Released On 23rd Apr 2020
Addy's blog: Somewhere over the rainbow.
Things were starting to go better in 2020, my mum is home and stable, my brother’s chemo was underway and he was doing ok on it, and I had my surgery at the end of February to remove the last of my tumour. Then suddenly the world changed, we are all locked indoors, eating and drinking too much (if you can get a delivery slot) and getting on each other’s nerves. You can’t buy flour (any type) for love nor money and I’ve given up counting how many times I’ve had to say “because of the virus” to explain why we can’t do something.
Then home schooling started, which seemed to spur on parental competitiveness that comes with any form of social media scrolling, which left another mum friend (from a different school) getting so overwhelmed by twitter posts from her head teacher she had to turn off notifications. At one point I had three of us lined up on the dining room table, me on my laptop, DD on geriatric iPad doing colouring-in and jigsaws, and DS on humongous old laptop doing reading and maths games set by school. It was blissfully peaceful for about 5 minutes! Home-schooling and working from home meant juggling Joe Wicks with conference calls, competing zoom meetings in the same office space (hubbys desk is next to mine) and having to manage three calendars simultaneously (mine, hubbys and schools) – but we got there eventually. Although both kids want to do the same thing at the same time (only a school year apart) but it’s either too difficult for her or too easy for him, which usually results in someone shouting “that’s not fair” - so I gave up. If one class teacher said make an Easter hat and the other said an Easter card, whoever posted it first won and they both did that activity.
We’ve also been creative and made a lot of our own “lessons” as the stuff from school only really occupies the mornings (after cajoling them to do Joe of course). So they have “learnt” to spray and wipe the table (personal cleanliness), sort the washing out into their own clothes and then match up pjs and socks etc (pattern recognition and self-reliance), bake bread/flapjacks/cupcakes/Easter nests etc (English/maths and science all covered and you get to eat the results) and all being recorded and posted on tapestry as examples of learning. We’ve also played a lot of snakes and ladders (probability), learnt how to play drafts (tactics), marvelled at how long you can “pop” the dice in Frustration and not get a 6 for a whole game (gamesmanship) and decimated our stack of shopping list/pigs in pants/magic maths and any other board games that come to hand. During all of this I’ve realised that my kids only really have a 30-minute attention span for anything, so I am breaking up the day like that, with exercise, learning, craft and free play sections. It seems to work most of the time and they seem happy, and not shouting at each other - or me at them.
Now I’m incredibly lucky (?!) to have been made redundant a few weeks ago, right before school holidays as I can now fully concentrate on the kids, and I now don’t have the incredibly difficult task of having to work and home-school my minions at the same time. Hubby is a one-man IT band at his place, so can’t step away very easily, but is helping out where he can. I honestly take my hat off to any dual working couples with children right now, you should be proud of whatever you are achieving. Please try to remember we are not WFH, we are at home during a global crisis, attempting to work remotely, whilst looking after our small people.
Generally, I’ve had to rebaseline my expectations - a good day in our house is that we are all fed, watered, in bed at a reasonable time, have achieved one thing off our to do or learning list and we haven’t had too many tantrums (adults included). It’s a marathon not a sprint and we all need to pace ourselves and forgive ourselves for all the things we do in the name of sanity, be that too much TV, wine too early in the day, or the constant raiding of the fridge or biscuit tin.
Taking an exercise walk with my kids and seeing the rainbows in the windows or driveways made me think of the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and think this time won’t last forever, so let’s embrace it and build some happy memories for our kids whilst they have this unconventional time with us.
Addy normally works in Risk & Compliance in the city, has a 5-year-old trainee F1 driver, a 3-year-old aspiring space doctor, a lovely hands on husband and two mad rescue cats.