Last Thursday my two kids were told to isolate for two weeks due to a dinner lady at their school testing positive for Covid (she is doing ok, which is great news.) She ‘may’ have been in contact with 500 children in the canteen and so nearly the whole school has closed.
When I got the news it was a little overwhelming. I had so many things booked in that require a silent house! My daughter is very laid back and gets on with things on her own, however my high needs, energetic 5 year old son needs almost constant focus and attention.
They both need a computer to do their school work, and I only have one laptop!
I realised that my cupboards were bare, I couldn’t get a delivery and I couldn’t leave the house as I live alone with them.
I felt in a bit of a pickle!
This is the new reality for working parents or carers. Curve balls are just around the corner, and adapting and being creative in solving problems is needed more than ever.
After a few hours, the dust settled, and I started to think logically.
Here’s what I did to find a way through. I’m sharing as you may be or might soon be in a similar situation. We literally are all in this together!
- Cut back to non-negotiables and bare essentials.
I went through my calendar and looked at all the coaching sessions and training workshops I had booked in that would mean I had to deliver them without my kids here. I managed to move some paid work around, bring in colleagues to help, delegate and outsource some stuff and get help from the family I am in a bubble with (whose kids go to the same school.) Everything else has been cancelled so that I can spend time homeschooling and ensuring they don’t fight each other!
- Boundaries and routines are everything
In the last full lockdown I started off well with a routine, but by the end we were all still in our PJs at midday and I had completely lost the plot! So I’ve drawn up a rota for each day with focused time on my work, school, exercise and fun. I need discipline and so do my kids, so I’m going to stick to it this time. (And not beat myself up too much if the Malbec comes out at the end of the day!)
- Seek support!
People are so kind and good. I was able to ask a family member to do an essential food drop and secure a delivery slot for me for next week. A lovely friend dropped off some isolation treats on my doorstep, and my bubble family has been incredible. Because we are all affected by this it means we can help each other out, so do ask for help!
- Surrender and enjoy
Rather than seeing the next two weeks as a tricky time of navigating emotions, balancing big commitments and dissolving sibling rivalry all on my own, I’ve decided to just surrender to it. I will never be the Mum who has it all together so their child doesn’t miss a lesson. I’m not some super woman that will start getting up at 4am just so I can fit it all in. Instead I’m going to bring xmas in early, watch films, play games, have fun, drink wine and try to bloody enjoy it!
If you are currently being affected by the pandemic in your work, family or mental health please do reach out. I have found comfort in the fact that we really are navigating these curve balls together. That means that we can support each other.