Guest article by Felicity Allan
Iso mums… I see you. I hear you. I feel your pain. We are all in this together!
We’ve all heard that a thousand times in the past few weeks, but are we REALLY all in this together? Let’s prove it… I am about to share my deepest, darkest moments of a working mum in isolation. Well, I WAS working, until COVID-19 stole my beloved job from me last week, but I digress.
Still, I am stuck here at home with the kidlets causing havoc. We are on week 3…. yep, I was “that mum” who freaked out when I saw the writing on the wall, and immediately withdrew my kids from school, thinking the government was only days away from making the decision for me. Here we are 3 weeks later, and it’s finally come to fruition.
So for all you mums that are now in the same boat as me, let’s paddle through this together. Here is what I’ve learnt over the past few weeks.
1/ YOU ARE NOT A QUALIFIED TEACHER (unless you are actually a qualified teacher, in which case PRAISE BE, YOU MAGICAL UNICORN, WE ARE FOREVER IN YOUR DEBT!) For the rest of us, let’s try not to put too much pressure on the “home schooling”. Our kids will remember the fun we had, long after algebra has ceased to be necessary for them (I haven’t had a need for an algebraic formula since I was in secondary school, so it’s probably not critical for our 7 year olds to be exhibiting signs of algebraic genius at this point)
2/ You cannot control the uncontrollable. The situation is changing daily so we have to stop planning ahead and just try our best to live in the moment. That moment could be watching your kids play happily in the backyard and realising they actually are lovely friends – or it could be negotiating them through an argument that looks like it’s turning into World War 3. It could be taking a walk around the neighbourhood to spot bears on a bear hunt (have you joined this activity yet? If you haven’t, get all over it!) Or it could be letting the kids watch a movie so you can have some time to yourself to find your own sanity again.
3/ OMG kids make so much mess when they are home all day! Grrrrrrrr – I am a clean freak so this drives me mental. My advice? Try to let go of it and just leave it messy until the very end of the day. Then clean up once and feel good about it. Tomorrow it will be messy again. That’s kids for ya. We have to learn to live with their crazy mess of forts, finger paint and disgusting mud kitchens, because that’s when the real learning happens — for them and us!
4/ How many snacks can one 20kg child eat in a day? A LOT! I spent our entire first week at home being a full time “Snack Chef” (not my usual occupation). I have decided now, instead, to make a lunchbox the same as what they would have at school, and if they want anything else they can choose a piece of fruit or some crackers any time to keep them going. Why do they need more food at home than they do at school? UNLESS THEY HAVE WORMS? OMG HAVE THEY GOT WORMS? This could be worse than the ‘rona, ladies.
5/ Get good at sending your kids off to “research” their projects. This will give you some time to get your own work done if you’re working from home. If not, it’s a good chance to check your socials and see what other mums are doing in iso.
Mums… I hope you find this helpful. Hang in there. I’m no expert, but I know we’re all just doing the best we can. Be kind, and reach out to another mum for a virtual wine time if you get a spare five minutes. Most mums will welcome it wholeheartedly right now.
Love, Flic x