Coping as a single parent during COVID-19
I keep saying it and I won't stop now, but we are living in unprecedented times, in fact we are living out history, history in the making. Our daily lives are changing literally everyday, we have a lack of stability, we are anxious, we are tired, we are trying to balance work and children and we are frightened. We might start the day one way but we certainly end it in another.
Schools are closed, mandated work from home orders, shelter in place, redundancies, furloughs and people ripping toilet paper out of each other’s hands and stockpiling food from supermarkets… we have seen and heard it all. To top it all off, we are absorbing all of these things, unconsciously and consciously.
So how are we going to cope??
Well first of all, let's tackle the dirty word of #homeschooling. I can tell you now, I'm not buying into this. I mean... we're supposed to concentrate on our normal day jobs but also somehow miraculously teach our children too?! I'm not a teacher.. but like you I also don't want my children sat in front of the television all day or their PS4! So my tip here is loading up on learning websites, board games, books, arts, and craft projects and all the above that will keep them busy while you try ever so hard to get some work done too. Only manage
what you can.
What will they remember?
Remember though, you are not in your normal work setting. It will be hard, so please don't be hard on yourself and please don't set any goals. Just getting through the day is a big enough goal as it is during these times ! You are doing the best you can. The one thing I find valuable about what we can teach our children during this pandemic is our #reaction. How we deal with a crisis situation, our children will learn from us in this way. They will not remember the Maths, English or Science homework we made them do, but they will remember how they felt and what it was like being together at this time, this should be your only goal.
Working from home? What does that look like with kids?
For those of us that are lucky enough to be able to work from home, so many issues ! So do I get dressed? Stay in pyjamas? I mean who will know right? Well the thing is if you are visible and I'm talking conference calls here, I wouldn't want my boss or my colleagues to see what I look like when I've just got out of bed and quite frankly I don't want to see them either. One thing I have learnt is you may need to bribe sorry I mean tell your children that you are on a work call. Nothing worse that talking about a serious work issue to then have your preteen ask you when you are going to feed them next or that they've run out of underwear so please could you put a wash on.
At this time, I don't think we need to worry about this. I mean look in normal times yes absolutely this sort of thing you need to handle but during COVID 19 times.. quite frankly the fact that you can even take a conference call is a miracle in itself. Don't forget to communicate if you are finding managing work hard and ask your work colleagues for help. You are in a very pressured situation or managing your children on your own. You can only do so much.
So if being a single parent wasn't hard enough, I've now got to do all this within the confines of my home?? I can't even see my friends, go out or arrange for a babysitter so that I can have some "me time". The reality is yes, this is hard so very hard and if you are in isolation, and certainly now with lockdown, you are not going to be able to get any physical help. However, there are way of keeping in touch with friends and family and this is the time to embrace the technology that we so often want our children to step away from. You name it, use it, I am talking FaceTime, Zoom, Whats App and all of this with the obligatory glass of wine. A few girlfriends and I had a great session last week, each with our own glasses of Gave and a few nibbles and to be honest just being able to chat with them and have a laugh was therapy enough. With this kinds of boost, it allows you to handle the next day of not so solitary confinement.
Over and Out
The main message I want to put out here is that I know that you feel alone and unsupported and though I'm chucking a load of tips at you to help you, really want you want is for someone to come round and actually "help" you. All I can do for now is say, you've got this, you are doing so well, and your child/children are so lucky because you are taking every day, moving forward and being there for them. This they will remember for the rest of their lives.