Jeez – This is Tough!!

Life is tough just now isn’t it? As a working-from-home support worker, therapist, home schooling, home making parent; My attempts to get that fine balance between being a good and involved parent, keeping on top of my work and getting all the jobs around the house done, is what life has become.

And to be honest it feels like I suck at it all!

Despite trying to find the correct format, it seems time just keeps rolling on, day in, day out and I have no way of keeping track. So maybe more of a full on charge rather than a roll…

Every Friday I have my eagerly anticipated visit to Tesco to do the weekly shop for our household, and my in laws, and Friday seems to be coming round quicker and quicker as the weeks go on. Yet the work tasks I am desperately wanting to get around to, seem so impossible to complete, that I have totally lost track of why I wanted to take the task on in the first place. Throw in some continual whining about the Wi-Fi in our house and I am almost at the end of my tether!

All the school days seem really hard, especially when you feel out of the equation when it comes to what we as parents are supposed to do. On one hand there is expectation of tasks to be completed, and another view is we are not home schoolers and there is no appetite for us to replace school. I have my 11 yo P7 daughter still working at 5pm getting all her tasks done and my 14yo 3rd year lad finishing everything within the hour and looking at me to provide the next 2 hours tasks. And I have 4 more skype meetings and 2 clients to see before the day ends.

That’s it… I had better open that other packet of chocolate covered malted milk biscuits….. 6th packet this week!

Working from home was never meant to be like this! It was meant to be simple, lovely and stress free. With workspaces in the garden on a beautiful sunny day, freshly brewed coffee on tap, and everything just working wonderfully, and everyone getting on. The smell of fresh cut grass and the faint sound of honeys bees in the air. Harmony throughout the household as we all played our part in the daily running of the house, and…and…and…oh shit…

Who am I kidding!

I wish….

A recent study by the networking site LinkedIn, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, found that 56 per cent of 2,000 adults surveyed said their mental health had deteriorated since lockdown began on 23 March.  And the poll also revealed that on average, we have been working 28 hours of overtime per month – the equivalent of four extra days.  Not only that many of us are suffering from sore necks and backs because our dining tables are smaller than our desks at work, and we don’t have enough books to prop the laptops up on!  The kids are moaning about getting bloody beans on toast for lunch again, and yep you guessed it, the Wifi is playing up.  When is this going to end?

I believe there are three huge things we need to consider:

  1. I am not home-schooling, and I am not a teacher.  I am doing my best to help my kids learn at home during a crisis.
  2. I am not “working from home.” I am doing my best to work at home during a crisis, and as such I cannot expect to manage my workload in the same way as I used to..
  3. I cannot be as productive as normal because these are not normal times. So every morning I have to tell myself I will focus on what I can accomplish in just the next 18 hours and let go of what I cannot accomplish right now.  At bedtime I cannot focus on what I haven’t done but focus on what I managed to achieve.

The things is many of us – I have found out through conversations – don’t want this to end.  Our kids are less stressed, they don’t feel so pressured to look, act, be anything other than how they are, which is healthy.  We are spending more time with our kids, even if it is snatched between Zoom meetings, and we have found a life less privileged is actually ok.  We do not need to go out for tea every week, we don’t need to seek consumerism fuelled entertainment all the time, we can find ways to amuse ourselves and we can find connection in our families.  And I think that it is ok if our schedule does not go to plan every day. Every day is an opportunity to fine-tune what is working and tidy up what is not.

My job as a parent is not to recreate an eight-hour school day. It’s also not to try and compete with the wondrous marvels that fill up my social feeds of how everyone else is doing it so right!

My job is to help my kids feel safe and do their best with the distance learning plan the teachers have provided – even though that might only be a 30 minute task…. (that was typed through gritted teeth)

Out on a litter pick with my Daughter

Set aside my employment, I suppose my job at home has not changed that much since lockdown – it’s about trying my best to provide a safe place for my kids to live, learn and play. 

I just have to remember that I don’t need to take all that responsibility on my own – my whole family does! I just think its still going to still be tough for a wee while yet!

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