You often only see the amazing achievements and hear praise for how well people's children are doing. With a full lockdown, it is no different and people have been keen to share their proud moments online. It's great to share how much you're managing to get your children to work through and to upload for their teacher. It's often a hard job; so really well done.
However, I also want to say a much bigger well done to those that are managing to just about get through the day with their children unexpectedly at home full time and especially to those that have been completely honest about how tough things are!
Although we managed some bit sized learning ourselves even last week; it actually took us a few days to get over the initial shock of being forced into this situation. A summer holiday can be tough enough; with several weeks stretched out ahead of you; alone with multiple children. But then it's still easier and nicer to get out and about. Now it's a different story in winter!
I know many people are finding this particular 'lockdown' and restrictions much harder than previously. We know what to expect this time and we've even been warned it will not be over in a couple of weeks. This is when real endurance, strength and resilience are called for.
Most of us ultimately know that we'll be OK and get through this. Obviously if you or a loved one is actually unwell it will be harder and we wish you well for a speedy recovery. Otherwise, it really is a time to dig deep. Find what works for you and just keep going. Some find it helps to retreat and others need to connect with people more virtually.
A lack of childcare is a major issue for many and having to step into a teaching or facilitator role (when you perhaps have many of your own commitments) is challenging. I know I have initially felt that parts of my life are now on hold, priorities have had to adjust and alternative arrangements have had to be made.
If you are finding each day is a mountain to climb, consider some of these that resonate with you:
1. Be proud of yourself for even managing the basics like ensuring everyone is dressed, fed and has something positive to do.
2. If you have a really bad day don't right the whole week off, try again tomorrow to include more learning or simply to have a more positive day.
3.Realise you're only human and can only achieve a certain amount. Manage the expectations of others on your time and output.
4. Remember this is only temporary overall and it will eventually get easier.
5. Embrace the positive opportunities that do arise like unexpected moments and memories with the children and things you wouldn't normally have seen if you were at work and they were at school.
6. If you feel the need to connect with others create a small support group with people you know via WhatsApp, Messenger, Zoom or similar.
7. If you find other people sharing how great things are a bit difficult to take; then perhaps allow yourself to retreat from social media for a while. Being in your own space, with those closest to you can be refreshing and healing. Obviously if you live alone though, you may need to ensure you stay connected in some way for your mental health.
8. If a very structured day or set learning pattern is not working in your family; don't be afraid to do what works for you. Treat it like home schooling, not a normal school day! See what inspires your little people, try some self directed learning and just go with it.
9. If you are experiencing major difficulties in your family (particularly as a lone parent during lockdown), then reach out to an appropriate organisation such as homestart.
10. If you become aware you are actually in crisis then do contact Mind for advice or The Samaritans for immediate support.
Look after yourself and know that you can get through this! - Louise V. Fowler
FOR 24 HOUR SUPPORT PLEASE CALL THE SAMARITANS - CALL 116 123