She is a full-time tutor, proctor, curriculum developer, headmistress, meal planner, cook, and mother. And she is my classmate.
We end up working as partners in a group project.
“How are you?” I ask her, “How do you spend your days?”
“My children’s school is still closed,” she tells me, “So I am homeschooling them.”
Running a school by day and attending one at night. I am surprised at her packed schedule. Her life sounds exhausting to me, yet she always comes with a big smile, ready to participate.
She explains to me how she runs her little school. She wakes the children up at 7 am and makes sure they get in their piano practice before anything else.
“This gets them in the zone,” she says, “so they can breeze through other subjects.”
She then serves them a small breakfast.
“If they eat a big breakfast, they want to go back to sleep. So, I make sure the children start small. They are then motivated to work through the first two lessons and get a big breakfast.”
After their big breakfast, there are two more subjects. She keeps an eye on them while they work. She wants to make sure they don’t Google the answers. Then lunch and another two subjects and finally dinner—all of which she prepares.
While the kids have their dinner, she checks their answers. She then logs in their hours and sends the assignments back to their school.
“Otherwise, social security will end up at my door!” she laughs.
If she sees them struggling in an area, she takes the time to learn it herself and then tutors them during the weekends.
After their dinner, she can finally be a student herself. Occasionally the children enter the room, and she gently guides them out.
“Please,” she tells them, “I can’t hear anything when you’re making so much noise.”
She then picks up where she left off.
She is a woman capable of wearing many hats. And we all know she is not the only one. Schools are closed with the pandemic, daycare centers are closed, nannies are unavailable, and so many women are wearing many hats.
COVID-19 is another crisis where women have risen to the occasion and filled the multiple roles expected of them. I think about women during wars who have stepped in to fill the men’s jobs. I think about women who have led resistance movements. I think about the women getting us through the pandemic—the forgotten heroes who have not made it into our history books. I wonder if we’ll remember this time when the pandemic eventually ends, and we are back to our “normal” lives in whatever shape that might be.
I wonder if we’ll remember these women of many hats.