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We know grace to be courteous goodwill. Or giving of something not deserved. In these uncertain and confusing times, we should be operating with a far greater amount of grace than typical. Grace for our kids to adjust to their current, and hopefully temporary, normal. For ourselves as we learn how to chaos school. For teachers as they attempt to virtually educate their students. For our leaders (like them or not) as they wade unprecedented waters of policy and economic strife. As I previously wrote, we have maintained basic routines for our household as we know regaining them after hiatus is challenging. We also know schedules help us remain sane. Our lives now have a lot more uncertainty, so predictability of daily tasks is helpful. This helps with grace too. But, like many, our family has had to make drastic changes. I work away from home now, and Leigh does the schooling while he works from home too. I learned yesterday that he has put a lot of expectations on himself regarding keeping the house clean and organized. All the tasks I used to do throughout the whole day along with schooling. I had no expectations aside children being alive and fed when I arrived home. I had no grand plans of a clean home. I didn't even wholly expect all of school tasks to be complete. Leigh has gone above and beyond. I am left, though, with this feeling of guilt for being away from my kids for five of their waking hours four days each week. I have been home with them since Rory was five months old. And in Rory's first five months, I was only away from her a few hours each week. I wanted to go back to teaching a few hours a week, but not until Kae was older. She just turned four and still very much needs raising. Leigh and the older kids are dong a wonderful job of helping her with "school" and playing with her. But it hurts my heart that I am not seeing her leaps as closely as I saw the others. Mack is struggling to maintain his self-control too, and I feel I do do more chastising of him than engaging when I am home. He needs to move, and build, and dig. I can't supervise those activities from work. Leigh can't either. I ensure outdoor time when I am home and the weather is nice. Thankfully, it looks like we are turning a Michigan weather corner into actual spring instead of pretend spring, and we will be able to be out more. I need to use grace with myself regarding Kae. And with Mack regarding his behavior. Neither of them is able to control what is happening right now. I can't really either. But I am much more capable of controlling my responses to them in light of our present situations. As difficult as it might be, my ability to gather the energy to go outside and engage Mack's movement drive is going to mean the difference between a stressful afternoon and a happy one. My ability to play with Kae when I get home is going to allow me to watch her leap cognitively as I watched the others. If I can be intentional with reading to her, and playing with him, our time together will be sweeter. Will and Rory are rather low maintenance right now, but I can't let them fall through the cracks in my energy. I need balance. I need grace. For me and for them. Our routines help. But my decisions to refocus my energy will mean the difference between happiness and frustration. All while giving myself a minute to breathe and be someone other than shipper or mom. Grace means stopping and breathing before chastising. Encouraging positivity rather than correcting.

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