Picking Your Battles

Pink boxing gloves

This lockdown seems so much harder than the first, for many reasons. The weather for a start, there’s many fewer opportunities to chuck the kids outside or go for a walk. Plus it feels like we have lost the sense of community we had this time last year.

And the homeschooling has really ratcheted up a notch. There’s no more ‘colour in this worksheet’ or ‘find as many flowers as you can’. It’s all deadlines and video lessons and following the curriculum, with strongly worded letters every week to remind you just how much you need to be fitting in amongst working your socks off.

Practically every parent (and non-parent) I have spoken to is struggling. There’s so much more expectation if you’re homeschooling, and if you’re fortunate enough to send your kids into school, there’s a whole host of guilt to deal with.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media, including ones initiated by teaching staff, urging parents to go easy on themselves or lower their expectations. But if you’re like me, the prospect of doing that is just as bad as trying to cope every day.

To me, that brings with it a whole host of unwelcome feelings – if I let go for a day, am I going to lose control completely? Will I be failing my children by not trying to be super mum?

So I’ve found my own compromises, the battles that I will fight and those I will surrender on. It’s working for us as a family, some times better than others, and I’m conscious that we need to keep adapting.

Like focusing on the key subjects for my Reception aged daughter, and sitting with her when I’ve finished work to go through video lessons. We just don’t have the capacity (or enough laptops) to be logging on to six different websites every day, and that’s OK. We’ve found her some apps to play that are secretly educational, so at least that gets her off YouTube!

Equally with my son, we’ve set boundaries on playing computer games, so he knows that he needs to complete his school tasks first. It might take all day, but we’re getting to the place where he knows what he needs to do.

From my point of view, I now have headphones in when I’m working. Both so I’m not distracted but also so that I’m not listening and interfering with my (long suffering) husband’s home schooling. I make sure I take a good break at lunchtime, so that I can spend some time with them, and hubby gets a break!

So my message is, find the battles to fight that works for you as a family. Do what you feel is right for you and your kids. If that’s sitting down and getting all the schoolwork done in the morning, go for it, or if you do it all in the evening, that’s fine too.

Do what you need to do to get through the next few weeks and months with the least stress possible.

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

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