Last Friday, when schools in the UK closed their doors I felt emotional and nervous. I'm a mother to a six-year-old and stepmum to two teens. Lots of questions were racing through my mind. How was I going to keep them motivated to do the school work they'd be given each week? How was I going to keep them physically and mentally healthy when we went into lockdown? How was I going to work with everyone in the house? Would we have enough food?
And now, as the first week of homeschooling and remote work is drawing to a close, I know it's going to be okay. I've made a pact with myself that I am not going to stress or worry about maintaining a pace or try to engage in the endless amount of online activities that organisations have kindly offered up. My six-year-old will read, count, and write every day. Anything else is a bonus.
I'm lucky that I work for a business that operates remotely every day. It's a huge relief that I can carry on working when so many are suffering financially. In our 'tribe' we're all finding our feet in this new normal as many others are. If your team has been thrust into remote work, there's a huge learning curve. I've been so uplifted and encouraged with stories of children joining video calls. Working from home is one thing, working from home with children is entirely another story.
I tell my daughter all the time that she must be kind to herself, so I'm going to be kind to myself and take the pressure off. A good friend said to me recently, "No one is grading you on this assignment." Hear that working parents? Don't put yourself under additional pressure and stress to create a Pinterest-worthy homeschool experience. Children have an incredible capacity to learn. Please don't think your child is doomed for a lifetime of underachievement or unrealised potential.
The world has slowed down and so will we. In our family, we're going to spend as much time as possible in our garden, we're going to bake, we're going to paint, play and enjoy this time as best we can.
The might be the most important thing to keep in mind—don’t beat yourself up when things are not going perfectly in your household. On top of everything else, being upset with yourself is totally counterproductive. If the kids watch too much Netflix or play too many hours of video games, it’s not the end of the world. Things are going to be hairy for a while, and if you can’t stick to your schedule or can’t fit in your at-home workout every day, it’s really not such a big deal in the long run. It’s much more valuable to everyone to cut yourself some slack, use the time to reflect on the important things, and try to keep a sense of “we’re all in this together” at the forefront.