Here we go again…
The thought of homeschooling again makes me feel ill. The ding of an update on the school app triggers an unpleasant flashback to the first lockdown: My daughters fringe is crooked, her eyes red from crying and her little chin rests permanently on my shoulder as I attempt to type. Her high-pitched whine is like a constant stream of white noise from a broken radio.
This memory is not mine alone. Most parents will be able to recall a similar dreaded scene after a botched hair cut and a meltdown over schoolwork. Or maybe you thrived. If you were one of those people that captioned ‘Lockdown suits us!’ on your posts while the rest of us zombied from bedroom to kitchen, stuffing our children with snacks to shut them up, then please, stop reading; The following is not for you. However, if you are dreading the next month, please join me in making a list of things you won’t be bothering with this time around, as a seasoned parent in lockdown.
Take homeschooling too seriously
My attempt as a Junior Infant teacher honestly did more damage than good. We fought often. There were many tears – my 6-year-old cried a bit too.
I think its safe to say that this part of our lives is well and truly over and won’t be missed. Zoom quizzes always go one of two ways:
1. Your big loud family or equally loud (and tipsy) friend group becomes incoherent, someone starts messing and the whole thing falls apart.
2. Your awkward work team or book club insists on having another 'catch up', you smile and fib about how well you are doing, the Wifi fails and the whole thing falls apart.
Send updates via the school WhatsApp group
Us loving parents did not intend to make anyone feel inadequate. However, I began to dread the cute updates that were sent into the group because my daughter began refusing to do any of her own. The last straw was me pleading with her to say happy birthday to a kid, only to record her first rant in colourful language instead. We never tried again but I kept the video.
I stupidly allowed my daughter to adopt some ‘pets’ during lockdown in March. Our garden was a hive of worm families, caterpillar gangs, crabs and even a few tadpoles from a nearby drain. All of them died (though I suspect the crabs were on the way to crab heaven when we caught them). Never again.
March was a bleak yet colourful month. There was playdough in every crevice of the home. I love seeing my baby be creative but when the soft stuff becomes hard, cracked and dirty it goes from art to rubbish very quickly.
As a mum, I will not be alone in admitting that I lost myself for a while, somewhere between March and May of 2020. I turned into a robot, allowing myself to fade away and simply go through the motions each day. This time around, I am resolved to look after myself.