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GUEST POST: Parents and Teaching

Posted 04.15.2016, by
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Moving from a school district you love into one you don’t like can be a challenge. Being a mom of 6 kids has its share of challenges but having a problem with a school up until now, wasn’t one I had faced. I admit that I get worked up sometimes over the smallest of things. It happens when you have Bipolar Disorder. That is partly why I was wearing a triumphant smug when it turned out I was in fact NOT overreacting about this.

                  I had a gut feeling about the school from the 1st day. This kind of mommy superpower that alerted every one of my senses. I got a call 3 months into our new school year. A way too calm woman on the other end of the phone told me that my son was threatened by another student. This was the implication that he would bring a gun to school and shoot my son.  Sadly, this in not the day and age where these things can be dismissed.  I was, as I believe most parents to be very upset. I was even more upset that since they are both 2nd graders the school felt it was no big deal.

                  I am not sure she even heard the click of me hanging up the phone. I was at the school and she still had the phone in her hand. I immediately withdrew my son from school.  I decided right then and there that he would not return to that school and in fact decided he would not return to the normal school setting at all. I opted to utilize the Virtual School option. I was scared but went into it with the protective mommy mode in high gear.

                  Did I mention this protective mommy is Bipolar? Did I mention that my triggers are very sensory activated? This mom who gets overloaded mentally by touch, sound, and smell decided to homeschool a 7-year-old boy who is loud, loves crunchy smelly foods, and loves to hang all over me. Yep this was a great idea. I probably should have taken a day or two and give my options a good look over. That is not how I react when I am in mommy mode though.

                  Let’s skip ahead to day 1 of homeschool. It’s 8:30 a.m. I stop drinking my coffee and that means it’s serious. “Mom-uhhhhh whyyyyyy do I have to get dressed? It’s homeschool.” Why is it that my son must add uh to all his words when he is whining? I say as calmly as I can when I have not yet finished my first cup of coffee, “Because AJ this is school and you don’t go to school in your underwear.” If you are a mom then you know the stomping feet of a child in defeat. Much to my surprise he came out of his room appropriately dressed.

                  “Mom-uhhhhh whyyyyyyy do I have to write so much? It’s homeschool.” This time his voice was extra nasally which I am sure was just to push me to my defeat. I am not as calm but I say, “It’s school son, you have to write in school. Yes, even in homeschool.” He has a pout lip out and mad eyes but he does the work. By lunch we are both showing the signs of stress induced fatigue and I am on my 5th cup of coffee.

                  It’s nighttime now and I have tucked him in bed. I have a minute to sit down and finally process the day. We made it through. Neither of us had a total meltdown. This is a testament to the success of being med compliant and really strong coffee.  It was a challenge and I have no idea if I am doing it right but we did it together.  I of course expect the challenges of day 1 to happen a lot. I have no misconceptions that this will be easy for either of us but we are in it together. This I do know because my mommy super power tells me so.

                  I am happy to tell you that we are 3 months into our homeschool adventure and it is going great. I get to be there for the frustration but I am also there to see the “aha” moments. I am helping to teach him math, science, reading, and social studies. He is teaching me patience and how to be better at multi-tasking.  I was able to do that very thing this morning when I hear, “Mom-uhhhhhh why do I have to get dressed? It’s homeschool.” I drink my coffee, start up the laptop, and direct him to his room with my leg. See, multi-tasking. 


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In a weekend of self-discovery author Joan Jessup started writing what would become her memoir. Bipolar Goggles is the first book by Joan and now available. She lives in the sun of Florida becoming a better mom and person every day. She hopes her struggle and acceptance of her mental illness can serve as a reminder to others that they are in it together. 


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