Since my last Quarantine Diary entry, I’ve been rather busy. We’ve moved house as a family and gone through the rigmarole of enrolling the children in their brand new school and nursery. In Slovenia, schools and nurseries re-opened this week for all ages up to third grade. My eldest son was given an extra week off due to the move. Just as we had everything set for them to go back next week, the government announced that schools were closing again due to rising covid infection rates in certain areas. Sounds just about as chaotic as the situation in my native UK.
Homeschooling and family fun and games
When lockdown 3.0 was announced in the UK, many parents went into panic mode, just as I had when lockdown 2.0 was announced in Slovenia. It was interesting to see this happening from my perspective, 12 weeks in to the home-school-work-family-madness routine. Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Some people have high-powered, high-salaried jobs with steep targets and tight deadlines. Other people are writers. Some people are home-makers, others have been forced out of work. We all have difficulties to face. As a writer, my difficulty is often finding 5 minutes’ peace and quiet in which to write. Another difficulty is finding balance.
Striving for balance
There’s rarely a dull moment in our lockdown household. Obviously, the poor kids are not designed to be cooped up in the house 24/7, so when the weather’s bad and we don’t make it out they start to literally climb the walls. Then we have to consider schooling, the respective jobs of the two adults of the house, and the constant flow of dirty dishes, laundry and rubbish. This really got me thinking about our carbon footprint: sometimes we just seem like weapons of massive consumption. I’m working to improve this by reusing and recycling as much as possible, and not buying any crap that I don’t need.
With all the noise and bluster, I often have to shut myself away in a room to write (as I am doing now). But when I do get an hour or two to myself, I am almost deafened by the silence. I miss the children’s laughter. Part of me was dreading their return to school, even though I know it’s best for them. Then I realise what a privilege it is to see them growing up, to share in their lives every single day. When I find myself getting frustrated, I put myself back into my childhood shoes, when everything was new and exciting, and nothing was impossible. I am so grateful to be able to share in that adventure.
I try not to place too many expectations on myself or any other member of the household. We are in an unprecedented situation and there’s no manual to tell us how to make it through. I’m happy to go with the flow, hoping we will all learn something worthwhile along the way. Perhaps we have become so obsessed with our children’s education that we fail to realise what we can also learn from them.