“How on earth am I supposed to do my job, stay on top of the house, care for my child and now teach them as well? Never mind trying to eat well, exercise and find time for myself?”
Sound familiar? No matter what home looks like for you right now, there is no magic formula for getting through this period. It feels overwhelming. It is overwhelming.
In our house my husband is working full time, I work part-time and we have two boys aged 8 and 10 doing home learning. We definitely don’t have this cracked, and my starting point has been to lower my expectations of what we can all do. I know that doesn’t sound pro-active or particularly helpful, but what it does do is remove some of the guilt, stress and the number of things we argue about.
I’d love to tell you that we have a chart on the wall with times for each subject, who works where, which adult is responsible and that we always start the day with a Joe Wicks video.
We don’t. There are days we wake up tired, days we’re grumpy and argumentative and days where our brains just won’t do what we’re asking them to. Work meetings are scheduled just as we’re starting to make headway on a piece of work or suddenly a big fight breaks out between kids over who gets the laptop next.
I recognise that every home is different and we will all find different things helpful. I personally don’t have a schedule, but we do have a checklist of things that need to get done throughout the day. It really doesn’t matter when. But my colleague and her children work well with a schedule, to help them know what to do and when.
It’s all about kindness and flexibility
The biggest thing to remember is to be kind to yourself, and that flexibility is key in this ever-changing season. Be honest with your employer when things are challenging and work together to find creative solutions. It’s OK to find this season hard, but try to journey through the ups and downs together as a family.
Talking to other parents also helps us to see that we’re all finding this challenging in different ways. Share what’s working for you, and move on from what doesn’t work. There are no rules here, just kindness and flexibility. Take it one day at a time and remember that loving and caring for our children is the one thing they absolutely need and which no-one else can do.
We find it helpful to remember that we’re parents first and employees second. Unless you’re trained as a teacher, none of us are professional educators, so remember to give yourself grace – you’re doing the best you can in this challenging season.
(And it doesn’t matter if the house doesn’t get properly cleaned until March!)