a teen girl in bed with her laptop


My Kid Has Been Attending School In Bed

May 17, 2021

It’s the usual morning hustle.

I fly out of bed, coffee in hand, and stumble three feet to my overflowing dirty laundry that’s trying to escape the hamper. I cram it all back in and clear away all personal effects that scream BEDROOM and tilt my laptop to reveal the one semi-tidy sliver of my work/sleep/meet zone.

I wriggle into my office shirt and yoga pants, and storm my daughter’s room to warn her that I’m about to go into a meeting, so please don’t interrupt. I find her stretched out under her fluffy covers, staring at her phone as she looks up to tell me I’m interrupting her in the middle of a geography test! 

My daughter is attending Grade 9 in bed. I don’t know if I should be worried or annoyed or jealous.

Since everyone has been home, this mom has her alone time in an unsuspecting place: the drive-thru. Read why she's treasuring her local Tim Hortons more than ever here.

During my Zoom meeting, I confide in a colleague about my daughter’s bed-meets-school situation. She tells me she thinks it sounds like the ultimate teen fantasy. To not have to get out of bed for anything, not even a test.

Sometimes it feels more like a nightmare.

"She insists she just can’t sit and stare at her computer any longer. She says she gets more out of the experience if she can just relax and listen."

For her dance class, I thought I’d finally see her rise up from her berth and get vertical so she could actually get down. But, sadly, she’s been performing all the choreography in recline from her comforter.

On social media, I can’t help but be drawn in by all these images of other people’s kids at home looking so professional at their Ikea workstations. They resemble tiny CEOs making and breaking deals all before snack time. I marvel at how their parents manage to get their children to sit at a desk and focus on the screen. I wonder, is my kid the only one who insists on being horizontal for virtual school?

Apparently not.

I do an informal poll of other parents of teens. They echo my concerns about kids lying around during class time and not exactly concentrating on the screen. We commiserate about them developing poor posture, rarely getting dressed and zoning out on YouTube during class. I catch a glimpse of a couple local teens wandering the neighbourhood in Hello Kitty pyjama bottoms out my window. They look like The Walking Dead, but instead of brains, they’re in pursuit of candy bars.

I ask my teen, “Why won’t you sit up at a table and pay closer attention to your teacher?” Her eyes roll back into her head. She insists she just can’t sit and stare at her computer any longer. She says she gets more out of the experience if she can just relax and listen.

Have you tried out TikTok? This mom has been making her own videos — read why she's found it to be a form of therapy during the pandemic here.

Just when I’ve about had it with her scholastic slumber, I come by a New York Times piece that cites how many of us are labouring from our mattresses these days. It turns out it might not be such a bad thing.

"I think students, teachers and parents are running on fumes as we lurch closer to the end of a very strange and disruptive school year."

According to the article, many successful people have accomplished a whole lot of great things while working from their beds. Artist Frida Kahlo painted some of her greatest works under the sheets; Winston Churchill crafted critical communications during World War II between the covers. Truman Capote is said to have had his best ideas while in repose.

Thankfully, my daughter is somehow doing well in school, so I’ve given up trying to get her to change. And miraculously, as soon as class is over, she ascends and is happy to re-engage with life.

I think students, teachers and parents are running on fumes as we lurch closer to the end of a very strange and disruptive school year. We made it. I think it is OK to give ourselves a little break.

And full disclosure: I’m not writing this article while sitting at an organized desk, seated in an ergonomic office chair. I’m like many of us. I am working while propped up by my plump pillows, under my cozy covers.

And while I may have had my reservations, frankly I like it this way. 

Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Read more from Laura here.

Laura Mullin is a published playwright and writer and the Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning company, Expect Theatre. She is also the Co-Host and Producer of PlayME, a podcast that transforms plays into audio dramas now on CBC. She has worked in theatre, film, and television and lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and pre-teen daughter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

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