A way to let my brain relax and stop the frantic swell of thoughts inside.
It’s a long road ahead.