I have had a break from writing this blog for a few weeks – after all, nothing had really changed apart from the weather. Our attempts at home schooling went down the pan and everyone lost any initial enthusiasm for arty creative sciency projects, baking, gardening and even Grandpa’s version of Joe Wicks exercise classes. Screens of various sizes have turned my children into zombies and “quality time” is something we have started to take for granted. Days have turned into weeks and then months, and I have found myself spending all the time keeping on top of the demands of work, feeding (I am so sick of cooking!), washing, cleaning, sourcing food, entertaining….
Then came the call from The Outside World – my husband was to return to work in just three days’ time! All the worries I had shoved to the back of my mind came flooding back: What was the risk of him catching Covid 19? How would we keep ourselves safe? How would I manage work without him around? How would I entertain two children with very different needs? At the same time though, I was pleased for him. We have completed a lot of DIY/garden jobs in the past three months and now without a focus, he was finding life a bit aimless. He needed to get back to the structure of a working week.
Luckily for me, I was given school places for both children. My son is in school Mon – Wed and my daughter Thurs/Fri till the end of term. They both desperately needed everything that school provides: the structure and routine, the social interaction, some teaching by teachers they prefer to the dud supply teacher they had at homeschool. Whilst it is still a juggling act to get everything done, it is lovely to be able to spend 1-1 time with each child. One day a week I do a long day of work whilst my husband holds the fort. The weather is still good so we can spend lots of time outdoors and have all the windows open. After taking one child to school, the other child and I walk our new puppy and get some exercise. Then we do an hour or two of school type work.
We are cautiously seeing some select friends again – outdoors and observing social distancing. The difference in the children for being able to see their peers is remarkable. I think the lack of socialising has probably had the biggest impact on them over anything else. I feel in some ways relieved that the responsibility of educating my children does not now lie solely with me. It is also nice to know that they are being mentally stimulated some of the week. I trust that both schools have micromanaged their risk assessments and hygiene protocol. The risk of the children catching the virus is outweighed by the benefits of resuming some normality. I know we are fortunate that Esme is physically robust and in good general health and therefore the decision for her to stop shielding was not so difficult as it would be for some of our friends.
For now, things seem a little more organised. Just time to get used to it before the schools break up for the summer when we will have to change things again! And as for September – who knows?