Throughout the pandemic, I have continued to go into work 99.99% of the time. Prison is one of those funny places that isn't super amenable to working from home (though I have several staff that do, and do it well.) At first, it felt very much like a noble calling. We were "Essential Workers!" braving the world to provide high quality treatment to our patients. Then it started to feel like this awesome little pocket of normalcy and I secretly reveled in the privilege as I merrily packed my lunch and headed out to work every day while the rest of the world lamented the on-going lock-downs. I HATED teleworking when I was doing it last year and that was when the world was relatively normal and not so apocolypty. Give me pants with a zipper over trying to take a conference call amongst the din any day.
But now? I'm starting to feel jealous of all the people who have settled in to a routine in their cozy bubbles. Especially as we're facing down another adventure in distance learning. I talk to people who've created these routines of walking the dog, checking in with work, taking calls on their patios, and I look at my commute and my state-issued office and they don't seem so luxurious anymore.
Teleworking full time isn't an option for me. Despite the fact that I spend most of my time alone in my office, there is an intangible but glaring difference in how my program runs when I'm not here. Plus it seems like kind of an asshole move to make people come in when I don't. And the fact remains that I don't enjoy working from home. It's chaotic, and loud, and messy, and my dogs wrestle like they're dying, and my kids can only overhear so many prison/psych conversations before they're ruined from all age-appropriate social interactions forever.
On the other hand, school starts next week and we still have no idea what that looks like. We've decided to do independant study with Eli, since the high school is requiring all teachers to take attendance translating to 4-5 scheduled zooms per day. He did phenomenally when he was left to his own devices during crisis schooling and we're really excited to see how he does as a self-directed student. The girls however are staying with Distance Learning. The district is mandating 240 minutes of synchronous learning for Syd and 230 minutes for Averson (I LOVE the ten minute adjustment for the Littles.) C is convinced that means that they'll be on video for 6 hours but I'm optimistic (delusional?) that it will be translated differently. But worst case, how the hell are we supposed to both work full-time AND manage 6 full hours of Zoom, especially for a 2nd grader? It's another reason we elected to do Independent Study for Eli. We're legit considering paying him to help proctor video appointments. Thank God my mom is here and is another set of hands. As I stare down this logistical black hole, I can't help but think that this is going to be just a teensy bit easier for parents who are working from home.
What do you think? Have we reached the point in the pandemic where it just feels like no matter what, the grass is greener? And I'd love to hear how you all are navigating all of this. We've committed to being positive and successful and I'm convinced that there are people out there who have some tips or tricks (besides day drinking). I'll start. We got Averson a kid-size yoga ball to sit on during Zoom meetings. Made her WAY less wiggly and able to focus. Some of the best $15 dollars we've spent so far.