New To Distance Learning? Welcome — You're F*cked

Schools Are Closing Again––Welcome Back To Distance-F*cking-Learning

November 20, 2020 Updated November 23, 2020

Scary Mommy and Ariel Skelley/Getty

Hello, fellow travelers!

LOL J/K ain’t nobody traveling. Except my Facebook friend from junior high who keeps posting selfies from Playa del Carmen. What the fuck, Angela?

We are, however, fellow travelers on the exquisite journey called distance learning.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

And by that, I mean pace around your house, absolutely lose your shit, and pray to your Fauci shrine.

I’ve been working from home full-time for more than 11 years, during which time I had two kids. On purpose. I’ve never had more than three days per week of child care because I’m a masochist who has completely bought into the lie that women can have it all. I’d like to lean right into Sheryl Sandberg’s baby toe.

These days, of course, I have pretty much no child care, and yet STILL TWO CHILDREN. My spouse is an essential worker so I’m flying solo on the plane to Fuck-Everything-Town. To be fair, I have privilege coming out of my butthole (figuratively, of course…eww) so if you’re asking yourself, is this more middle class whining? The answer is yes. Yes it fucking is.

As a certified expert in working from home while tiny people actively try to ruin everything, I have a few things to be aware of.

1. Candor.

You may not have noticed this while your child was off in a physical school building, but your child tells your teacher and your class absolutely everything you say and do, along with anything else that comes to their mind. “Ms. Ibrahim, you said to have my mom check my math work but she said something that sounded like ‘duck math’ and I don’t know what duck math is and also she wears these tiny diapers in her underwear and what’s the Holocaust?” (For the trillionth time, teachers do NOT get paid enough.)

2. Work calls.

Stop hiding in your bathroom. That’s a rookie mistake. Walking into your bathroom is a clear signal to all of your children that you’d very much like them to follow you and ask you a question. You should know better. Instead, choose a safer location and if it’s a Zoom call, pretend the video isn’t working. Just say something about bandwidth. Warning: Even if you avoid the bathroom and judiciously stay on mute, the brief moment when you unmute to say “Your chart looks perfect, Carl” your youngest child will yell “LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN MY BUTT!” (True story.)

3. Siblings.

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If you’re fortunate enough to have multiple precious offspring, you’re exponentially fucked. One kid distance learning is like one kid distance learning. Two kids distance learning is like 47 kids distance learning. Three or more? You’re probably going to have to pick your favorite kid to focus on and let the rest raise themselves.

4. Schedules.

Jennifer the classroom mom sent out another email about making sure all kids are on time and prepared for ALL video classes. Set alarms for five minutes before each scheduled video class so that when your snoozed alarm goes off nine minutes later, you can say, “Shit, what was supposed to be four minutes ago?” Then get mad at your kid for being irresponsible about time management. They really need to learn.

5. Job Performance.

If you identify as male or closest to male on the gender spectrum, congratulations. People will think it’s adorable that you’re “a bit tied up at the moment” when little Spencer gives you an applesauce hickey in the middle of a presentation. Female? You’re an unfocused hot mess but at least you have a proven ability to multitask because you can simultaneously fail at your job AND neglect your family.

Good luck and have fun!