Lockdown Homeschooling – Anonymous

Primrose Hill Short Story Entry

Do you know the many hilarious memes of singles in lock down who are getting so bored they bake their own sourdough from scratch, invent the new google or start a charity -all whilst wearing a gala dinner dress including full hair & make up and singing opera arias?
Yes, that’s not me.

I cant remember the last time I was bored. I cant remember the last time I had nothing to do. I have a long list of things to do that only keeps on getting longer and I am seriously stressed non-stop.

Do I have a demanding job running the intensive care unit? Am I master of the boardroom?
No. I am ‘just’ a stay-at-home mum-of-three…
I don’t mean to complain because I know ‘the grass is always greener’… but I do think it might be interesting to some to get a glimpse into my life in this lockdown situation -especially with the addition of home schooling demands.

Last night I -very obviously- shocked a childless friend exclaiming during a zoom call that what I look forward most is being alone. Hard to fathom for anyone else I guess. I haven’t even been to the loo on my own in over 12 weeks now. Everyone is always hungry (including myself).
‘Muuuuuum!’ ‘I’m hungry!’ ‘Can we have a snack’ ‘What’s for lunch?’
I haven’t used my own desktop for myself in ever since this home schooling madness started. I am running back and forth between two rooms, kids and devices like a mad womanwith the addition of a mental toddler thrown in for good measure and just to make sure that
I totally lose the plot every – single – day.

‘Darling – please remember to press the unmute button so I can hear you!’ is probably the sentence I overhear the most every day as my almost 5 year old daughter is struggling in her online reception class from our kitchen table. (Dont be mistaken though -I also overhear a lot of other household’s shouting, screaming and cursing…!)
And it’s not just live classes, it’s the many tasks, challenges, competitions etc in between!

‘Ask at least 20 people a multiple choice question, make a pictogram of all the answers and write a solution.’ In Year 2!
‘Make a picture of your dream bedroom in water colours’ – reception.
Getting up far too early (usually 6am thanks to our 1yo) doesn’t help my mood, patience nor how the day proceeds generally. I have lost complete track of what day of the week it is or even which month. All that matters is what time it is and who has to log in where next.

Getting all three kids dressed and teeth brushed (occasionally even get the chance to have a shower and make myself look remotely decent myself), making breakfast, making sure everyone eats breakfast. Ie feeding baby and reminding/warning/threatening the other two.
Making coffee for hubby and myself (it got so much stronger over the years!)
Writing the two school childrens’ daily schedule on a big fridge board.
Getting them started on the first exercises left over from the day before.
Tidying everything away and washing up. Writing down the girls’ schedule of the day, stick it on the fridge and going through it to make sure everyone’s on the same boat.
Finishing all work we didn’t cover the day before, sending in completed works and checking emails from school. Brushing and doing up the girls’ hair.
Getting both girls’ work places set up ie starting up my desk top and the family’s well over a decade old computer. Keeping the baby/toddler entertained and alive through all this.
Making sure the girls correctly log into their live classes and don’t have any problems with the mouse, sound system, wifi, etc
Putting laundry into the washing machine, opening windows, making beds, giving bathroom and toilet a half-hearted quick wipe. Picking up clothes from the floor, tidying up baby toys, folding and storing away dried washing.
Checking the girls each followed their classes and understood everything. Starting them on tasks and preparations. Playing with the toddler and starting to prepare lunch. Getting one or both girls on their next live class and/or exercises. Helping them with questions etc.
Getting baby down for his nap. Getting lunch started. Tidying up, sweeping floors, hoovering. Getting the wash out and hanging it up.
Serving lunch. Kids to get dad from his home office. Lunch. Tidy up, washing up.
Storing leftovers away and having parts ready for baby’s lunch. Baby wakes up – feeding him his lunch. Making sure the girls finish their tasks ie watching and following fitness videos art instructions, music theories etc. Logging in kids for their afternoon live classes, registrations
and form time. Completing as many of their outstanding tasks as seems feasible (they are exhausted!) Giving them a break ie let them watch something or read/draw/play. Dusting, hanging up wash, preparing dinner, tidying up again, etc
Let me be honest: this doesn’t include a lot of warning, shouting, etc going on. Multiple snack times. Melt downs. Tantrums. Tears. Toddler randomly painting the whole kitchen with marker whilst finally everything seemed working well and being wonderfully quiet…
Arguments with my husband over his stress and deeply annoying ‘whats the problem’ attitude (he is basically in his home office 7am to 7pm), me having the occasional glass of wine etc etc.

So in summary: I would love to be alone for a moment. To not be so responsible.
But let me make clear too that I absolutely love my children, am very grateful for our health and am thinking every day of everyone in very different situations: all alone, with no family, partner, food, distractions, comfort, etc. So I am sending absolutely exhausted virtual hugs to everyone struggling out there. Hang in there! You are loved!

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