This whole thing is a learning process for us all isn’t it? How to juggle the working and childcare effectively so you don’t lose the plot. How to strike the balance between being their parent or carer but also teaching them something useful so you don’t feel like they are missing out on their education. Working out how many evenings a week it is acceptable to consume several glasses of wine and a family bag of mini eggs. I certainly don’t have the answers but here are some of my thoughts after week one:
- Plan and schedule by all means but the chances of sticking to it are very slim, as they should be. My golden rule means the kids dictate how the day goes and I plan to keep it that way as long as I can because it means they are happy, and if they are, I am.
- Have stuff prepared. As soon as they are busy playing, the temptation is to crack on with whatever I need to do but instead I quickly get another activity ready first. Then once that is done I then sit down/work/put a wash on etc. If I have another activity ready to go then I maximise the time I get back.
- Joe Wicks does A LOT of squat exercises and if I do them all I will not be able to walk up the stairs by the weekend.
- See how the day ebbs and flows. I’ve realised that my kids seem to lack energy around 2/3pm so that’s when we watch TV. Then around 4pm they get a second wind so we do a five minute game before dinner. Follow the patterns of your own kiddos, and make life easy for yourself with screens when it suits.
- I cannot work full time and be a parent full time. If it were possible nurseries and childminders wouldn’t exist and no-one would need to go part time or rely on grandparents etc. This is HARD. So remind yourself of this, do the best you can and remember it won’t be forever.
- Perhaps I should have used some of the fab online stories or animations to explain about the virus to Flo. I used the word ‘bug’ and now she thinks there is a GIANT BEE flying around that we are all hiding from. Well done Mummy.
- It will get MESSY. Some days I clear as I go, or get the kids involved and other days my house looks like we’ve been burgled by the Tasmanian devil come 5pm. Make peace with it. Tidy with a podcast and a line up a reward for after.
- Two five minute games a day is enough. Learning through play is enough. If my kids feel safe and loved that is enough.
- Adjust and adapt. If you had an idea in your head but it hasn’t worked out shift it around. Kids don’t like online work outs? Then go for a walk instead or play catch in the garden. They don’t want to play toddler pong they want to read, then shift those things around. You can always do toddler pong later, or tomorrow or next week or never. Drop expectations to zero.
- If your WhatsApp and social media is FULL and bombarding you with IDEAS and all the fun/learning everyone else is doing then turn off all notifications, and mute or delete apps. Now is not the time for comparison or feeling guilty. People are sharing this stuff because it makes them feel better, and that’s wonderful, but if it makes you feel shitty then find a way to switch your focus back to you and your family.
- I haven’t even looked at what work school has set yet. I will at some point. But it is NOT urgent. Easing my kids into this the best way for me and them is. If your child loves having school work to do, fantastic. But we all need to do what feels right for us.
- This is all very weird but more than ever I feel a huge sense of gratitude.
There have been moments this week, like when all four of us were doing a few minutes of the Joe Wicks PE lesson together and laughing, or when the kids played in the sandpit for hours, working together as a little team, that I have felt great joy. It occurred to me, that these are moments that we would otherwise have missed out on. There have also been crap bits, when I’ve said “I just need to get away from the word ‘mum’ for five bloody minutes” and slammed a door. But isn’t that just life? The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s all still there. Just confined to our own bubbles.
This week the learning curve (for me) will continue. Our theme is Dragons and (doctor) Princesses because I bought the audio story Zog for our Tonie box. I have written out a rough plan. Set my expectations to zero. Re-stocked my wine and chocolate supplies. I am ready. We are one week closer to this being over gang. Let’s keep on keeping on.
p.s. I also learnt that my bedroom window is too sunny for these candles…