It’s been a while since I posted a blog. I really wanted to, but during the lockdown, my brain was just too full off stuff. Just as it was for many of you – my little monkeys completely sucked me dry! Now the kids are back to school, and I’ve got over the shock of it all. I’m appreciating the uninterrupted time I can spend working, exercising and catching up with friends.
I’m also so grateful to be in New Zealand right now. I’m not sure when I will see my parents, or my brother and his family again (they are in the UK), but I know that they are safe. For us, the lockdown has come to an end. I can breathe a sigh of relief and reflect on the experience.
Here is what it taught me:
Homeschooling isn’t for me
The whole experience was a mindf**k. What was I? A parent, a teacher, a babysitter…? The boys’ first response was to try and turn me into their teacher and do things the way they were doing at school. That didn’t work because they tried to boss me around and argued about who was going to be the ‘star of the day’.
Then I tried giving them worksheets – they did them in two minutes and I couldn’t print things off fast enough. My parents emailed things through, but I didn’t have time to open them. We tried homeschool TV, but they just rolled around complaining about how boring it was. What did work was the ‘homework’ books in the government packs (thank goodness) and the fluid ideas and teaching resources that came from the teachers. We managed about two hours a day in the end – which wasn’t too bad! My boys hated Zoom, so that didn’t happen much BUT they loved learning online with Steps and Education.com. It was much more effective than listening to me!
Parenting solo really does suck
Since my boys were babies, my husband has travelled for work. Not just one day or one week here and there, but he’s away for a few days every week ten months of the year. I’ve had so many exhausting days parenting by myself I’ve accepted it as part of my life, but I’ve always longed for more help. During the lockdown, I really enjoyed parenting as a team. It was great to have help at breakfast, dinner-time and with the kids routine every-day. I’ve loved having more time with my children instead of powering through the daily chores. Many parents are out there doing it by themselves all the time – you are amazing. Don’t forget that!
Too much time with my kids makes me miserable
I love my kids, I really do, but there is a limit to how much time I can spend with them. No parent should have to spend 24-hours a day, 7-days a week with their kids – no matter how much you love your little darlings.
Parenting is emotionally draining. It’s tiring, and even though you are with your own children you can still feel lonely. Days and weeks can feel endless. For the first week of lockdown, I felt my mental health start to spiral downhill. I was grieving my freedom! Once I’d got the kids into a routine, made time for me, and my husband started actively helping me – I could start to pick myself up again. Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
I can let go of the mum guilt
You probably won’t believe this, but we only gave our kids access to a tablet this year! When my kids are on a device they sit like zombies, they do not look away from the screen for a second. I have always worried about how this would affect their eyesight, brains etc. But, when I need to get something done or I want some peace it is incredibly effective. I’ve always felt a little twinge of mum guilt about this. The lockdown helped me let go of this guilt, the kids got to upskill in tech and I have finally given myself more of a break!
Thanks for reading! I hope you got through the lockdown ok and your kids have adapted to being back at school. Please share this blog with your friends. If you haven’t already, you can follow LittleMonkeys on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks and check out my other blogs!