This past year has felt like a lifetime. It’s been a year full of emotions, reflections and uncertainty. I am a mother of two young boys, and this is my experience of parenting in a pandemic.
Those early days of the pandemic
I remember when the whisperings of Covid-19 began. Life suddenly all changed. Within a week, I went from ‘not thinking about it’ to suddenly having my children sent home from school for the foreseeable future.
I remember crying for days when it first began. I felt frustrated that life was finally good again and it was being ripped away. Not only was I having to navigate my own feelings with this, but I was having to explain to my children what was happening. I had to be brave for them.
For their sake, I tried to seek the good in each day. The weather during the first lockdown helped. Although we were home schooling, we were also doing fun springtime activities. Baking, playing with science kits and getting out into the warm weather. Zooms were a life jacket. It was almost quite novel for a while.
As the weeks went on, it was easy to forget normal life. We were in our own bubble, enjoying the sunshine and taking it easy with home schooling.
A summer of fun
I remember having quite a lovely summer as we had a thirst for life and were lapping up every second with friends and family we got. There was almost a heavy cloud weighing above though, as we knew it would get tough again.
And so, it did. The winter months were incredibly tough, and Lockdown 3.0 had me feeling almost as bad as I did all those years ago. It could easily be Groundhog Day, so I am entirely thankful for work and home schooling to give me some sort of routine. I try and keep a routine for my boys too, as I think it’s really important. We’ve implemented ‘Movie nights’ on weekends, park on a Friday afternoon and usual bedtime routines.
Home schooling hell
I am so incredibly grateful for teachers. My children do not listen to me like they would a teacher, they also get very frustrated. In turn, I get frustrated. This second round of home schooling has been harder, as they’ve been set at least 4-5 hours of learning a day that HAS to be done. I understand why, but it has been very challenging juggling that alongside work.
As the weeks went on, my children became more and more irritated. I am so thankful for their return to school yet again. It gives them the stimulation, attention and socialisation that they need in life.
Their mental health
Initially, I thought my children had been so resilient. It was almost as if the pandemic hadn’t touched their mental health and wellbeing.
However, this last lockdown has really affected them. My eldest has picked up anxious traits, asking a lot of questions every night and not sleeping well. Perhaps this is because the pandemic is too big to handle, so he is deferring those worries onto smaller things. Whilst my youngest is frustrated. He is always cross at the moment and has developed quite an attitude.
Home schooling hasn’t been fun, and we haven’t had quality family time since Christmas. In fact, I feel guilty most of the time as I am tucked away working whenever they’re not home schooling. On the weekends I am catching up with work I haven’t been able to do in the week. I feel huge guilt that I haven’t been the parent they need. They’ve not been given the time, attention or stimulation that they require.
All of our mental health this time has suffered. BIG time.
A greater appreciation for everything
I have tried my best during this past year of uncertainty to be strong for my children. I have tried to provide them with a safe space, when the world is so uncertain right now.
It’s been tough. Parenting without your family and friends being able to come over and help out or babysit for you. My children are fed up now, so am I. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel now, there are brighter, warmer days on the way.
It has left me, and hopefully my boys, with a greater appreciation for life and everything in it. From roasts round my parents, to being able to go to a zoo. I feel bad that they missed out on so much… I feel guilty that they’ve just had to go along with everything, without even understanding it.
But I feel determined to live our life to the full. As soon as we can.
Huge thanks to our blogger…
Our guest blogger this week is Gayleen Hodson, and you can find out more about her here.
If you need help with your child, or perhaps they need help themselves – Dorset Mind Your Head can help. Our website for young people, parents and teachers has plenty of resources and shared written experience. Follow this link to find out more.