It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we had high hopes for 2021 and then, within 4 days we were all facing another lockdown. The all too familiar words “unprecedented” and “remote learning” quickly returned to our everyday vocabulary and the reality of the impact these words have begun to sink in.
Whether it’s working from home and schooling, working in the office and schooling or being at home and schooling, we are all at it again. There are families having to adapt to all members working from home and somewhere children are in school for their remote learning.
All these scenarios bring their own challenges and emotions and require juggling skills. Good old ‘Mum or Dad guilt’ returns to the forefront of everyday life, where the worry is always whether you are doing enough with or for your child, whether you are homeschooling or if your child is attending school in person.
Worrying is what Mums and Dads do and there seems a lot to be worried about at present.
Expectations can play a huge part on our well-being and ability to cope, and at the moment the goals seem to be constantly changing. What expectations are important and how best can we manage these? If you ask School staff, the expectation is for your child to complete pieces of work to the best of their ability, for children to not feel pressure or stress as a result of their work and for families to be happy.
Schools are aware that we, as parents, are not trained Teachers; even those of us who are Teachers are finding the juggle of homeschooling and actual schooling a challenge. If you ask families, the expectation is that the schoolwork needs to be completed, communication from the school needs to be kept on top of, the children need to be happy and the house needs to run smoothly. Is this achievable? Have you set expectations that are too challenging or unrealistic?
We all need to find a way of getting through the day and celebrating the victories, no matter how small they might seem. What are the victories? Find the small things in the day that have made you smile, that has allowed you to breathe out and take some time to be in that moment. Celebrate when technology has behaved and your child has completed a live lesson when you have made a dinner that everyone eats or just that moment of achievement when you and your child are able to be together.
Acknowledging these successes, no matter how small, is important to support your well-being and outlook. Whilst the days seem to blend in to one and time is constantly passing us by, it is becoming increasingly challenging to be kind to ourselves; find the things every day that affords you some time: reading a chapter of a book, going for a walk, watching your favourite episode of a television programme even if you have seen it a thousand times or even managing to keep up with Joe Wicks for 10 minutes! Limiting the amount of news you watch, the time on social media you spend, and the WhatsApp class groups can also have a positive impact on your well-being. As Parents, we are constantly comparing ourselves and our children to others. It is important to remember that social media forums are usually a ‘rose-tinted’ or ‘filtered’ version of someone’s day and that if you aren’t able to keep up with the cleanliness of ‘Mrs. Hinch’ or the creative schooling ways that others are finding, that is OK.
Taking time for yourself allows you to stop and to enjoy the time. Whilst you may feel that they are selfish acts, they are important; buying yourself time and space can be essential to maintain a good sense of well-being.
Your enough is enough for you and your family.